Fun With Despair
So, remember the Pirate Park?

Of course you do it was like last week. Anyway, as it turns out, there's a playground like... literally ten steps away from that one, and it's also got a theme.

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It's based on a castle this time around, and I feel like that probably means something in conjunction with the pirate ship. Is it some kind of raid situation, with kids defending their castle home from pirate looters? Seems like it could be a neat setup for some cool pretend stuff but I also probably just think they're unrelated beyond them both having some kind of aesthetic going on.

Do kids like castles as much as pirate ships? I'm no expert, but I'd probably say yes. I know I do anyway, but I'm also a total whore for Dark Souls, so maybe I'm not a good one to ask.

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What caught me sort of off guard immediately was this uh, bench thing on the outside? I'm not really sure why it's here, but I guess you could maybe pretend you're a... king on a throne, but like, outside the castle? Maybe I'm overthinking this but compared to the below deck areas of the pirate ship, this place is kind of already lacking a bit on the ground floor. Ironically a random bench probably would have made more sense on the pirate ship if we're being honest, but who am I to judge. Maybe knights were notoriously lazy? I'm no expert.

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Rather than tic-tac-toe, or the shit dinosaur one over on the death trap danger park, there's like, this thing that's just random letters instead? You can make the word WAR, which is maybe a little foreboding, but otherwise it's almost entirely nonsense that doesn't actually form anything coherent, so it doesn't even teach kids to read. I suppose illiteracy is something straight out the middle ages too though, so I don't know what I expected.

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Meanwhile this one over here just says OOOOOOOOO. Waste of my fucking time.

...Just kidding, it's actually the standard tic-tac-toe here. It's alright. It's actually got a blank space this time at least, which means you can actually play it. Does it redeem the stupid letter thing? Up to you, but I'm glad it's here at least.

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Off to the side there's a little table thing, which is literally exactly the same one as was below the deck in the pirate ship, but painted differently. Why the hellisn't this near the bench anyway? You expect me to sit on the rocks or something while I... do whatever it is that this table is for? Anyway I guess it's hard to really complain about something this simple and technically functional, but I complained about the meme wheels, and those did actually do something at least.

Speaking of meme wheels, it's been a while since I've seen one this time around. I'm not gonna say I miss them, but I do miss having a bit of a metaphysical antagonist on my journey.

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Before we get onto the playground itself though, let's swing over to the swings briefly. These are pretty good, and the mechanism attaching the chain to the top part of the swing set is really smooth and lets you go relatively fast for a while with no real effort on your part. Really not a fan of these swing sets with only one real swing and one baby swing though.

I get that this is kind of the standard, but I swear to god those baby swings are just begging for some stupid teenager to get stuck in one for hours in the aftermath of his vain attempts to be funny for his friends.

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Two of the ways to get onto the playground are about what you'd expect. The ol' classic ladder and climbing wall. Notably though, this climbing wall does not have any sort of rope or chain or anything to actually grab onto, besides your vague hopes for survival as you scale this treacherous wall. In truth, it's like four feet tall, but either way it's not the most comfortable thing to climb up. I'd call it pirate deterrent, but they can just take the ladder if they really want.

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There's also this Call of Cthulhu lookin' shit reaching up from the depths of the earth to grasp the side of the castle, allowing for traversal of some deep and unknowable variety. I don't know if this is supposed to be some squid tentacle or if the park designer was just on some mad fucking acid at the time, but this thing is actually really fun to climb. The way it contorts itself upwards means you basically have to be climbing sideways by the end of it, and while it's probably a safety hazard, it's also kind of actually awesome

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Speaking of eldritch horrors, I never did quite understand how these were supposed to work. I think you wrap your legs around them and slide down like a slide, in which case this one is pretty fast and really fun, but I've also had people tell me that I can only do that because I have long legs and it doesn't work for kids?

I'd like to finally put this to rest, so if any of you can tell me how the fuck you're INTENDED to use this thing, let me know, because until then I'm sticking with my way and I'm saying this thing's probably the best slide I've used this whole garrison if so.

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The final "entry point" onto the playground are these little stepping stones, with some stairs over off to the side next to it. I like the stepping stones enough, even if they're relatively uninteresting, but the stairs... Well...

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They kind of have this weird Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil motif going on and maybe it's me being a spooky idiot but does anyone else find this kind of foreboding? I dunno, shit feels vaguely cursed in a way. Why is this even... here? Kids probably have no idea what this is, and it's so tucked away into a minor part of the playground that no one besides some creep out at 10 PM taking photos of parks for an internet forum would actually notice this inscription largely.

