Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado

"May the rats eat your eyes!"

Many years ago, back at the turn of the millenium when I was dotcomming it up and rocking the Nintendo 64 in my furnitureless one-bedroom pad in sunny San Francisco, I was quickly approaching the point where I knew I was going to have to pick up a GameCube. The vague, mostly background, motivation for this would be the eventual arrival of the flagship Zelda title for that platform, Wind Waker. What would end up being the immediate and concrete catalyst for that purchase, though, was brought to my attention via the famed Narcohaus in Boston, back when that was a thing, and was a sleek little number by the name of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. This game was (and, to my mind, still is) the most accomplished and excellent translation of Lovecraftian-style horror to the video game world that has ever, ever been. It also remains one of my favorite titles to date. Since it's unlikely that any of you remaining readers are currently as big of fans as ten-year-old Nintendo console games as I am, allow me this brief explanation.

This game, Eternal Darkness, centers around a few truly epic conflicts. In the background are the internecine squabbles among a trio of extraplanar elder gods and their neutral overseer, and in the foreground rages the struggle between those same gods and mankind as championed by a handful of unsuspecting and eventually greatly beleaguered chosen few throughout human history. I say unsuspecting because these heroes were generally swept into the fray without prior knowledge of the war being waged, and I say beleaguered because their involvement would often lead to loss of life, limb, sanity, and soul -- sometimes in that order. Of the weapons at humanity's disposal to fight this war, none would prove as crucial as a book called The Tome of Eternal Darkness and, more specifically, the powers of weird and twisted magick that it would convey.

The magick of Eternal Darkness was driven by sigils; there were symbols that represented various nouns and verbs that could be combined to form spells, but not before also being combined with the symbol representing a particular individual among the small pantheon of extraplanar gods represented in the game, thereby granting the spell an "alignment." With very few exceptions, a particular alignment wouldn't change the effect of a spell; it would only vary the spell's effectiveness in situations where a rival god's power came into play. Spells aligned with Chattur'gha, for example, would hold greater sway over the powers and followers of Xel'lotath.

The reason I bring all this up now is because I've been thinking rather obsessively about this game for the past couple weeks, and a few days ago I started to play it again. Don't misunderstand...playing this game for the first time is an astounding experience (and for greatest effect should take place alone and in the dark), but as a video game, there isn't a huge amount of replay value. This is the kind of replay I approach like rereading a favorite book: there aren't any surprises waiting for me; I just enjoy the story and experience of it.

What made me think of the game in the first place, though, was that a little while back I was tooling around my neighborhood and came across a distinctive-looking piece of graffiti that contained the word "exile" next to (and incorporated into) a sigil or rune of some kind. I didn't (and still don't) recognize any meaning in the symbol, but it immediately made me think of that Eternal Darkness game, and once I thought of it, the urge to replay it got stronger and stronger. Anyway, one day recently I thought to snap a quick cell phone pic of the item in question, just to see if it meant anything to any of you guys.


Every time I saw it, I felt like I should know where I've seen it before, but I just can't place it. In any case, after replaying Eternal Darkness for a while, it certainly became apparent why seeing that graffiti made me think of the game. Below is the symbol representing one of the extraplanar gods in the game, the dread sorcerer Ulyaoth:


Pretty close, there, huh? It'd be pretty funny if there was someone running around here tagging up who was as much into old-ass GameCube games as I was. :) That said, I'm fairly certain that the graffiti has some more obvious and straightforward meaning attached to it, so I'm open to suggestions, everybody. Failing that, I guess I can only say XEL'LOTATH - NAROKATH - REDGORMOR - PARGON - PARGON
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