As the sand began to whip up around me, I began to question why I’d began this journey in the first place. Without a map or guide, I’d begun traveling toward a far off mountain as if my compelled by some higher power, having long since forgotten what exactly I’d hoped to find. But here I stood in the middle of a scorching sea of tan, the wind so strong as to push me off my chosen path so as to ensure even more definitely that I was never to make it to my destination.
Sandstorm from developer Daniel Linssen didn’t feel like a game, it felt like a challenge of my will versus an environment doing everything in its power to destroy and chance of achieving my goal. The desert felt alive and devious, at times seeming to help me along only to have sent me off course and stranded in the blazing wilderness. Yes it also seemed to call to me, taunt me even. It was posing a challenge, and somehow I was repeatedly compelled to meet it.
Eventually though, I began to realize it wasn’t the desert that was driving me onward, but my own stubbornness and refusal to admit I’d embarked on a lost cause. Repeatedly I contemplated surrendering to the harsh climate, resigned to the fact there was never a mountain at all, and I’d been chasing a phantom from the beginning. I was livid and the storm and its increasingly frustrating tendency to rear up at the worst times, ruining my chances to finally see the end as the world began to spin around me and I became confused and sick from the wind’s velocity.
I couldn’t do it though, because giving up would mean admitting what I already knew: that there was no end, that I’d given up everything and driven myself into madness. And for what? A mythical monument isolated in the middle of an ocean of sand. I’d needed something to latch onto and found it in an imaginary oasis which where I would somehow discover the reason I’d gone through so much to get there. That even my camel, the one other living thing in this accursed desert, would choose to abandon me in the dead of night than spend another moment on my fool’s errand was enough to tell me it was a lost cause from the start.
I did eventually make it through the desert, camel reluctantly refastened to my carriage as I entered the city I’d been searching for. The journey was over, I’d found what I’d been looking for, and for a moment I was content with that. And yet, it still felt as if this was another con; as if the storm was attempting to fool me again to hide what was really hidden within it. I returned to the desert.