March 15, 2015

Kentucky Route Zero: Elkhorn Mine

I have fallen completely in love with Kentucky Route Zero. To celebrate this, I'll be writing a long-term review as I play, expanding on my thoughts and experiences. 




Even though we hadn't even entered the mine, the underground platform we were standing on held our only source of light, the darkness and desperation intermingling to block the outside world from joining us. Shannon was at the circuitry, having handed me a speaker to call down into the mine shafts with. She was tall and brazen, honest in her thoughts. I truly believe that I came from a liar's house, and that Shannon told the truth...right? 

"Say anything, Conway," she prompted me, "Tell me about your breakfast." 

I paused. "Uh, I ate breakfast with Lysette this morning..."





Conway's voice echoed through the chamber, the words and intonations melding together to form one long, incoherent jumble of unadulterated noise. The sounds shook the walls, causing the cavern itself to cave in. Luckily, Conway was able to drag himself onto a cart, manning the controls while Shannon whispered her recollections of their almost-prison, should they not find a way out. Water dripped. Ripped shreds of cloth or little artifacts rustled in the breeze created by the screeching of the cart. Static buzzed to accompany Shannon's commentary, masking any room to do anything but think.

Being trapped in the mine opened me up to a little more on the plot. The previous acquaintance had obviously deceived Conway - Shannon was handy, but wasn't necessarily the TV fixing type. Shannon also seemed to have some sort of conflict (That I got to have a hand in for a little while) that ended when she put the phone down. Will Conway be spending much more time with Shannon? What about the exit to the Zero...and Blue? Would Blue just have to be left behind?



The midst of all the chaos and confusion, however, there's been a common theme throughout the mine that Shannon has kept mentioning, and that's the music. When I went to the old farm to deliver the TV, I heard musicians on my way out. I love Zero's music, and this little group was absolutely no exception to the statement. Shannon told me about the miners who would play music, mainly for themselves, but as well for visiting archivists trying to capture the culture in the shafts. Of course, the mine was empty after an accident, and all remnants of that time were from tape players and empty stages that Shannon connected to her past.

The fact that music is the thing that brightened such an atmosphere reveals a truth to some to the bleakness in Zero. Equus Oils had no customers because nobody was getting to the mine after the accident. No music almost anywhere equated to a saddened, soot-stained atmosphere left to deal with the ghosts of a slightly more upbeat past. In a phrase: Yes, it's all very depressing, isn't it? I'm hoping that I may venture upon or reinforce more music in the coming acts.



"Your parents used to sing here?" Every movement, every word, every thought I made was painful, centralized on my leg. When we got out of here, I had no idea how I'd be able to walk or sufficiently drive in the ran above. Still, the allure of the archivists and the mining musicians was fascinating.

Shannon shrugged in response. Though unhelpful, it was a habit I could unfortunately relate with. "I went here a few times when I was a kid." I tried to imagine the sounds of music down here like back at the farm, but all I heard was the ringing in my ears from the turntable and the motor. Every sound echoed for minutes, meaning that the entire place still trembled in fear and recoil from the cave-in. Hopefully, there wouldn't be another...

Like what you see? I'll be continuing to cover Kentucky Route Zero and streaming it on Twitch! Thanks for reading. ...oh, and Happy Birthday, Dad. 

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