the artistry and psychology of gaming


Swinging Ropes (Ganbare Goemon: Kirakira Douchuu)

Swinging Ropes (Ganbare Goemon: Kirakira Douchuu)

I once encountered a very unusual world that was quite like Ancient Japan.  That’s strange enough on its own, but in addition to that, there was something that was just… off about it.  For example, I do not recall the Ancient Japanese having the technology to build a giant robot with an afro, a pipe used for smoking what is anyone’s guess, and a pig-like nose that can fire coins as laser blasts.  Though I am not completely familiar with their mythology, I also do not recall any stories about anyone smashing a mirror in a church, only to find a hula-hooping devil wearing nothing but his underpants behind it.  Despite, or possibly because of, this world’s flat-out lunacy, I found it to be a very enchanting place.  The scenery is quite breathtaking at every turn, and although I was unable to appreciate it upon the first trip during my youth, my later return to it was made all the more special by an appreciation of Japan’s culture.

One particular trip to this world had me spend absolutely no time upon it, but rather five of its moons.  These moons, while small, were diverse, considering that each was largely relegated to a single biome.  Each one was a fantastic adventure of its own, and there was much to explore and discover.  There was a stunning desert moon, which was a magnificent place for sunsets in colors like maroon and deep purple; an ice moon, which also had some stunning sunsets that rendered the sky a bright rainbow; a forest moon, which had a very picturesque village; a strange and vaguely horrifying moon with very bizarre-looking inhabitants; and an aquatic moon, which is the topic of today’s discussion.

Though this moon was covered in endless water, there were bits of land to be found here and there, and among them, a very scenic forest.  The ground had a neat cross-hatched pattern, much like it was covered in fallen straw.  Some of the trees were sawed off, leaving naught but tall stumps behind, but the rest towered majestically over the land.  There was a fairly high shrub cover off the beaten path, which was easily as tall as I, and had some pleasant-looking red berries.  Standing up from this shrubbery were two kinds of plants: an indescribable botanical anomaly that resembled reddish-brown asparagus with something yellow and fluffy climbing its stalk, and a springy, red, vine-like plant that grew without anything to which to cling, which spiraled down upon itself.  The vast, blue ocean playfully lapped at the many boats sailing its waters, and a few oddly-shaped islands emerged from its surface.  There was also an island floating in the sky that containing a town.  The sky itself had a full rainbow gradient, starting with green at its highest point, and terminating in yellow at the horizon; I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Taking care not to plunge into the abyss below, I made my way through the forest.  I had to climb higher into the trees, where there were many platforms built of logs, resembling rafts in the sky.  Some were on lines, and moved back and forth, as though they were some rudimentary form of transport.  Others still were on circular vines, and moved around rapidly and constantly.  There were also quite a few round discs that looked like they belonged in a circus; attached to them were vines that swung back and forth, and were also used to move from area to area.  It made me wonder if those who built the platforms ran out of tools with which to build more rafts.  In addition to the abyss, there was another danger below: some of the ground was covered in thick vines, which were covered in sharp thorns.  Though it was a dangerous trip, it was no less wonderful.

Forests can pop up in some of the most unexpected places.  While they are typically thought of as existing at the edge of plains, I’ve seen them adjacent to beaches, upon islands in the sky, and even at the bottom of the sea.  This particular forest was perhaps symbolic; a sea of trees on a moon of oceans.  This may even be why the term, forest, is used metaphorically.  Whatever the reason, despite their reputation sometimes being that of terrifying mystery, I find the omnipresence of this biome most welcome.  It is almost as though each forest is a shelter; the canopy of leaves above, acts as the ceiling, and the trunks of the trees themselves, columns to support the mighty natural Parthenon.  To me, their dark, secluded nature is synonymous to a warm-armed embrace.


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