the artistry and psychology of gaming


Winter Wafers 5 (Kirby’s Return to Dream Land)

Winter Wafers 5 (Kirby’s Return to Dream Land)

Popstar is such a glorious place; the more I visit, the more it seems to develop.  Of course, this is true of many worlds, but most of them lose their visual splendor over time.  Popstar, on the other hand, has a charm that evolves over time, but remains just as special.  If there’s one place that can wash away the cynicism that grows in an adventurer’s heart over time, it’s Dream Land, of which Popstar is a part.  Today, I’d like to talk about the chilly Winter Wafers, a new snowfield in Popstar.

Winter Wafers is an interesting place; it’s a snowfield, but nothing like the barren wastelands of white to which most adventurers are accustomed.  The purple skies overhead paint the snow below ever so slightly, giving it a pale blue appearance.  In the distance, colorful bramble bushes resembling ice cream cones are seen, as are structures that are either volcanoes erupting frozen gas or tall hills with trees made entirely of ice.  The landscape has many features, but is never too busy.  The ice on the ground also forms in the shape of elongated hexagonal crystals in something of a honeycomb formation.  Despite all of this, I found the manmade structures to be even more beautiful.

At dusk, I entered a castle made of ice, and the first thing I noticed was a very colorful and unnatural aurora behind me; its colors were many, but they were very mechanical.  The sky was a deep purple dotted with stars, and the turquoise snow and ice in the distance seemed almost like an ocean – violent with waves – that had frozen completely solid.  The icy wall upon which I stood was comprised of bricks, some of which were of colors atypical of ice.  From it sprouted flowers with jewels of ice as their blossoms; they bloomed into pink, hexagonal flowers as I touched them.  Climbing down a ladder of ice, I left the castle wall and headed inside.

In here, the halls were a blue with an indescribable purple pattern all over them. Archways and doorways were everywhere, and multicolored ice spires – far more opaque than one might expect – erupted from the ground. The triple-headed lights in the distance must not have been very strong, because the ice closer to me was much lighter in color. I had a bit of a non-choice as to which of the two hallways before me to explore first; I had to go down one hallway to get the key to explore the other, which led further into the castle itself. It seemed that most of the castle doorways led to areas that were not completely inside; large openings allowed me to see the snowfields far away.

In the next area, I rode giant blocks of ice, which shifted back and forth, crashing into each other.  The patterns of pale blue, lavender, and white, upon them were wild, yet repeating, and oddly beautiful, if a bit chaotic.  When I reached the first gap in the wall, only the purple sky was visible above, but I could see what looked like a city of adobes made entirely of ice.  Their shapes were anything but perfect, and yet, I longed to explore them.  I rode these blocks, hopping to the next when they touched, for quite some time.  Eventually, I found a doorway hidden between two of them.  Against my better judgment, I jumped down, risking certain death, and headed inside.

In here was an area with only two walls, making the the adobe city in the distance clearly visible.  Breaking through some very solid metallic blocks above me, I found a great vantage point.  It was then that I noticed the giant yellow lanterns hanging from the frozen curls.  I also saw some triple-headed lamps giving off a faint red glow on some of the plateaus heading up a nearby mountain.  Just to think that people live in this paradise every day was something to ponder, unless, perhaps, this was a ruin of an abandoned civilization.

Once past the area with the sliding glaciers, I was in an elegant, semi-outside area that gracefully swept upward.  This night skyscape was not to continue, however, as the next door I entered took me to a very dark room.  There were very few lights, and they were rather dim, so I spent most of this part of the journey wandering in almost complete darkness.  I had a candle to guide me, but it also wasn’t bright enough to give me much of a view.  Carrying this old-fashioned candle, I almost felt as though I should’ve been in a nightgown, wearing a long cap, as I headed through these shadowy halls, though it would’ve been a bit cold for that.  There were also deep abysses that I really wanted to avoid, and luckily, there were a few glowing stars sitting on solid ground to help to guide me safely through it.

Finally emerging from almost total darkness, I was in a small labyrinth of keys and gates.  As I made my way through, I couldn’t help but feel like there were eyes on me.  My tension grew every time I grabbed a key, but I managed to get through without incident.  I exhaled a sigh of relief, not really understanding why, as I passed through the exit.  I fell into a giant slingshot, which launched me into the clouds, allowing me to look out into the universe; the perfect ending to a beautiful night.  I decided to lie down right there and sleep until morning.

I have vague memories from my childhood of a Winter’s night spent away from home.  I am uncertain as to when it happened, but I vividly remember how special it was.  The lights around the house where I was staying were fluorescent white, which gave the snow a special shine, especially in conjunction with the deep green patches of grass visible here and there.  The night sky was the darkest black, but somehow, it looked different through it all.  For such a distant, shattered memory to be so clear speaks to a Winter night’s wondrous nature.

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