Sunday, February 10, 2013

Correlation, Causation, or Coincidence? A Perspective On Lyrics and a Video Game


It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind
- "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons


"Welcome. Don't let me sultry and mysterious voice startle you. For hundreds... nay, thousands... nay, nay, nay, tens of thousands of years... people have come to me in search of what they desire most. Few find what they are looking for. Even fewer ever leave. Welcome to... The Cave. That's me. The Cave.

Yes, yes, I'm a talking cave. D-d-d-don't laugh, it makes dating hell. Besides, I have a really interesting story to tell you this evening. So pay attention."

So opens the new video game, simply entitled, The Cave.

I bought a copy for myself after watching just the first few minutes of someone else's gameplay on YouTube  Why? Because they got stuck on the very first puzzle, and I figured I could do better.

If I haven't gone over how badly I am at most video games already, and why, I'll do that next week and the link will appear here. Suffice for now, to say I suck at most video games. But The Cave looked like it would be different, and so far, it is.

The background music was, well, not enticing enough for me, and not part of the gameplay, so I put my media player on shuffle while I played. My music surprised me.

"The Cave" by Mumford & Sons, opening lyrics above, came up, and I couldn't believe how applicable the songs sounded. I turned off shuffle, turned on repeat, and kept playing. I'm still wondering if it's a coincidence.


It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk

Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind
(lyrics)

It's a story of seven people and a glimpse into a dark place in each of their hearts. 
(game)

So opens the game. Seven adventurers, standing in a campsite, in a valley, just off a ways from the entrance of the cave. The sun actually appears to be setting in the background as the Welcome cues up, but we can't all be perfect, now can we?


The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat
(lyrics)

But be careful before you judge... There is a dark place in your heart as well. Someday you will find yourself descending my depths in search of what you desire... and you might not like what you find either.
(game)

I hope that doesn't need a commentary, it's pretty straight forward.


But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck
(lyrics, chorus)

As you play, pick three adventurers for your first trip, one of them will invariably die. Or rather, they'll try to die. The Cave actually says "You're not allowed to die, at least not yet."


And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again
(lyrics, chorus)


This is where the lyrical interpretation starts becoming subjective, and where in the game we start learning some back-story. The characters do find strength in pain. They find the strength to fight their way forward through the trials in their lives, and are forced to work together to make it through. Sure, you may be controlling them, but you should still be able to imagine their unwillingness. All of these characters are selfish, but their lives depend on their unwilling companions. To survive they must cooperate.


Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I'll take mine
(lyrics)

And then it's less subjective. They each have their battles, their struggles, their desires. They each must enter their own hearts of their own accord.


Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind
(lyrics)

Refresh, maybe, their memories (or let us, the player learn of their memories and sins) but not necessarily heal.


So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears
(lyrics)

Again, the struggle. You (again, as the player) must guide them through. You (as the player) are forced to guide them through. You don't have a choice if you want to keep playing, you're the one tied to the post.

Widows and orphans? Play as the Time Traveler and the Twins and I won't need to explain at all.

(Cue the chorus again, before continuing.)


So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
(lyrics)

When you come out the other side, you see their world in a different light, from a different perspective.


You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's land
(lyrics)


Hopefully, you not only understand what they did and why they did it, but you also recognize the similar temptations and faults within your own heart.


So make your siren's call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say
Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be
(lyrics)

If you've come out the other side a better person, without giving into those temptations, hopefully now, you are strong enough to resist them (the siren's call), and make amends (as it's meant to be).


And I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again.
(lyrics)

So maybe I'm stretching that interpretation a bit. I don't think I am, but hey, you're free to think that. Just try not to critique me too strictly until you have a chance to play the game for yourself. Cue the music and fade to black.










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