Multifaceted Memories in Monument Valley 2

Multifaceted Memories in Monument Valley 2

"In our haste in looking forward, we too often forget the past"
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When I wandered into the App Store to install updates the other week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my favorite game had been given a sequel. The original Monument Valley was a game whose existence I wasn't entirely sure of; my first look at it was when it was featured on season 3 of "House of Cards". The game itself is constructed of Escher-like puzzles that require the landscape to be rotated and twisted so its protagonist -- Ida, a faceless figure in a white dress and matching cone hat -- could walk up walls, go through transporting doors, and avoid enthusiastic polygonal crows, all in an effort to reach the shrine at the top of each level, effectively 'restoring' a lost monument.


Ida wanders the abandoned Valley in an effort to reach the shrine at the end of each level, all the while being confronted by spirits of elders who lament the forgotten past. For me, the highlight of the original game was a chilling level with minimal puzzles, and where no monuments were returned at all; in the end, the player's only task was to guide Ida straight through a vast underground graveyard, the only sound being the echoes of her little footsteps. With the mystery of the Valley's shrouded past still heavy in the air, the short game left me hungry for more. So, naturally, I instantly dropped $5 for Monument Valley 2 without even thinking about it; I was desperate to return to the nonsensical puzzle world I wanted so badly to live in.


This time we are introduced to Ro, another faceless woman in an orange dress and matching hat. She has her small child in tow, dressed in a red hood for her first visit to the Valley. Ro restores monuments as they go along, but keeps her daughter's safety a top priority among these crumbling ruins.

Just as in its predecessor, some levels offer brief interludes in monochrome environments where Ro, alone, speaks to an oracle who encourages her to let go of her daughter and continue further into the Valley alone, allowing her daughter to learn her own lessons and become her own person. Soon after one such conversation, Ro gestures for her daughter to board a little sailboat that waits at the docks. The boat brings the child to her own levels, where she skips among the ruins and speaks to the ghosts of other elders. They tell her that "Our shadows grow long as we wait for one worthy to take up our mantle. She has taught you well, but there is still much to learn. The path will be hard but remember, we walked it too."




The game then diverges into different points of view. Ro enters an introspective level represented by puzzles within puzzles, with each door she enters allowing the camera to zoom into a new space previously too small to be seen. She chases her younger self through a series of her own memories that are remarkably similar to the path taken by herself and her daughter at the start of the game. Ro's daughter, on the other hand, is led through an empty, somber castle. The player controls the size of the windows, and the amount of light that comes through in turn determines the growth of trees that can be used as platforms. It's simple, yet very moving to see light being used as a mechanic for progress. At the end, the girl enters a door in the leaves of the tree, and as the tree grows up and up, the ceiling of the castle peels back like the petals of a flower, and the child emerges as an adult.

The game ultimately ends with the reunion between Ro and her grown daughter, who remains unnamed. Their final level together has the woman ascending above her mother to restore the final monument and, in turn, the whole Valley. The light of all the symmetrical shapes drawn by the player over the course of their adventure illuminates the two women and the spirits of their ancestors as they rejoice among the shrines.


I felt Monument Valley 2 was still far too short, and didn't answer nearly as many questions as I was hoping -- what happened to the Valley in the first place? Why was Ro's daughter able to accomplish what she herself could not? How does Ida from the first game tie into this story? But, nevertheless, I was still just as transfixed with the calming music and soft gradients, as well as its use of color schemes and symmetry. I felt challenged by the puzzles, but never frustrated or rushed. Ro demonstrated the importance of introspection, and how it is vital for growth. Her daughter's journey showed how history is prone to repeat itself, but sometimes for different reasons; we may follow in our parents' footsteps more than we think, but in the end the path we carve out is our own.

Visit Monument Valley's website here. Here's to hoping that ustwo's DLC isn't afraid to delve a little deeper into the game's elusive lore...



Cover Image Credit: Emily Prechtl

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Just Like Any Other Toxic Relationship, It's Time To Breakup With Your Phone

Our phones are our individual prisons and you need to free yourself.

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Cell phones. Ever wonder why they're called "cellular devices?" Well, the suffix "ular" means "relating to," or "resembling." And "cell," well, the first thing you think is a prison cell! So, cellular devices resemble a prison. We trap ourselves in them. We go behind the gate, close and lock the door, and throw away the key. We place our full identity in what we put on social media. We waste precious time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We send memes instead of talking to someone face-to-face. We Snapchat the people right beside us, instead of just talking to them.

You know when you're in a toxic relationship, everyone tells you to break up with that person. They're bad for you. They only hurt you. You're better than that. Our relationship with our phone is like that too. So, break up with your phone! You don't need that negativity, that comparison, or that judgment.

I'm a teenager. I'm supposed to be the one attached to my phone, right? Well, I'm the "odd" one who actually wants to see your eyes and not have our phones around when we talk. I hate how it's so accepted, and encouraged, to neglect the necessity of human, face-to-face conversations with words coming out of our mouths. Our thumbs move faster, and more frequently, than our mouths do anymore.

I wish there was a national day where all electronics were forbidden, making you go an entire 24 hours without them.

Eventually, after you go through withdrawal, you would come to love the world you so often ignore. I promise. This January, I took the whole month away from social media. Even taking away that part of phone use was eye-opening. The sky is pretty, the birds sing, people actually dress up. There's also this thing called the outdoors — it's really cool! I don't know, I'm just glad that I haven't caught the millennial-bug. It's contagious, so beware.

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