Listening to: “Return to Jedda” – Aphrodite
Most of my day yesterday was taken up by snakes.
When I was a kid, one of my first RPGs was Illusion of Gaia. It might be why I’m so fed up with titles lacking innovative stories and characters. IoG is one of those unsung classics, with a darker storyline and real moral questions that are not necessarily answered. One of the places you travel to is a beautiful, rich city where flower petals literally fill the air. But when you get into the back alleys, you find that part of the city’s economical backbone is slavery.
Famine and sickness are present in this world, just as much as corruption and the supernatural. Another city, comprised of rafts and huts built atop them, eventually has you playing Russian Glass, a deadly game that is basically Russian Roulette with poison instead of a bullet.
The hero and his friends all start out as kids, but they grow up as the story progresses–not in obvious, constantly stated ways, but subtly. The first two places you see them are at school, and then in a secret hideout. You lose each of them to death, personal weakness, responsibilty, and love. You spend a good deal of time alone.
Before you even save the world, you find out that it will result in the death of everything you know, even the colours. But you continue until you reach the last desperate battle–and the promised outcome, a rescued world without colour, familiarity, or even knowledge of your victory, is exactly what you get.
With one hope-filled bright spot, on which the game ends.
There are so many powerful moments in this game’s story that it’s not hard to see why my standards are so high. One of those moments that is probably peculiar to me, among anyone else who played IoG, was when the hero and the princess are lost at sea. On a first playthrough, and for me, all of them, it was difficult, even humbling to be so helpless. The days pass, each physically similar, but the characters’ psychological states change.
You see fish leaping in the water, but don’t attack and eat them until starvation is imminent. Then another day, a bunch of sharks comes up to the raft. Menacing music plays, but you can’t fight them. You can only watch and wait for them to make their move.
But then they just swim away. And the princess remembers something she had heard about animals. That only humans eat when they aren’t hungry.
It’s a really strange feeling to watch this in reality. I can only imagine what that exact situation would be like, but yesterday, I got to see a decent facsimile.
I went to feed the snakes, and neither was hungry. I’m pretty familiar with snakes and frozen mice, but I’ve not had much experience with feeder mice. It was bizarrely cool to watch this snake lying at perfect rest while inside his feeding terrarium with a nervous mouse sniffing occasionally at its face.
They were in there for at least twenty minutes. I actually got frustrated, because I had no idea what to do with the mouse. If the store hadn’t taken it back, I would have had to get mouse living accoutrements. We would have had a pet with PTSD.
It’s almost a shame. But, my sister hates rodents, so she would have never visited me again, haha. I like my sister better than mice. Even though I do quite like them. They’re cute.