11/07/2012: themes/king's field

I walk around unknown sections of labyrinthean neighborhoods late at night and find myself constantly creating new contexts that these spaces must exist within.

It's similar to certain video games, dungeon-crawlers in particular, where there's a very specific theme and context that exists throughout, trying to explain the setting- in some cases visually, others through narrative, or other means- but it only loosely applies and it very rarely actually explains the actual design and thought behind its creation.

Walking through the suburbs in darkness, unearthing new passages, trying to fill in the blanks with certain existent knowledge. You can tell yourself "well I know why it exists" as a whole, whether it be to conceal treasure or to provide housing, but the specific parts of these spaces heavily clash against any understanding we can have.

They vastly differ from manifestation to manifestation- almost as if they are arriving as a dream. We do not know who created them, nor how they decided upon these specific layout decisions, or even if this was the original intent. All we know is they are supposed to serve some purpose, and beyond that the specifics feel like they create themselves as we're experiencing them.

King's Field

Lately I've been playing a lot of the 1994 King's Field, which really encompasses a lot of what I've been thinking of.

The dungeon is composed of five levels, which have various portals between them. Each level feels like a miniature world in its own right, and going between them never feels like a hard transition.
You drift between zones, creating a memory palace of landmarks, monuments by which to define your exploration. Each level seems to have some existence of common themes- stone passages, caverns, abandoned camps, ruins- but the layouts are extremely varied and have their own elements. The theme acts as a point from which to create, leading to outputs that vary from incarnation to incarnation. Something that is unifying, yet compelling and curious.

I may know the general idea, but the components that it is made of unveil themselves in new ways, and new contexts. It is not clear, nor always obvious, what may happen- but in that way it becomes something new and interesting, something unknown and exciting.