The Dark of Night

It’s hard to tell, for me personally if I am a morning or night person. I love to wake up early to get work done and also to get up at a time when it is quiet since nobody in the house is awake. However, I do appreciate staying up late with friends or family and enjoying sharing time together either infront of a television screen or a bonfire. Though both times of the day do attract me, I lean more to the night time. This is mainly because I am less tired during the night, and I also enjoy experiencing life with other people who I am close to, where as I can’t do this during the early hours of the morning.

In Elemental Philosophy, by David Macauley, there are a few key ideas that Macauley brings up that I either had no idea about or that still interest me even if they are recurring statements. Found on page 284, Rilke has a quote that says “The sky puts on the darkening blue coat / held for it by the road of ancient trees; / you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, / one journeying to the heaven, one that falls; / and leave you, not at home in either one.” I personally like this quote because Rilke makes night seem like God’s artwork; how the ancient trees are like stitchings that keep the dark blue sky in place. After reading a few quotes from Bachelard, I feel that he finds the nature of night in an original way. He states that night “penetrates the waters, saturates the pool” with darkness. He also states that night “invades” dreams and imagination. Because of these feeling of night, I feel that Bachelard finds night as an intruding force of nature, and that it has no problem taking the day’s place by force. Finally, on page 291 of Elemental Philosophy, Macauley shares a quote from Diane Ackerman. After reading the quote, I believe that Ackerman finds night as a source of freedom for people. She goes on to explain that we can see far-off galaxies in the night sky, and that we are no longer “sunblinded” during the night”, giving us full access to exploring the deep, dark blue sky. Her quote gives me a more whole-hearted feeling of the night, no matter how much more dangerous the night is during the day.

Brassai photograph

This is an example of Bassai photography. In this photo, the viewer can see a small distance ahead of them, thanks to the street lights, how there are two vacant benches and the weather is rain. Not only does the rain bring a depressing feel to the photo, but the vacant spots on the benches make the photo feel even more vacant. Finally, the darkness of the night ultimately brings a tense feeling to the viewer that makes one feel alone and nervous for what is about to happen next.

 

Going off from what I have stated before, night can bring a tense and suspenseful sensation to any human, no matter how valiant. This idea of night can also be found in certain forms of media, including video games and films. Like the photo attached above, nighttime brings a somber tone to any type of literature or media. Throughout the book Night, by Elie Wiesel, the main character, Wiesel as a young boy, fights through the Holocaust with his father. They battle sicknesses, starvation, and lack of energy. Though his father dies in the middle of the book, Elie ultimately fights through the Holocaust, making his way to America freely. The main symbol used in this book is actually “night”, which symbolizes several key aspects of his life during this time; including the fading of his faith, the way his life was slowly dimming to an end, and the dark and evil traits of the Nazi soldiers.

Finally, I personally have studied night and what it can achieve specifically in videogames. Thought there are a lot of examples in which night is used to bring a terrifying tone to these games, the one game that catches my eye the most is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. In this game, you control Simon, the protagonist of the game, and fight your way through numerous enemies and mini bosses until you finally arrive at Dracula’s Castle. Though this game’s predecessor, titled simply Castlevania, has you run through different levels regardless of the time of day, Castlevania II has gameplay which involves a day and night cycle. Throughout your journey, when it is day time, you stumble across and defeat simple and main enemies similar to the enemies found in this game’s predecessor. However, when it is night time, not only do you fight more challenging enemies, but houses and churches in the towns scattered throughout the game are all locked. After playing this game all the way through, the importance and meaning of night, for the first time, was actually drilled into my head. Not only did this game teach me that there will be struggles through life regardless of the times, but also that it is easier to find my way during the day time rather than night.

before night

This is the message the player is given just before night time starts in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. This message is brief but long enough to give the player the incentive to make sure they have enough resources and courage to fight through the dangers of the night.

This is the message shown to the player just before day starts in the game Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. In this message, the player is told that the horrible night has come to an end, giving the player not only an easier feeling for what is ahead, but also satisfaction for making it through the night without dying.

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One Response to The Dark of Night

  1. wcturgeon says:

    I really am impressed by how you can find elemental themes in so many video games. I am gaining a new respect for the genre.

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