The Deaths Of Mountains

Prep work

Recently we gave Mountain – a kind of desktop geological pet – our Bestest Best Landscape Of 2014 Award. As part of the chatter about it I said that I “felt strongly enough about *my* mountain that I will never boot the game up again once it’s gone”.

Until now that meant not launching the .exe file and just keeping the whole thing in storage on my hard drive. But that bothers me. The mountain might as well already be dead if I do that, and will almost certainly end up lost to space-clearing mass culls if I don’t get a new hard drive and this one keeps inching closer to capacity. Instead, I’m going to boot it up one last time and wait for digital nature to take its course…

The first problem that presents itself is that, with an hour to go until I start work, I need to go have a shower and wash my hair. What if the mountain dies on its own? Graham’s did. No-one knows what happened there. What if mine needs to know I’m here or lives longer if I click on it every now and again?

Good morning!

I briefly consider dragging my PC into the bathroom with me but that way lies madness.

My parents had a cat who grew so clingy when I came home from university for a year that it was less noise and hassle to let him sit in the bathroom with me than to shut him out. Sometimes while showering you would hear a thump and there would be a chubby ginger cat in the tub trying to sit as far away for the shower as possible and looking up at you like “WHY DID YOU MAKE ME DO THIS? I AM ALL WET NOW”.

“We’re not going through all that again,” I tell the mountain. “Stay here and don’t die.”

At that moment a die crashes into the side of my mountain. The sides 1 and 2 are clearly visible.

I think my mountain is actually attention seeking.

Yes, haha, very subtle.

“You stop that immediately! I need to get ready for work. Also you are a digital mountain – it is too early for these shenanigans!”

There is a ping.

“IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP, IT’S LONELY AT THE BOTTOM”, declares the mountain.

Oh COME ON!

“Look, I really need to go wash and get ready.”

There is another ping.

“I AM TAKING IN THIS DAY.”

I assume this passes for acceptance of the situation and grab a towel.

“I’ll be back in a moment, yeah?”

Standing under the shower I think fondly of the mountain. It looked particularly beautiful as I left the room, bathed in pink evening light which made the faces of its die seem to glow. Even its black umbrella looked kind of charming.

Its black umbrella? Huh…

A MYSTERY

As the shower rinsed off the last traces of sleepiness my brain finally registers that something is amiss. *My* mountain had a skull on it. *My* mountain had a barely recognisible clock face jutting out of it. *My* mountain had the back end of a horse pointing jauntily into the air.

What the hell is this imposter? This mountain cuckoo baby?

I stand there trying to work out what to do. Do I search my hard drive and try to find the save file I’m presumably missing? Then a treacherous memory stirs. A slightly inebriated memory wherein there’s a chance I, uh, well, kinda, sorta, uh…

There is a chance I euthanised my mountain rather than watch it die.

I’m not actually sure how I would have done that. Did I delete the game and then re-install it? Past-Pip, what the hell did you even do?

“I’M PLEASED WITH THIS FRESH MORNING”, offers the mountain as I come back into the room.

I don’t know what to say to it.

I try to dry my hair like someone who doesn’t just go round euthanising mountains, but I feel like the mountain knows something is amiss.

We sit in silence until a champagne bottle crashes into the side of the cuckoo mountain. I think my mountain is turning to drink. Or at least gently revolving to drink.

Responsible parenting

“It’s just a coincidence, Pip,” I tell myself.

“I’M GETTING HIGH ON THIS DARK STATE,” announces the mountain.

“I did it because I cared! Probably!” I wail.

The mountain just carries on spinning slowly, covered in snow and booze. I go to the RPS chatroom to explain the complication.

Alice is incredulous. “How can you people not be trusted with mountains?”

“I clearly meant well,” is my (utterly inadequate) response.

A ping from the direction of my second monitor.

“IS THIS WEIRD, I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE”.

The mountain seems sad. I can’t help but feel partly responsible.

So what now?

“I’M LOOKING AT THIS OVERCAST NIGHT” chimes the mountain.

