the artistry and psychology of gaming


Seraphic Gate (Valkyrie Profile)

Seraphic Gate (Valkyrie Profile)

Perhaps you’ve heard of the world of Midgard.  It is a world modeled after our own, and was actually believed by ancient civilizations to be our own.  The humans lived there with their opposing species – the Jotuns – living in the neighboring world of Jotunheim.  It seemed that Midgard was doomed from the start, however, because it was fated to endure a battle known as Ragnarok, which was said to destroy it and all other neighboring worlds.  Think of it as a creation myth in reverse.

I have actually seen this world, and while most of the stories are true, those weaving the myths here on Earth got a few things wrong.  Ragnarok did eventually occur, but due to an unforseen turn of events, reborn!  After Ragnarok, a dimensional rift known as the Seraphic Gate was opened.  This was the portal to another world of high technology, and likely a society that had intended for Ragnarok to destroy Midgard et al. in order to clear a path for their colonization.  I’d decided to wear a silly-looking disguise, braid my hair, and dive in to explore.

I first endered a pale, gilded corridor with quadratic etchings everywhere.  In fact, everything was quadratic in shape, almost as if designed by a machine.  Much of it seemed to be comprised of cubes with similar markings.  There were sets of two pillars – one from the ceiling and one from the floor – reaching out to each other with rays of blue energy streaming between them and a silvery-blue crystal suspended therein.  The wall had an intricate pattern – some kind of insignia – embossed onto it, but there were cracks in it, through which I could see something beyond.  Everything was black except for several bright green symbols floating through it; was I in some sort of computer program?  Passing through the bunch of crystals before me – which emitted a bright light when I neared them – I headed through the door.

I was in a corridor with the same features as the previous room, most of which were larger in here.  Once I made it through, I was in a larger chamber with floating platforms.  All around the chamber were the same suspended crystals, except that these had been bisected, inverted, and put back together, forming a sort of crude hourglass shape.  There were more cracks through which I could see the black void with what I’d assumed to be coding, and still pondered whether it was some sort of display or whether I was in a virtual world; I couldn’t quite figure it out.  After navigating a very long sequence of chambers, I reached a small room with a giant glowing blue sphere.  My curiosity got the better of me, and I approached.  When I got close enough, it emitted black rays of energy and I was pulled into its center.

Still screaming for my life – assuming I’d have had my atoms travel through it single file, broken down for nuclear fusion fodder, or that I’d meet some other horrific fate – I emerged in an area that was similar, except for its coloration.  Everything had a reddish hue to it, including the sphere behind me, which was evidently a warp point.  This purple version of the blue orb looked even more menacing than its counterpart.  After a moment, I left the room and continued onward.  I came out into an incredibly tall room with more powerful versions of the blue rays holding the crystals in midair.  A few enormous chains could be seen in the distance, as well as what appeared to be circuit boards in the other direction.  These circuit boards were what was visible through the cracks, rather than the customary void.  Much of this area’s layout was similar to that of the pale gilded area; a fact that I noticed when I entered another large chamber with floating platforms.  The void was once again visible, but now pink hourglasses emitting a very bright light hung high on the walls.  I headed back and forth through a vertical zigzag until I reached a series of platforms separated by thinner chains.  I decided to shimmy across, stopping at the various platforms along the way.  One of them was shaped like a massive jewel that had been cut for an elaborate ring.  I eventually encountered a new sight: another split pillar, but instead of blue rays and a crystal, its inside contained a black pillar with green coding running through it; perhaps they were all displays, after all.  Finally, I reached another warp point and entered it.

I arrived in a third area, this one clad in green, which was the strongest of the colors so far; it was far more than just a hue.  The sphere behind me was tinted a lovely shade of cyan by this new coloration; did the material of which this place was built have some sort of interaction with the energy?  It wasn’t long before I found a floor plate with a black and green shape emblazoned upon its center.  I pondered its nature for a moment before continuing on through the most labyrinthine area yet.  The green area was enormous and filled with warp points, which caused me to become lost and wander its chambers and corridors for hours before I had any idea of where I was going.  Sooner or later, I got my bearings and headed up a long shaft, through a large chamber, and into another warp point.

When I reached this final area, I was in awe of its stark beauty.  Everything was silvery, but darker, almost like pewter or lead.  It was like some sort of lovely monochrome wonderland, spot colored with blue.  This area also had a lot of warp points, but it was small and tightly packed, so easy it was to navigate.  In fact, I was able to get through it without the use of a single teleporter.  It may have even been smaller than the first area, allowing me to reach the deepest part in mere minutes.  It was here that I beheld quite a sight: an altar with a treasure chest surrounded by two large crystals.  I had no idea what could’ve been inside, but I was quite certain that it was something not meant for my hands, and so I turned back and headed out.

There has been a lot of talk about civilizations far more advanced than our own.  Some of them have even been theorized to exist in our own world, but in a parallel universe.  What hasn’t been discussed, however, is the tunnel – so to speak – that connects the two.  Some may suggest it to be a long, winding tube of light, and that would make sense for a natural corridor.  What if, however, the advanced civilization were to attempt to build a tunnel of their own between realities?  Barring the mechanics of it all, how would it look?  How large would it have to be?  Would creatures from both universes start appearing on different half-planes of existence within it and begin hybridizing with each other’s DNA?  It is a concept so far beyond our own understanding that even trying to use any sort of logical reasoning on such a thing would sound like nothing short of madness.

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