Column

Place & Purpose: Celeste

Welcome to Place and Purpose. I plan to dive into the environments of certain games and the emotion that they evoke from the player. This is something I have wanted to do for some time, and I’m happy that it is now available for you to see!

You pull up to the Celeste Mountain trail. It looks cold outside, and the other person tells you to breathe. You are becoming overly nervous because of what this mountain entails. You get out of the car and begin your journey. It’s lightly snowing outside, and the first thing you see is a broken sign. As you continue down this path, you see a peaceful forest. Suddenly, you come up to a lonely shack with a old woman outside. She mocks you for the journey you are about to embark on. However, your ambition gets the best of you and you press on. You slowly begin crossing a bridge, and it starts to fall as you take each step. Shortly after crossing this gap, you look up. You are simply amazed with the beauty of this mountain. After taking a breath and saying to yourself, “you can do this.” You embark on your treacherous journey up Celeste Mountain. Celeste doesn’t pull any punches in making you explore this treacherous trail.

Every area feels handcrafted and different, and each place reminds you of another place in time. Coming into the first area, Waffs of Atlantis. This grand, sprawling city which once was a beautiful hub to thousands of people. Plato fantasized about the world of Poseidon, and the way in which people lived a completely different life. Coming across this town reminds you of this fabled city. A beautiful hub that served everybody, but would eventually fall over time. Posters in the background for a well known watch company pop out while exploring this lost city. It says, “It’s not just a watch, it’s a symbol.” This exact phrase tells you the type of people living here; people attempting to fit in and be noticed by others. This barren city reveals its only characteristic, quietness. Every step, every crunch echoes for what seems forever. Quietness is something that is often taken for granted; particularly, when one begins to get in their own head, the mind slowly becomes louder over time. Being alone seems like one of the rarest things nowadays with everyone being connected in some way or form. Coming to a spot where everything where every step echoes is strange initially, but it slowly wraps you into its world.

Keeping on the treacherous path is one of the creepiest hotels in history. Immediately giving you memories of the Overlook Hotel, which brings bad memories that would flush your mind of watching The Shining for the first time. Slowly walking into this place and seeing the age of the hotel catches you off guard. Instead you feel what the Torrance family felt upon arriving at the haunted hotel. This feeling of normalcy, but with a tinge of a nightmare. Climbing the stairs to ascend to the penthouse, every step creaks, beckoning for you. Every step taken is one that makes you feel uncertain. Just like before, every step is echoing in the environment. The resonance of each step is forbearing, and makes you uncertain of the path that lies ahead. While the journey may be still and quiet, it fills with you emotion. Loneliness begins to set back in, and that familiar feeling comes alongside it. It’s something that is becoming a partner in crime. Wondering what the environment would look if it was populated, making your mind wonder about the magic of this place. Slowly imagining families line up to come see the beautiful views that you are witnessing for the first time.

Creeping up the mountain, and learning what it has done to everyone who has wanted to reside here is devastating. This mountain took a toll on people who weren’t ready for it, but everyone tells the same story. It’s marvelous once you reach the summit. But before reaching it, you find yourselves outside an ancient temple. Immediately reminding you of the Al Khazneh in Jordan. You’ve only seen photos of it, but you recognize it instantly, leaving you with a surreal feeling. Coming into the first room, the grandness of it shocks you. Bats can be heard from a nearby corner, and crossing through this hallway gets them all flustered. They rush out of the cave in a matter of seconds. Making you the last breathing thing in this mysterious location. Revealing what happened here generations ago, people attempting to harness the power of this mountain. But they failed. That familiar sense of loneliness begins to set back in. It is becoming your best friend, and is something that is a constant on the pilgrimage to the top. Every step you make in the temple echoes, and seemingly goes on for miles. Showing you how quiet it truly is, and telling you the scale of how vast this place is.

Celeste makes a point to envelope you into these environments. It reminds you time and time again that you are alone. Loneliness is something which is natural, and yet often catches you off guard. This journey up Celeste mountain shows you these beautiful, barren locales. Time finds its way to these places, making every step creak, groan, or crumble beneath you. The echoing of these steps on the journey tell you what is in front of you.

Every step on your journey reminds you of something, and each time it scares you of what lies ahead. Except the scale and beauty makes you move forward. This mysteriousness always gets the best of you. And while you are exploring these places, you find yourself alone. It makes an impact on you, allowing for you to explore every nook and cranny. Letting you decipher what happened here, and forging an unique story of your time there and what came before. No one is able to hold your hand, and you must cross every obstacle by yourself. The silence becomes a constant on the journey. Slowly becoming something you can rely on, being a friend when you need it to.

From the first moment you came to the mountain, something gravitated you to it. Except you would underestimate what the journey would entail. Doubting this, was easily the worst decision upon arrival. The mystical nature of each location brought you a constant sense of quietness. Every step forward brought you toward something familiar, It would be something that would happen naturally as you explored more and more. It would bring you closer to yourself more than you ever thought it would. It would make you understand true loneliness, and makes you treasure the warmth and comfort of others. It showed you the quaint lives of those who lived on this mountain, and made your mind wander on what happened to them.