the artistry and psychology of gaming


World 3 (Excite Mario Bros.)

World 3 (Excite Mario Bros.)

I believe that the number of dreams I’ve had of the Mushroom Kingdom is second only to the number of dreams that I’ve had of the futuristic world of robots. It is hard to say which I like better, but the dreams of the Mushroom Kingdom are usually far more surreal. I suppose that might be because the Mushroom Kingdom is such a bizarre realm, but it is certainly not for me to attempt to understand dreams, especially mine. This particular dream was a bit different from many of the others, however. While most dreams use the source of their inspiration as a mere shell to provide a new experience, this one seemed almost as familiar as the memory itself.

There is a dream that I have had fairly recently that I will account to you in full. Though the dream was rather short, each of its three segments was such a wonderful world of its own. It was a bit of a patchwork of many of my early adventures; even my adversaries were familiar motorcyclists, interstellar bounty hunters, electric mice, and residents of Dream Land. Despite this, the coloration and configuration worked together to create a very unique experience that I hope to be able to experience again some day. I’ve already spoken of the first two regions, and today, I bring to you the conclusion of my tale.

I barely remember the area immediately outside of the second castle – was it a golden afternoon? – but right before me was a pipe leading upward. Entering it, I came out either in a night sky or in outer space; I’d assume the former, because I was standing upon clouds. Though few stars were visible, they were quite breathtaking, indeed! It wasn’t long before I found myself underground. This cavern was filled with dark blue and a great deal of wild water. I crossed a bridge with magenta supports to a black pipe with a blue shine, assumedly from the blue color of everything down here. After coming up, I traveled through the skies for a while, eventually coming to a fortress sitting upon the clouds.

The next section was a bright, sunny day, or so it began. There were lovely green hills in the distance, reminiscent of the red and orange ones in the first region. The journey seemed fairly unremarkable at first, though I did cross a chasm without water, which was just before a green pipe with a black shine. Down the pipe, I was underwater again, but this was no review of the second region; there was no pink rock to be seen. No, this environment was artificial, being crafted of light blue blocks with geometric designs upon them. The waters were calmer, too – more akin to those in the physical Mushroom Kingdom. Perhaps most remarkable was the vegetation growing from these blocks: there were pale blue sprouts and blue-trunked trees with pink palms. I swam through a tight obstacle course for quite some time before coming to some pale pink pipes that shone maroon. Taking note of the stars in the water – much like those in Dream Land – I entered the pipe leading up to the surface.

I traveled until I found a red beanstalk, which I climbed into the sky. By this time, it was late afternoon, and the sky was golden. Trees grew once again from the clouds, and giant fortified walls sat upon them, as well. There were many long leaps in this journey, many of which required great precision, but I performed admirably in this dream. Stepping down from the top of a cannon, I set foot upon a bridge, following it to a pipe of red-orange with a brown shine to it, which may well have been a result of the setting sun. I descended into a similar area, though these bridges were above wild waters, giving me cause to wonder why those in which I’d swum earlier were so calm; they were the only ones in the entire dream. I entered the pipe at the end, ascending to another set of sky bridges and fortress walls, leaping along until I came to the final castle.

The castle began as any other: a dark chamber filled with raging lava and low ceilings. I entered a white pipe, shining gray, and came out through an orange pipe, shining black. There were familiar blue blocks, and the patterns on the wall were blue, as well; I was underwater. Tall, beautiful columns held up the ceiling, and near their zenith, there were windows, though which an ominous red light shone. The scene was so simultaneously calming and horrifying that I knew not what to feel. I swam on, regardless, through some very tight corridors that seemed as though they would suck me down to oblivion at any moment. At the end of this dangerous stretch, I entered another pipe.

I came out in a dry area, with patterns still visible upon the walls, though the windows now shone a pale blue. There were a great many pipes from which to choose, but fortunately, I chose correctly, leading me outside of the castle. I emerged through a green pipe, its black shine reflecting the night sky. I stepped down, coming to realize that I was standing upon the red-and-yellow brick walls of this nigh-impenetrable edifice. Walking along these thick fortifications, I soon came to some very tall columns holding up a ceiling, but this structure was completely open, like a piece of Ancient Greek Architecture. I leapt across a few chasms, often having to land upon the tops of cannons, and entered a pipe sticking out from a much taller wall than the one beneath my feet. I do not remember what happened after I entered the pipe; either I was awoken or the shock of it repressed my memory, but there is no doubt that the dream is one of the most visually memorable that I have ever experienced.

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