I'm not saying it's weird, but actually no that's exactly what I'm saying.

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Stepping away from this week's episode of the Alberta X-Files though, the actual space on the playground is pretty good for castle roleplay stuff, with castle walls and windows you can look through and stuff. Actually, the walls and general color scheme of the place clash a LOT less than the Pirate Park did, which I guess is one of the reasons I docked (heh, sea puns) some points from that one. There's a more cohesively colored one right next door, Pirate Park, at least try to catch up.

It's also got this little balcony you can stand on, which works well as a watchtower or something. It's similar to the one at Cimarron Park, but it has the added bonus of not being on a playground that sucks mondo dick. You can also see the actual park benches from here, which once revealed, really do demonstrate how damn useless that plastic one down there is.

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Plus: an actual wobbly bridge! This one's legitimately great, and I feel like if you had someone stand on the other end and jumped, you'd probably launch them like five feet into the air. It's really fun and bouncy, and pretty much everything one of these SHOULD be. Other playgrounds should take notes, really.

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To finish it off, we have the slide of course. Does it pass the test?

...Ehhhhh... It's kind of slippery but like the last one just way too short. You kind of feel a little cockblocked by this one, because just as you feel like you're really having some fun, you get unceremoniously dumped on your ass at the end. I think it's an overall positive, but I really would have liked a longer one overall. I know this playground isn't the tallest one on the planet, but some of these have like, raised platforms for the slide to get more mileage out of it, and I think I would have liked to see something like that here.

But anyway, I suppose it's time for my royal decree, isn't it? As the king of this castle, I hereby declare its score to be...


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I kind of sat here a good while and thought about whether to give this a 6 or 7. On one hand, I do appreciate the fact that this one actually tried to stay a little more faithful to the theme in regards to its color scheme compared to its seafaring neighbor, but at the same time, it's just frankly got too much random shit tacked onto it, so I'm throwing it in the middle.

I think the castle park might be for younger kids than the pirate park, and the pirate park DID genuinely do more interesting things with its theme by far, so I did decide to rank it a bit lower in the end. My opinion on the pirate park is changing overall though, and I might kick it up to an 8 officially in the next while here depending how the coming few go. The points I genuinely can give the castle park though are mostly due to the cool climbing thing and the kickass wobbly bridge, which usually tend to end up my favorite features on a playground.

On the whole, it's definitely above average for the theme alone, even if it's kind of generic and/or weirdly put together in places. I'm quite glad this one turned out alright after how dull Cimarron Park was last time. I don't have much lore in this review unfortunately, nor did I have as many jokes to make this time around, but largely because this place is just kind of decent overall.

Except that weird display on the stairs. Still don't know what's up with that. Might haunt my dreams for a while, if we're being completely honest. Speaking of dreams though, it's like 3 AM so I'm off to go probably fucking die or something. See you next time, and all that.
I believe the intended use of the rails is for you to grab them with your hands while lifting up your body and then slide down that way. That's how I always used those at least, those people are right, kid legs can not use them the way you're describing.

This seems like a solid 7 park to me, it doesn't have any real failings and the visual theming is on-point even if it's not super interesting, and beats out the average park. Dunno what the hell is going on with the letter tic tac toe thing though.
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Fun With Despair
(Sep 15, 2019 at 9:37 AM)Draku Wrote: I believe the intended use of the rails is for you to grab them with your hands while lifting up your body and then slide down that way. That's how I always used those at least, those people are right, kid legs can not use them the way you're describing.

This seems like a solid 7 park to me, it doesn't have any real failings and the visual theming is on-point even if it's not super interesting, and beats out the average park. Dunno what the hell is going on with the letter tic tac toe thing though.
Admittedly if I bump Pirate Park to an 8 I'll likely edit and raise this one too. I should probably mention that unlike video game reviewers I AM using 5 as the literal middle point.

That part about the rails confuses me though because I used to try that but my hands inherently never slid down them that way because my hands aren't ever slippery enough and I guess my grip is too tight.

Hmm. Maybe I'll have to give it another shot.
Yeah you don't tightly grip it, you more of have your thumb and fingers over them without actually gripping. Your weight then pushes you down the rail while keeping you on it.
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In the past i've used the rails by sliding down with my underarms in like ...a chicken wing type arm pose? but 0/10 it just hurts your arms

Good park tho, I like the overall idea of the pirate vs. kingdom situation. Although between the "War Nuf Dep" , "oooooo", and the "hear/speak/see no evil" symbolism- something might just be a little cursed in the kingdom.

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