the artistry and psychology of gaming


World 6-3 (Super Mario Bros.)

World 6-3 (Super Mario Bros.)

Today, I’d like to tell you of an area within a world with which I’m certain you’re familiar.  You may likely have even been there yourself.  The Mushroom Kingdom is a wondrous place where many explorers have gone, and many stories of glorious victory over ruthless adversity have come from it.  It is a classic realm where many adventurers, particularly those of my age, have gotten their start, and nostalgia is more than enough to send them crawling back.  So many know it so well, and yet there is a small, bizarre area that is rarely brought up in conversation. It is a sector known as World 6-3.

Of all the areas, World 1 seems to be the most famous, followed closely by World 2.  Geographically, many areas are quite similar within this part of The Mushroom Kingdom.  I explored them often as a child, but one night I reached an area that was truly different.  Here, the usual reddish brown brick that is so common throughout the rest of this part of the Mushroom Kingdom is completely absent, and instead the structures and road are crafted of a strange, light gray material, also capable of being made into brick.  Upon stepping out of the small fortress at the beginning into the night sky, you already know that you’re somewhere special.  Despite the darkness, the clouds are readily visible, with red highlights that you do not see anywhere else in the Mushroom Kingdom, suggesting a strange atmosphere and high albedo.  From there, things only become more unique.

The strange, tree-like pillars present within other parts of the Mushroom Kingdom are here, as well, but in the thematic light gray that the area is known for.  Their beauty is difficult to describe, but their formations make for some unusual scenes that come together in a spectacular way.  Most of the time, you’re so high up that you can’t even see the ground below you.  Though what was to be found below had always intrigued me, leaping down would surely prove fatal.  Occasionally, there were bright orange girders that served as floating bridges of sorts, but any weight upon them would cause them to drop, so crossing them had to be done quickly.  At the end was the most glorious sight of the area: a large castle crafted of the iconic gray brick.

The landscape may likely be passed by the minds of some because of its relative lack of color, but I’ve always found 6-3 to possess a stark beauty matched by few.  Perhaps the danger added to this beauty, making an unforgiving landscape that commands respect.  Whatever the reason, it reinforces what I always say: “Sometimes the greatest of beauty hides within our memories, just out of reach.”  It rings true more often than you might think.  Perhaps we just rushed through it the first time, failing to stop and take notice, or maybe it was something we couldn’t understand or appreciate at the time because we were younger and less experienced.  Whatever the reason, don’t neglect your memory; you’ll thank me for it later.

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