the artistry and psychology of gaming


Wind (Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors 2)

Wind (Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors 2)

I once visited the wilderness of a vast kingdom, most of the skies of which were perpetually black.  The castle itself was rather high in elevation, seemingly in the clouds, as it rested above a village on stilts.  Whether the builders of this kingdom were going for geographical satire or not, they achieved it; the nobles lived in the castle, while the working class lived in the village below, with the poor living in the caverns beneath the ground.  The wilderness, where I spent most of my time there, was actually a bit more hospitable, and in the particular area about which I’d like to speak today, there were four areas, each based upon one of the classical elements: Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth.  Amongst these was a dangerous place known as IceFire Mountain.  While each area was interesting in its own right, one stands boldly among my memories.

The Land of Wind seems unassuming enough at its lower levels.  I often used to play upon the snowy purple slopes of its mountains as a child, often wondering what it was like at the top.  My youthful mind was unable to figure out how to climb very high, often losing my footing and sliding right back down to its base.  I’d sometimes play in the caves, finding the occasional hidden alcove.  One day, when I was older, I found a golden egg, which I brought to a large bird that I’d met earlier.  Out of gratitude she carried me high above the mountain to a land above the clouds.

Up here, the skies were blue.  While I’d seen many blue skies before, this area was beautiful in that it was out of place with the rest of the kingdom.  Up here, I was able to stand upon the fluffy clouds, which were actually quite springy.  If I concentrated, I could walk flat upon them, but I spent most of the time bouncing, trying to reach new heights.  I found a larger cloud with a hidden entrance, and headed inside.  In here, it was a bit darker, and it was a nice, comfortable place to rest; a small, dark alcove, just as I like them.  Further along, I found another, larger cloud with a secret entrance, this time leading me to a larger room with strange skull and crossbones that attacked me.  Making my way to the top, I found another secret room, this one completely yellow.

Back in the main area, I headed upward, and found a very large cloud with a secret entrance.  This area, like the yellow one, was rather small, but its coloration was strange; almost a reversal of the typical shading.  It was based in periwinkle, and darker where it should’ve been light and vice versa.  I also found a secret area in the middle of nothing, which was very subtly different from the rest, with a slightly different shade of blue as its base.  I continued my ascent.

As high as I could go, I found a cloud with a visible opening.  Inside of it was a purple room with cloud pillars that were difficult to bounce over due to their odd construction.  Opposite this area was another, this one having two entrances.  The blues in here were very bold, and the clouds almost seemed to have a shine to them as though they were constructed of spandex.  It was a rather large area, and upon exiting the other side, I found yet another opening from the main area.  In here was a large being: the personification of Wind, it seemed.  As he furrowed his brow, the sky seemed to darken.  Using my wits, I managed to make it past him to an area that seemed out of place, even considering what I’d already seen here.  The clouds seemed a bit more rigid, and the base color was an orangish-pink, almost like a salmon color.  It was absolutely stunning, and I could not help but stop to admire its beauty.  Leaving the skies, I couldn’t help but wonder, as I plummeted through the black skies to the forest below, “Is that what the highest part of the skies looks like?  Did I just pass through an isolated area, composed of something that gave it its colors?  Is it a large, all-encompassing, solid object that casts its shadow over the land below?  Or was it all just a dream?”  Knowing I’d likely never know the answer, I continued my journey to the Land of Water, leaving the Land of Wind to my memory.

Part of exploring is finding out what lies beyond. usually, the answer is a disappointment in the face of your imagination, but sometimes, the truth is far beyond your wildest dreams.  Amongst the shards of shattered images, you’ll find the occasional treasure.  So, press on, without fear of broken prognostications, for they will always live on in your memory, but never should you leave yourself to wonder what could have been.

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