the artistry and psychology of gaming


Underworld (Totally Rad)

Underworld (Totally Rad)

In a world much like our own, there exists a subterranean humanoid species completely unknown to the surface dwellers.  Their society is quite advanced, utilizing high technology as well as a force that they call magic.  Even after all of my travels, I still deny the existence of magic; psionics can be used to manipulate molecules, whether it be used speed them up to make fire, slow them down to make water or ice, or even pull the electrons off to create what seems to be lightning.  I’ve seen this form of “magic”, and while much of it did not impress me as mysterious, I saw it used on a human to transform him into a number of anthropomorphic beasts; something that I cannot explain, given the power level of the user.

Regardless of this mystery, I have visited their civilization and was quite impressed.  What I’ll never forget, though, is the road to their city.  The underworld of this planet is beautiful and mysterious.  While structurally, it looks fairly similar to a deep cave in our own world, with its stalactites, stalagmites, crystals, and occasional rivers, the colors of the rock are so bright and vibrant that I was rendered breathless.  I walked through the demonic looking entrance to the cavern, wondering what awaited me in the depths of the planet.

I entered a large, open chamber; one could see for quite a distance.  The stalactites and stalagmites were of a strange color that looked to be of a red, orange, and pink, but the further into the darkness they plunged, the more they reflected a purple color.  Even further back, one could see the rocks in a deep blue just before they faded into blackness.  There was a light in the distance that glowed teal with a hint of green, which I did not identify.  It may have been an artificial sky, the light source from machinery, or any number of things.  I headed forth, walking over flat rock that burned a bright red-orange beneath me, passing a cascade of purple water, foaming the same teal-green color present in the distance.

The cavern zigzagged down, deeper and deeper, the cascades present until I reached the very bottom and even further.  Up ahead were crystals large and sharp enough to easily impale the reckless.  They pulsated a great many colors, including teal-green, bright blue, blue-purple, green, yellow-orange, orange, purple, black, and white.  These formations were remarkable not only in the number of colors with which they glowed, but also in the way these colors combined with and played upon each other to craft objects of great beauty.  Nearby, as well as throughout the cavern, were detached stalactites of a fiery color, which levitated up and down; I used one to reach a shaking rope bridge.  The journey was long and arduous, but I eventually reached a new area.

This other area was blue and crystalline, though the walls were of a purple rock.  Embedded within this purple rock were what looked like control panels or giant circuits, which were deep pink with lime green lighting up the little canals running through them.  All along the area ran dark green pipes with monitors hooked up to them.  In here was a clear liquid river that reflected the light from the crystalline floors and ceilings.  This river’s bed was lined with shiny red-purple turbines that spun violently, but without disrupting the placid body.  This was a long corridor leading to the underworld’s civilization, but had no real distinguishing features, aside from its aesthetic, which remained the same throughout.

Perhaps you’ve heard the old maxim, “It’s not about the destination, but the journey.”  My journey here could be considered a very literal interpretation of that.  The area leading up to my destination was so incredibly beautiful that the underground city couldn’t help but be staggeringly underwhelming.  That’s not to say that it wasn’t pretty in its own right, but it seemed like quite a step down from where I had just been.  Many of these old adages have a deeper purpose than just sounding clever or wise.  While there are a great number, generally the ones that refer to luck, that were crafted to stifle complaints, some are little lessons by which to live.  This one, for instance, is a suggestion to enjoy where you’re at and to take it in, for you never know what it might mean to you later in life.  I’ve had many miserable times in my life that I later looked back upon rather fondly.  I suppose the message is one even more trite than the saying itself, “Don’t let life pass you by; seize the day!”

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