Tourney at the Hanging Gardens (finale)

Practice

The palm reader couldn’t find his friends. He knew he was their friend because he had read that information right off his own third hand, of the four that he had. How he got four was a mystery. One day the second pair was just there, one scratching his back while the rest stretched into the air with a morning yawn.

There was no one to mentor him in the skill of palm reading; it was just something he learned by immersion, like someone dumped into a foreign land adjusting to the language. Almost everyone had palms, so it seemed strange nobody else responded to that pressure the way he naturally did, by struggling to understand them. Continue reading

Tourney at the Hanging Gardens (part two)

Respawn Chat Log

There was a place inside the hanging gardens of Babylon where ghosts gathered. It was sealed off from its endless colorful sky, lit only by the pale white energy of a crystal formation at its center, standing more than fifty feet tall. It had tree-like branches, more than thick enough to support the weight of living creatures, but only the ethereal dead were present.

The ghost of Flippers sat on one such branch, kicking his feet, just waiting. Nothing in the game stayed dead forever. The crystal tomb was much more like a waiting room or a penalty box. Really it was an admirable extra step from the game’s developers. A lot of other multiplayer games just cut to another active player’s camera when the countdown to respawn started. Continue reading

Tourney at the Hanging Gardens (part one)

Atlantis wasn’t the only advanced civilization to suffer a sudden and precipitous fall; there was also Ys, Norumbega, Arcadia, and others… at least according to the lore of the hit video game Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Jenny Handerly (who goes by Handzy online) is also seeking her own path to paradise, through the game.  If her ragtag team of friends can win the next Hanging Gardens tournament she’ll be set toward the future of her dreams, but there are plenty of obstacles in the way, in the gardens and well beyond them in the ruthless, youth-obsessed, and often bigoted world of E-sports.

Tourney at the Hanging Gardens

by

Blaine Arcade

Tutorial

The party had journeyed deep into the caverns of the hanging gardens of Babylon. It was not a place that knew true darkness, so no matter how far down they went they would always be able to see their way. Still, it was as dim and cool as it ever got in their paradise, and it had them all on edge.

They hadn’t constructed the gardens, and they didn’t know any of those who had, so all of the small questions about its functioning were allowed to fester and grow into giant frightening shadows in the back of their minds. Continue reading

Little Nightmares 2 Lore Exploration

(Spoiler warning: full spoilers for Little Nightmares 1 and 2)

Little_Nightmares_Cover_Art

If you’re unfamiliar, Little Nightmares 2 is a horror puzzle-platformer video game developed by Tarsier Studios.  It is a prequel to the first game, and features the first game’s protagonist as a computer-controlled companion.  Players are tasked with navigating a hostile 2.5D world as grimy feral children populated by distorted monstrous adults that attack on sight and, more often than not, kill instantly.

In this post I’ll look to form a cohesive narrative theory of the second game, using only my personal play time and a little light Googling as resources.  This is inherently difficult, given that the world of Little Nightmares, somewhat implied by the title, operates based on dream logic.  Its surreal society draws a distinct line between children and adults, as if the two belong to different species. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: The Joke’s on you and you’re on Everything

Prompt: While drunkenly setting up your avatar for a simulated world, you find a developer’s Easter egg and end up with the rarest character class in the game. There is only one: the village idiot.

I was at a point in my life where I was doing a lot of things drunk. It was like a game; how intoxicated could I be while still getting the task done and not getting noticed? I shopped for sweaters drunk. Hiked drunk. Even coded drunk. It’s very strange to look at a program written by an intellectually-meandering version of yourself. It’s like seeing a toy train’s tracks cross over each other a hundred times, and never in the same place. Continue reading

Regular Romp #3: Maddyn’s Token Trial

Regular Romp is an interactive fiction activity over on our Twitch stream where I ask a regular a series of questions before turning their answers and a corruption of their username into a short story.  Stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade if you’d like to participate.

starring Maddyn13

Lucid Maddyn had a passing thought about wordless hours. How many wordless hours had he racked up sitting in that desk chair? Sometimes it was the whole morning, as he avoided eye contact with any of the hundreds of people passing through the arcade in its early hours. It was a skill unto itself, as many of them were children, their eyes drawn by Maddyn’s impressive height. Continue reading

Hollow Knight Lore: Interpretation and Theories

Warning: This post will discuss the video game Hollow Knight and its story in great detail; it will be filled with spoilers.

hollow_knight_wallpaper_by_teamcherry-d8a1d0l

For those of you who don’t know, Hollow Knight is a hand-drawn metroidvania action/adventure video game developed by Team Cherry as their first large-scale game.  Its art style is a melancholy mix of insects, Tim Burton, Studio Ghibli, and a few play-sets full of Gothic architecture. Continue reading