and I recently downloaded the Toki Tori game for the Wii. It's a lot of fun--some really great puzzles in there--but as we were discussing one of the levels that we had gotten to, I was joking about the level design and said, "Why is there lava
in a castle
"Wait, why is there always
lava in castles?!"
When I stop and think about it, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Except it makes perfect sense and it is sheer genius (or at least sheer dumb luck that in hindsight turns out to have been a really winning combination, but the makers of the Super Mario Bros. series have had too many hits for me to think that they're continuously getting that
ridiculously lucky.) It's one of those things that, as a kid in the early days of video games, I got to the first castle at the end of the first world and went, "Holy crap! Those are spinning bars of fire!
And that's a giant pit of lava with fireballs shooting out of it!!!
Oh my god this is the coolest thing EVER!!!
I didn't question it, I didn't have to question it; it was a videogame! And as Nintendo had just proven to my young mind, anything
was possible--because if you can put lava
in a castle
, there is clearly absolutely nothing
that you can't
Now I know I'm kind of out there with some things, but this is one thing about which I am sure I was not alone. And that, of course, is what sells videogames. After that, a bar had been set. You want to do better than Mario? You're going to have to top spinning firebars, lakes of lava with globs of burning lava shooting out of them, and, oh yeah, a fire breathing dragon
at the end that will kill
you if you so much as touch
him. (Sometimes you just had to get close enough without even touching him, and his sheer ferocity
would overwhelm the poor plumber...*)
So yeah, nowhere in this world's history will you actually find a castle that had lava as either part of its temperature control system or its invader control system, but that's part of what makes it so awesome as a component of a video game; it's a bending of reality in a way that lots of people think is fun to imagine and that lots of people love pretending to experience. And that's what videogames are all about. (At least the good ones ^_^)
*Stupid bounding box errors...