In Too Deep

In Too Deep
Two More Days in Arcadia

Tom Rhodes | 8 Aug 2006 12:04
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I breathed in the air whipping around the city, shadows lying across it from the auburn sun. But wait - this wasn't Newport. Where was I? And who was I?

Thus began something that I had been hoping and wishing for over the past several years, but also dreading. Those who read about my prior journey into the land of Arcadia will recall how much I truly appreciated The Longest Journey. So much so, in fact, that I tried as best I could to live as April Ryan, the female protagonist, did. I ate when she ate, slept when she slept and on and on.

Obsessive? Well, duh. But through my protracted exposure, I was enriched by the experience. Ever tried to watch all three extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? That's the filmic equivalent.

It was with this mindset that I began to play Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the sequel to my favorite game of all time.

I decided right off the bat that I deserved to clear my schedule and play this as I had the first one. Now, of course, would be different: I would play as three distinct characters rather than one. Their lives and fates would be intertwined with my own as I traveled to the twin worlds that were both familiar yet strange.

When I first installed it and executed the program, my pulse quickened just a little bit. The music rose, the screen faded in from darkness and my journey continued ...

***

What is it about sequels? Hell, what is it about continuing sagas? Sometimes they come to a satisfying conclusion, while other times ... well, we won't talk about them. More than what they are, however, is what they say about us.

I spent a total of six years exploring Stephen King's seven-book The Dark Tower series. I breezed through the first four while waiting patiently for King to finish the remaining three. He started the series back in 1982 with The Gunslinger, addicting the first of several generations to the heptalogy.

When the final three were released, one by one, I ate them up. On the last book, though, I took my time; edging patiently through page after page, not wanting it to end. As it turns out, I was right to do that.

The Dark Tower had one of the most unsatisfying conclusions I have ever read, nearly leaving me with whiplash by the way it stopped me dead in my tracks. How could King have done that to me? How could I have spent all those years with those characters and be left with that?

People can get so wrapped up in characters that they want to know what happens next, even if it's an answer they won't like. Even though I felt the first game was perfect, I had the urge - the need - to discover more.

But why? Several reasons, I think. First and foremost, we feel that we've been entertained by the stories and characters before, so why not again? Second, and most importantly, we have this strange fascination with wanting to know what those characters are doing after something is over. The truth that they are just figments of an overactive imagination has no bearing on us, because we know that - somehow, somewhere - they're real, if only to us. Finally, are they also not connected with our own destinies in a way?

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