the artistry and psychology of gaming


Rydon’s Tower (Dragon Quest 8)

Rydon’s Tower (Dragon Quest 8)

I’ve visited a great many Iron Age worlds that look like they’ve been taken right out of a fairy tale. For some reason, worlds like these are the favorite destinations of many adventurers. One world, yet another on the long list of those whose names I do not know, had mysterious ties to a world I’d explored in my very early youth: Alefgard. It was difficult getting used to the idea that this world was so radically different from Alefgard, but while the residents acted like bizarre caricatures usually relegated to a children’s cartoon, the world itself was far more beautiful.

On a northwestern landmass was a town called Arcadia, which is the home of Dominico’s Mansion. It is an interesting town in that it increases in elevation as you head deeper into it, but is otherwise unremarkable. The true interest lies to the east; nestled within the mountain range is a place known as Rydon’s Tower. Rydon’s Tower is a mysterious edifice constructed by and named after Rydon, himself. Rydon is known to be rather eccentric; he even went so far as to put up a sign in front of the tower stating that he was away, and that no one was allowed to enter in his absence, except for the insatiably curious. As an adventurer, there was no way that I could resist such a thing, and so I decided to climb this tower.

I arrived late in the day, as the sun was painting a golden sky on this Autumn day. The trees were beginning to shed their leaves as I stood before the gatehouse in front of the tower. I took some time to wander around the perimeter, admiring the foliage. The doors to the gatehouse were already open, and so I headed inside. It seemed as though I were in a cage with a beige floor. The door that led to the actual tower was unlocked, so I headed through, bringing me to a long staircase. I headed up the stairs and entered the tower.

The tower had pillars holding up its many floors, but no actual walls that rose much higher than my head. Along these short walls were insignias that resembled brown circles with yellow bows and arrows within them. It created a lovely view of the mountains, the trees, and the late afternoon sky. The floors were made of a dark green brick, in a zigzag pattern, and there were several intricate iron fences of a different dark green, resembling vines. The floors were little more than paths; the center was open, and so I’d decided to step upon the bridge in the center to reach the other side.

I let out a surprised gasp as I plummeted toward the floor; the bridge was tipping! I hit the ground with a loud thud, and soon realized that this bridge was little more than a seesaw. There was a small stone square attached to the side of it, which is how I got my idea. Heading around to the other side from down here, and ascending a curved staircase, I saw a statue that looked to be about my size. I grabbed the base and dragged it onto the stone square, causing the bridge to tilt again. This time, I got to the bottom, and walked up to the top, the statue keeping it as it was, and so, I reached the next floor.

This manner of puzzle solving continued as I ascended further and further, wondering just how many floors this tower had, and what sort of other strange mechanics this Rydon would put me through in order to reach the top. I came to a staircase that was unusually elegant; though it was no different in function, it had a red carpet with gold trim draped over its stairs. A little higher, I also encountered tilting bridges with this same carpet, though, again, their function was no different. From here, I could see a hanging carpet flapping in the air, on top of which was a golden ladder. I carefully made my way to the ladder, and climbed up through the small, square hole in an otherwise solid floor.

This section of tower was more of the same, but the layout seemed more elaborate. Up here, I took some time to peer over the walls and look down at the simmering landscape below. As I neared the top, the backdrop created the perfect ending to a beautiful day; a memory that I would have forever. When I reached the top, it wasn’t really the top; there were large stones and construction materials scattered all about. Despite the very intricate mural before me, and all of the hype, it was clear that this “legendary” tower had not yet been finished. By now, the sun had set, and so I climbed a ladder and looked out into the night sky, as the moon rose between two pillars.

Man-made structures are a curious thing; they are a world all of their own. The world outside has its own look, and from the outside, these edifices do, as well. However, there is absolutely no way to know what lies inside from the exterior; no guarantee that it is stylistically similar. Inside, it is possible to shut out the world beyond the walls, creating a sort of microcosm. I often wonder if this is how indoor pets view the universe, since the indoor environment is their whole world. That is, aside from being stuffed into a box and carried to the veterinarian; I am certain that the sense of disorientation from this is part of their tension in such places. In any case, it certainly gives one cause to wonder what lies outside of the boundaries of our world.

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