the artistry and psychology of gaming


World 8 (Mr. Sandman)

World 8 (Mr. Sandman)

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the sandman: a being who places sleeping sand on the eyes of the dormant.  This sand is said to cause dreams, and while I find this  story to be highly implausible for several reasons, it did cause me to have a unique experience.  As meta as this may seem, I had a dream that I was, in fact, this sandman; this bringer of dreams.  It was almost as though I was dreaming of the Mushroom Kingdom, since it had a very similar feel to it, but the landscape was completely different.  While the clouds, fortresses, pipes, and tall trees with flat tops were all similar elements, their appearance had been drastically altered.

I’ve already talked about the sullen landscape of the third region; today, I’d like to discuss the eighth and final region.  While the third region most adequately summarizes the overall experience of the dream, it is the final region that is perhaps the most memorable.  There is no one thing that I can say to sum up the experience, because each of its four sections are so wildly different from each other.  Some draw elements from other regions, whereas others are wholly unique.  This truly was the perfect ending to such a bizarre dream.

I was immediately blown away by the first section; it was unlike anything I had ever seen.  The entire rest of the dream had had skies of the darkest black, but here, everything was cast in the blue-gray haze of dawn, almost as though I were in a waking dream that was responding to the morning sun hitting the eyelids of my dormant body.  The castle behind me was checkered a dark green with a periwinkle that matched the skies, and its doorways were illuminated in cyan.  There was the outline of a fence before me, but to my surprise, the objects in this dream weren’t simply black, as I’d previously thought; they were truly invisible.  The land itself was relatively flat, but I eventually came to an open-air structure with a few of the strange tubes that had littered the landscape.  After a few more of these structures, the road dropped off into nothingness.

A number of large trees stood tall before me; they were checkered black and dark cyan with white tops.  I leapt upon them, and began running across, noting that these were quite wide.  The treetops seemed to devolve into hills as I progressed, and eventually, only the tops remained.  Small treetops floated in the sky; since they were my only means of travel, I had no choice but to hop across them.  I eventually reached a very wide tree that was not quite as tall as the others, and attached to it was a bridge.  The bridge led to makeshift stairs – much like you’d see on a ziggurat – which ended abruptly with an abyss.  I found myself hopping across pillars of blocks, landing on the occasional red-and-white checkered platform, which would sink under my weight.  A few more pillars and a few more trees, and I was on the road again.  Just a short distance further was a fortress, which served as a checkpoint to the next section.

The second section was clad in night yet again; the dawn, it seems, had perished early.  The landscape was gray and dismal, but so beautiful that it evoked a very early memory of mine.  I crossed large stretches of checkerboard brick sprawled across the sky, admiring the gray outlines of clouds as I went.  Eventually, I reached solid ground, and along the road, there were a number of innocuous-looking pillars.  The tops of these pillars, however, launched gigantic hypodermic needles that sailed through the air.  I found a safe place, and took time to admire the gray and white outlines of the bushes and mountains for a moment before pressing onward.  It wasn’t long before I reached the black-and-gray-checkered fortress, the doors and windows of which were illuminated in white.

The third section began with a green-and-black checkered fortress upon a road that was a lighter rendition of the same palette.  Before me was an endless black stretch of ocean, which is a common element in my dreams.  Visible from here was the coral of this world: pink ghosts with blue mouths twisted into horrifying expressions.  The first set of these served as supports for a green bridge with pink handrails.  I am uncertain as to why a bridge would ever exist underwater, but I could very clearly see the surface of water beneath it.  Had I reached the center of this world and was seeing out into its other side, or was this just a nonsensical occurrence?

Unable to determine the answer, I swam forth, reaching a blue and magenta tube, which was just as gorgeous as it sounds.  There was an entire labyrinth made of pink ghosts, and so I passed through, taking care to avoid the jellyfish.  After making it out, I was swimming through a long stretch of nothingness, but I could see the surface of water beneath me again.  My mind would not let me get near enough to get a good idea of what was going on, unfortunately, but eventually, I reached an outpost.  There were sullen fireballs leaping from the abyss, a tube inhabited by a strange creature, two green non-functioning cannons, and pink ghosts everywhere.  I slipped through this and another such structure, eventually leading me back to solid road and a magenta flagpole before a great castle, which I entered.

The final stretch, as usual, was inside of the massive castle.  In here, there were a great many tubes littering the gray-and-white-checkered floor.  It was very difficult to get around, since some of them were quite high, and far too smooth to climb.  I eventually traversed a platform that went out over a seemingly infinite stretch of lava and darkness.  Instead of making a leap of faith, I entered the nearby pipe, which took me to a new area.  I was now underwater, but the coloration was light, just as it was at the fated dawn.  The walls here were the same color as the road in the third section, and there were many jellyfish and bars of energy here, just as it was in my trip to the physical Mushroom Kingdom.  It wasn’t long before I made it to the drawbridge, and finished my journey.

I sometimes wonder if it is always the case that waking dreams become increasingly nonsensical.  It almost seems as if they are trying to hold the dreamer’s interest, so that they do not disappear.  Of course, the notion that dreams are sentient is utter nonsense, but it still leaves this unexplained.  When approaching one’s awakening, one’s dreams should become more mundane, realistic, and sensical, because one’s cerebral functions are returning, which means logical thought and reasoning.  There is still so much that we do not understand about dreams, but we must be careful not to make wild assumptions until we truly understand their nature.  Sometimes, it is best not to explain and analyze, but to enjoy the mystery and wonder of the unknown.  After all, it is that innocence – that ignorance to the complexities of the universe – that makes our childhoods so magical.

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