You and me both.

I go and make a cup of tea. Perhaps I should let this one live. Perhaps there is some way to make it up to this one? Alternatively I could just put a stop to its misery right now…

In the end I decide to let the mountain tell me what to do – whether to carry on or to delete the whole sorry spectacle. I mean, it had seemed like the mountain might be cheering up a bit when I went to boil the kettle (“I’M SUPER INTO THIS BLOOMING MORNING”) but that might have been sarcasm. I guess the next status update would be the decider.

“I’VE HAD DREAMS ABOUT THIS BLACK NIGHT.”

I shake my head sadly. Goodbye, little mountain. I’m sorry I’m such a terrible geologist.

I clearly meant well!

This article is part of the RPS Supporter Program. Dote Night will return next week.

26 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    Well that certainly put a smile on my face on this dreary day.

  2. Smashbox says:

    I’m having quite the time trying to imagine just what type of game this is

    Nice post. Thanks

    • BlazeL says:

      Actually, it’s notagame. The Game Police put a warning on it.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Pip Warr, mountain killer.

  4. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    You must lower Mountain into the steel.

  5. captain nemo says:

    No Matter hun’

  6. DrScuttles says:

    Kill your darlings. Or in this case, mountains.

  7. RARARA says:

    Oh, and here’s a list of how your mountain might be killed:

    You are granted death by The Eye of Annihilation

    You died by The Arrow of Infinite Pain and Sorrow

    You have been destroyed by The Eye Of Love Unrequited

    You have been granted death by The Sun Of Infinite Darkness

    You have been killed by The Eye Of Blindness

    You were killed by Fluffy, The Bringer Of Guilt

    You were destroyed by A Giant Cube From Hell

    The Taker Of Souls Took Yours.

    You were killed by The Murderous Dwarf Star

    You have been killed by a Giant Ice Cream

    You are ruined by a passing Giant Sun

    You were annihilated by a Giant XYZZYX

    You were destroyed by The Icosahedron Of Doom

    You were killed by the Blood Pyramid

    You were killed by Rupert, The Bringer Of Ice

    You were killed by a passing sun

    A tiny XYZZYX killed you

    You were killed by a XYZZYX

    Source

    It’s a dangerous world out there for a mountain.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Would you like to have the mountain’s petrology identified [Y/N]?

  8. dysomniak says:

    I don’t actually know what I just read, but I think Pip may be my new favorite RPS writer….

  9. Monggerel says:

    You’ve been breathing in his dreams

  10. Robert Post's Child says:

    Mountain will remember this.

  11. EkoAzarak says:

    So I bought Mountain.. i love the idea of it. But it runs like absolute shit. The CPU usage is ridiculously high and the entire application is very choppy. Anyone know why? I have a pretty decent system that runs all recent games on medium/high settings so its not my hardware. I kinda wanted to just run Mountain continously on my second monitor but no, it just cripples my system so that I cant do much else while running it… wtf? seems like many users on the Steam forums experience the same thing.

    • shrieki says:

      funny i just started up my mountain and yes it takes over 30% cpu ….

    • Wowbagger says:

      You should see Earth’s task manager for Mount Everest.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Haywardan says:

    I am very surprised that this is the only article tagged “Pip cannot be trusted”.

  13. rustybroomhandle says:

    On the topic of mountains:

    link to youtube.com

    My apologies in advance.

  14. LogicalDash says:

    I didn’t care for Mountain because the visual design on the mountain itself wasn’t very good. I’d have taken something impressionistic like Proteus, or maybe a more physics based simulation (deformable like in Spintires?), or even just some really intricate, animated bump maps? so that it’s fun to look at with the light hitting it different ways? but for a game that expects me to look at the same bit of geometry every ten minutes for fifty hours, it didn’t sell that vista very well. It changed textures when the seasons changed, and the rain got its sprite swapped for snowflakes in winter.

  15. Timbrelaine says:

    My coworkers likely think I’m insane, but that was the best laugh I’ve had in a week. Thanks for the cheerin’ up.