Spring Thing ’17 – Ben Kidwell & Maevele Straw’s Enlightened Master!

April 8, 2017

You are finally nearing the end of your journey to the Enlightened Master.

Thank God.

[spoilers begin here]

The Highest Mountain resembles a mountain, but bigger. Every type of high-altitude hazard is found on the long climb from its base to the summit.

Every type? This sounds like a challenge. Mountain jaguars? Falling coconuts? High-altitude peanut allergy?

I’m climbing a mountain, slowly, with realistic descriptions of being surrounded by boring cold mountain. Everything I know about mountain climbing I learned from a documentary called Meru. Namely, I learned you could not pay me enough to climb up a fucking mountain.

One thing this game lacks so far is any technical input on my part that might make the climbing more interesting. I’m literally just typing CLIMB CLIMB CLIMB CAMP. If at any point I had to actually probe the ice with screws looking for a secure anchor, or even make an ultimately fake choice between footholds, I suspect I’d be way more invested. Right now I’m just getting the boring part of mountain climbing without any of the mental challenge that makes insane people enjoy it.

You have attained the summit, but you feel no surge of triumph.

Well yeah ’cause I literally just typed CLIMB, that’s what I’ve been trying to explain.

Here, deep within the cave atop the Highest Mountain, you have found the Enlightened Master.
It’s a pinball machine.

As the kids say these days, I am here for this.

“I suppose I wasn’t exactly what you were expecting.”

It, uh, it talks.

“I’m glad you’re trying again. Don’t get discouraged, your skill is increasing with every shot. What’s hard now will be easy later. Of course, I’ll have some new challenges for you then!”

I am straight up getting ASMR from this. The sense the game is giving off right now is that this pinball game has very deep mechanics and a high degree of responsiveness to my actions. Usually when games communicate this it’s a lie to some extent, but letting me think this is what I’m in for usually boosts my goodwill higher than the inevitable disappointment takes it down.

Also I’m having the secrets of the universe explained to me while I play pinball and who doesn’t love that.

“I guess I still haven’t really explained how I went from cooking and serving eggs to being a pinball machine.”


“I’m not in the same dimension I started in, I’ve gone through several narrative frameshifts to get to this universe.”

This reminds me of a hypothesis I’m working on that every realm in the multiverse is stacked up in the exact same place in the first four dimensions, constituting a fifth dimension that we’re also moving through, but there are a flippin’ gazillion universes & you can probably only slide into your immediate neighbors, so most of the time you don’t notice because all that changed is a carpet fiber is one micrometer to the left or what have you. This, not faulty human memory, is what explains shit like your sister swearing to holy Jesus that the walls in her bedroom were blue when you KNOW they were brown.

What was I doing again? Oh, right, having enlightenment broken down for me by a pinball machine in a video game. Carry on!

“Shoot into the fountain again for one of my reality-warping minigames.”

don’t gotta ask me twice!

Okay, I am 100% certain I didn’t understand anywhere close to all of that, but it was a fun ride.

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