A Longing Introspection
Or, writing about a game about writing.
Explore dead civilizations, write about what you find, and share your stories with the universe: a game about writing…store.steampowered.com
Elegy for a Dead World is a game about writing. That’s what it says, right there on the tin! Except… not really. It’s not so much a game as it is a set of interactive writing prompts, packaged into a game-like interface. There’s no real score, and you have to watch the promotional material to know the actual plot — but that’s not a bad thing! It’s not what I expected, but I wrote for an hour, quickly discarding the suggested templates for my own immersed interpretation of a lonely adventurer’s wanderings on an alien planet known only as “Keats’ world”. I hope you enjoy — and that you experience this voyage of writing for yourself.
I’m not coming home. I have to tell you of the beauty of beyond, the unearthly hues, the alien creatures.
Soft grass, low gravity, light rain. I had stepped through space hesitant, yet the unfamiliar world beckoned, touched a string within my heart unrecognized.
I saw a trifold Atlas, a world of stone shouldered by three unyielding brothers. I thought of Earth and our legend of the cursed giant, left to bear the world’s burdens without respite or companionship.
Maybe it is different here. Maybe those who bear burdens have left me to shoulder my freedom alone.
I wasn’t too far when I found mysterious channels leading downwards into the alien planet.
Who built them?
Where are they?
Not just a cave, but a tomb! An oppressing silence of steel and darkness and shadows of light.
I remembered the hours of boosting on your homeworld — our homeworld. I remembered, and found solace in the feeble light of a stream of propelling ions.
I’ve seen no life save the ibex. The strands of grass are just a backdrop taunting me with silence. An iridescent tuft of white is but a mockery, a cold-shouldered beauty.
Again, I dove below the surface. This time great screens of science awaited. Yet still no sound but that of pen, my feet, and the plaintive rumbling of neglected electronics.
My breathing grows labored. I wish only for company, even if brokered by the inanimate. I will call.
Here the sun remembers its children on this feeble planet. The clouds part as as if opening a door to an ancient friend. The grass rejoices as the revitalizing rays rest upon it. Before me lies some ancient monument. It rejects darkly the gifts of the heavens.
Which am I?
Here the grass gives way to like-mannered shrubs. The monument gives no sign of origin or purpose. Who will trace my fading footprints, my remainder of air and ions back to the homeworld? … Who will read these messages?
Will they look with hope? compassion? scorn?
I find a river of stone, frozen timeless as it pours from a mouth of air.
I find spiral walkways of stone, hopeless Babels reaching, wretched, to the skies.
I find an alien. A benediction of stone and forgotten flesh, clad in garments untouched by time.
I’ve traversed so far, seeking company.
Company that departed consciousness uncounted aeons past.
Yet I left behind a homeworld of my fellows.
Perhaps I do not know what I seek.
Yet, I will keep on seeking.
Endless stars await.