There is a certain wave of feeling that comes over you as you are flying down a slick hill on a sheet of plastic. At first, you wonder… why?
- Why did you let someone convince you this would be a good idea?
- Why are you on a piece of plastic you have no control over?
- And why did you decide to do this on a full stomach?
But then you start gaining speed and your adrenaline kicks in causing you to let go of your sanity. You get a taste of something you were craving.
At this point one of two things will happen:
Either your sanity returns, causing you to freak out and bail off of the plastic on to the snow. You’ll eventually roll or slide to a stop, get up and trek back to the top. Even though you bailed, you’re not hurt. Snow is nice like that. At the top, you look out over the hill, you see the view, see the slightly melting snow on this unusually warm winter day. In your gut you get the feeling that you missed out on something and some unknown desire causes you to sit down on your plastic sheet and go for another run.
You hold on. You know now that you crave that taste, that thrill, that speed. You feel like nothing can stop you now, your worries melt away. You gain more speed at the loss of control, but you don’t care. Because you don’t care about anything other than getting more of that feeling.
You hit a bump and launch off the ground. As you rise, your connection to the world around you disappears. The only things you have are the clothes on your back and the sheet of plastic that’s under you if you never let go. When you reach the pinnacle of your arc, you reach Nirvana. Nothing matters but that blanket of air that carries you away.
That won’t last. Mother Nature is as cruel as she is nice. She uses the laws of physics to bring you back down to earth, like a parent unwilling to let you go. Eventually gravity stops being your friend and causes you to slow to a stop near the bottom. You stand up, and see the hill from the bottom. It looks like a long steep trek, but you are undeterred. And so you take a step and begin to walk, because you know. You know that there is a certain wave of feeling that comes over you…
-Jack Storm, Game Programming Major, Spring 2015