How was I born? – A postcard from dreamland

Greetings, fellow sunflowers! This is Alice.

In each installment of “How was I born?” I’m gonna introduce y’all a piece of fiction that has a special place in my heart – a piece of fiction that made me who I am. Previously, I’ve introduced many things that have been quite well known. I apologise for that. Today, though, I wanna talk about something a little less known.

9: The Last Resort is a videogame developed by Tribeca, published in 1996. I was about eleven when I got it. To date, I still don’t know who had the twisted sense of humour to give that game to the preteen me.

is pretty weird, you see. It’s not the weirdest videogame in existence, and it’s quite mild in content. It’s still pretty weird though, and remember, I was about eleven years old when I got it. For me it was acid.

Have you ever played Myst? is a bit like that. You wander about in a rambling old mansion, solving puzzles. In-game, you inherited the mansion from your uncle, who had envisioned it as a holiday resort for artists, but the mansion has fallen low since its glory days. Its power stems from the titular nine muses, and it’s the player’s task to recover the muses and restore the mansion.

is bizarre. The mansion is filled with things steeped in pop surrealism. The walls are hung with odd little paintings, living statues guard doorways, fish swim backwards up a ladder into nothingness. The foyer is ruled by Hanuman in jester garb, who oversees a grand steam-powered piano. In the corner there is a worm on a stick, for no reason. The kid me loved all of it.

A couple of years ago I actually went back and popped the old disc of back into my machine, installed it, and had a whirl in Thurston Last’s old mansion. Can you guess what happened?

Everything felt smaller than when I was a kid. There were less details than I remembered. Everything was a bit more mundane. Cue slow disappointment.

Through the years, this game has stood as a milestone to me on my voyage to weirdness, but I hadn’t actively ever played the game since those golden days of my eleventh year. And I think there’s a lesson there.

Sometimes, our memory makes the things we love.

In fact, Imma go so far as to say our memories actively lie to us. They gild the things we were impressed by as children, and as we age, successive layers of filmy gold gather and cement, turning very ordinary things into stuff of heart-shattering beauty. And I think that’s okay.

Our memories don’t lie to us out of malice. Quite the opposite.

the game was dross. But the memory was, and continues to be, a shining wonder. In just such a way, things of fiction don’t mean anything by themselves. Only when they take root in a human mind do they have a chance of blossoming.

Then, years pass, and the sapling grows. Sometimes it becomes a mighty tree. And is any tree at all like the seed it sprang from?

That is what I want to remember as I write. That I cannot create the tree. Only the seed.

Author: alicegristle

Hi y'all! I love carrots, knights, and magic castles!

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