the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Ripple Star 1 (Kirby 64)

Ripple Star 1 (Kirby 64)

The world of Popstar, as I’ve mentioned before, seems to float through the universe; it is a transient celestial body, much like a comet. This can make it both a blessing and a curse for adventurers born there. On one hand, the very planet upon which you live travels the universe, giving you access to many other planets with the greatest of ease. However, it also can make one a bit lazy, stripping him or her of that desire to go deep into space, because he or she has never had to. Sometimes, the residents of other worlds will even visit Popstar as it passes, making the process easier still. One such planet brought Popstar a visitor, pleading for help: Ripple Star.

Unlike those of Rock Star and Aqua Star, Ripple Star’s environment is very difficult to describe in a single word or phrase. Its residents appear to be fairies close to human size, at least most of whom have a feminine appearance. In fact, Ripple Star is ruled in at least one of its kingdoms by a matriarch. Most of what I visited while I was there was her castle and the surrounding area, so I know relatively little about its environments on a global scale. What little I did see, however, was something both very strange and beautiful.

From outer space, Ripple Star looks like a gigantic beating heart with a smiling face upon it and cute little shapes stuck in its orbit. When I landed, I was treated to a pink and yellow-orange terrain, a color combination that looks much better than it sounds. In the distance, there seemed to be nigh endless greenery, and the sky was the same yellow-orange as the ground, and was punctuated with shapes that may have been clouds, yellow and blue rings and red hearts among them. Closer to me was a plant that appeared to be a conical tree with sections completely removed, and yet, it stayed there with an utter disregard for the law of gravity. Closer still was something that I can only describe as bits of floating color, with bold yellow, blue, and green on the ground, and pale pink and orange floating above them.

I stood, admiring the scenery for a bit, when a large rainbow came down and ended right behind me. Looking back, I’d realized that I was at the end of a pale blue, yellow, and pink outlined cobblestone path; it almost appeared as though I was walking upon large pieces of candy. As I began to move forward, I saw a very complex spinning flower with several layers, the innermost two being white, heart-shaped petals outlined in pink, and a deep purple bulb in the middle, which showered me with prismatic bubbles that played music notes when they popped. It all sat atop a small plateau that almost looked like some sort of fancy cake. I would see many more of these flowers on my journey through Ripple Star’s wilderness, creating a sort of magical sound shower.

Not too far along my journey, I found a platform that appeared not to be a natural formation. It looked like a cake, but the “icing” was far more solid and consistent, giving it a more synthetic appearance. Just behind it was a ring-shaped shrub with star-shaped leaves, and a pink ring floating above it and a white ring above that. Far into the distance, I could see pink and orange pyramid shapes. A little further were floating platforms that appeared to be just the “icing”, even going so far as to hang over their phantom cakes. It was near there that I saw a double version of the ring-shaped shrub, causing me to realize that this was the gravity-defying plant that I’d seen upon my entry.

I came to a glassy stream of light blue, with a yellow bridge with purple guard rails over it. On either side of the stream were white cork-shaped objects with a pink design at the top, almost as though someone had cored a cake. Between these two was a sharply-colored zigzag rainbow. I crossed this and another stream, completely overwhelmed by the glorious sights and sounds of this candy-colored wonderland. Eventually, I came to a white dome with what appeared to be red flower petals surrounding the bottom. There was a nearby tree with ring-shaped bunches of leaves that had many unusual shapes floating around it. Upon this dome was a yellow ring, inside of which was a white circle with an orange heart in the middle; water was running over it. When a rainbow came out of the sky and landed upon it, I realized this to be the building’s entrance, and so I headed inside.

Inside, there were two large yellow pipes, one of which I had entered, the other of which I was about to exit. The room was mostly blue, but the walls were a pale orange near the top, making a very strange gradient. There were yellow stars and green and red cubes decorating this room, as well as a few other strange objects. Perhaps the most unusual feature was the pink-bladed fan directly above my head, and how it seemed to float in nothingness. The carpet was pink and purple, and had an orange sun in the very center, creating a pattern of radial symmetry. After a while, I slipped through the other pipe, leading me to the other side of the dome.

Out here, the path began mostly the same as it had on the other side of the building. However, I soon came to a new feature: an arch made of the plants with star-shaped leaves. Though they did not seem to mark the entrance to anything at all, they were still quite a lovely feature. I also came to pink patterned tiles that surrounded a bed of purple, blue, orange, and yellow flowers that resembled translucent lollipops; a few red ones could also be seen in the distance. The area around here had a lot of yellow-patterned plateaus with wavy patterns on their sides; one of them was shaped like a ramp, making it look like a large piece of cake. After I’d crossed the garden, I came to a much wider stream than those I’d encountered before. Its beauty was marred only by a black and orange object that sat in the middle, almost like a drain plug of sorts. Not long after that, I’d made my way to the next stretch of my journey, and I had to bid farewell to this lovely place, whatever it was.

When we are children, many of us imagine a paradise filled with pastel colors, rainbows, and sweets. It is a silly thing, of course, and merely a product of our strongest desires, but it is no less a cause for wonder. I wonder not whether it has any deeper significance, but what the children living in a world that has the appearance of our childhood fantasies might dream about. To say that they would dream of a world resembling our own is far too dualistic and convenient to be likely, so what would it be? Is it even something that you or I could conceive? This is yet another mystery of our universe that few have the interest to solve.

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