the artistry and psychology of gaming


Ripple Field 6 (Kirby’s Dream Land 3)

Ripple Field 6 (Kirby’s Dream Land 3)

There was once a group known as the Star Warriors, many of whom came from Popstar, an appropriately yellow and star-shaped planet.  How a planet can come to exist permanently in such a shape is still a mystery, but it remains a beautiful planet with a wide variety of biomes.  This wide variety provided more than competent training grounds for these mysterious beings.  What happened to them remains a mystery, but it is rumored that some may still exist, somewhere in the universe.  The most well known area of Popstar is Dream Land, which, despite its name, is a tangible place.  Like the rest of Popstar, its geography is very diverse.  I am unsure as to exactly how large Dream Land is, relative to the size of the planet, but from what I’ve seen, I’d estimate roughly half of its surface area.

Ripple Field is an aquatic area of Dream Land that has many interesting features, both above and under the water.  There are many islands, beaches, and even a few icebergs.  You can even find submerged ruins, if you know where to look, suggesting a fallen society of ages past.  Could this have been a training hall of the forgotten Star Warriors?

My favorite area of Ripple Field was on a small island, near the dwelling of the area’s guardian, Acro, an Orca-like creature.  This island has many tide pools that sparkle in the sunlight.  Climbing upon the shore, you will find a large sand dune, as well as a tunnel within an alcove on the other side of it.  This brings you to an area with more solid terrain, but with strange markings.  From this terrain, many palm trees have grown, as well as some tall grass.  There are also a few white fences strewn about the area, though both their origin and purpose are unknown.  Around here, many landforms stand proudly above the large tide pools, even growing vegetation upon them.  Some even have bridges to close the gap between them.  At the end of this area is another alcove, this time bearing protection for a mysterious cavern.

Within the cavern, the walls are green with strange geometric shapes of red, yellow, and blue embedded within them.  These shapes seem to be natural, despite being perfectly formed.  Some parts of the rock wall have eroded and the sky can be seen through the gaps.  The cavern itself is partially flooded, and the path dips deeper into the water as it goes on, eventually coming back out at the end.  Hidden in an underwater alcove at the nadir of this dip is a series of caves, which feature tall coral, sparkling luminescent organisms floating through the water, and gorgeous rock pillars far in the distance.  A strange, geometric creature lives in one of these caverns, as well.

Outside, you’ll find a number of tall landforms, much like on the other side of the cavern, but these reach much higher into the sky.  If you can manage the incredible climb, you’ll find another grassy stretch of palm trees with a cave at its very end.  The inside of this cave is much like the other, with its green interior, strange shapes, and eroded walls.  This particular cave, however, also features some strange shrubs.  These shrubs come in either pink or green and have a shaggy feel to them, almost as if they’re growing hair instead of leaves.

Island hopping is really a marvelous experience.  Despite being very close together, a group of islands can be extremely diverse, both geographically and biologically.  I find it fascinating to consider how, though the course of several centuries, one small difference can change so much between two small pieces of land that otherwise have everything in common.  Call it a cliché, but it’s like each tiny evolution causes a small ripple in the fabric of nature, eventually becoming a large wave, plowing through the ecological systems in place.  Whatever it means, there is certainly a great deal more to an environment than its climate.  Once you learn that, you’ll stop making assumptions about what lies ahead and be able to experience each new world with the same sense of child-like wonder that makes adventuring so special.  The greatest treasures in life truly are intangible.

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