the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Stage 2 (Enduro Racer)

Stage 2 (Enduro Racer)

Today, we’re going to explore some ruins in a desert.  This is part of another racing circuit.  Unlike the other, though, it’s not a racetrack that continuously loops, thus there are no laps.  It’s just a straight run to the finish, but that makes it no less challenging.  You’re on a motorcycle, which has only 2 wheels, so it’s far more dangerous.  There are many things that can damage your bike or outright throw you off and render it a fiery wreck.  On this circuit, you’ll race down dirt roads, though deserts, through swamps, and over mountains, encountering many hazards along the way.

This desert is the second race in the circuit, and a much more difficult one, since the track itself is ill defined.  It is rather difficult to tell where the ground is solid enough to ride at full speed.  Certainly, racing on two wheels is a precarious venture in a place with such loose ground as the desert.  The ruins and other racers don’t help much, either.  However, like most beautiful worlds, it doesn’t care much for your safety, so admiration is for the advanced.  In a case such as this in which the greatest dangers are due to high velocities, my suggestion would be to travel on foot and bring lots of water.

A giant arch made of gray stone marks the beginning of the race.  It has the word “Start” painted upon it in black, signifying this fact.  The desert rolls out in front of you with its sands of pale yellow.  Along the vast majority of the path, you’ll find stone humps of the same light gray and dark yellow rocks strewn about alongside of the path.  Perhaps the most beautiful feature of this area is the low-lying scrub, which is a rigid green shrub with roots that turn the soil around it so dark a red that it appears brown.  You’ll also see larger palm trees that seem to have the same effect on the ground around them.  It is strange to see something as tall as a tree growing in an area with no water, but that’s part of what aesthetically driven adventurers look for: beauty in the unusual.

Along the way, you’ll come across ruined corridors.  While there is no sign of a floor, ceiling, or wall, there stand a great many columns crafted of the same stone material.  They have a simple Doric design, and those in better condition are connected to another pillar nearby by a long stone slab across the top.  Perhaps they were some sort of archway.  Some still have slabs reaching out, despite not having a partner column to which to attach, and perhaps even more miraculously, they do not fall over.  Strewn about on the ground in these areas are strange stone shapes, all able to be broken down into simpler rectangular shapes.  There are several corridors like this and it is strange to think that they’ve all fallen into similar shapes.  Perhaps they were part of a greater design that we do not comprehend.  They might even have been for astronomical purposes, like Stonehenge.

The end of the race is marked by another stone arch with sharp corners, much like the one marking its beginning.  It may be the case that these arches were the entrances to this area.  Nature has so thoroughly reclaimed this area from its former inhabitants that it is impossible to tell what it used to look like, much less its purpose.  Nature is a powerful, albeit gradual, force.  Remember that the next time you consider the impact humanity has on the planet.  Once mankind has been wiped from its surface, the healing will begin.  Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not about to suggest that anyone trigger some sort of Armageddon as the ultimate act of eco-terrorism.  All I’m saying is that Mother Nature is a survivor; one far greater than you and I.

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