User:Strobenz/The Chronocup

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The Chronocup is a custom cup, consisting of the following tracks:

Blissful Block
Strobenz Desert Illusion
Blue City (working title)

I designed this cup in 2022, months before I even started working on Blissful Block, my first major track since 2015. Initially, the cup would simply consist of four unrelated tracks (2 new designs and 2 remakes/sequels), but the concept quickly evolved in my mind into something more relevant: a form of self-expression. Three of the four tracks were somewhat planned from the very beginning: Blissful Block, Strobenz Desert Illusion and the fourth track, working title "Blue City" (far from the actual title that I have yet to disclose). They were all originally going to be released at the same time, but Blissful Block proved to be too challenging to create for my out-of-practice hands and it only felt right to release it separately just after finishing it in March 2023. It was until October 2023 that I released τ-Cryovolcano and Strobenz Desert Illusion together with an update to Blissful Block, which finally allowed me to talk freely about the concept of the Chronocup.

My personal interpretation

As the title suggests, at the core of the Chronocup lies the idea of time. This is symbolized by a duality, which comes alongside many more dualities hidden within the tracks.

The main duality, the one about time, is explained as follows: time from my perspective (i.e. my lifetime), which I'll refer to as inner time for the sake of simplicity, and time as it has passed in the Mario Kart Wii community, the outer time. If we think of this community as an absolute (that is, a sort of "universe"), then this duality can be simply described as "me vs. the world", where "vs." is in the sense of contrast instead of opposition. Inner time is represented in Blissful Block and Blue City as my present and my non-present (past and future), giving another duality. Outer time is more obviously represented in τ-Cryovolcano and Strobenz Desert Illusion: in the former, the ice eruption is both literally and metaphorically an indication of change and transformation, and in the latter, the corrupted pieces of Illusion Canyon, Strobenz Desert and Blissful Block tell a [non-chronological] story of different eras of custom track creation (in fact, the track was going to feature a piece of Penguin Canyon to account for the Paint era of tracks, but it had to be left out due to the original version being lost in time).

If you look closely, the "exterior" tracks of the cup (first and last) represent inner time, whereas the "interior" tracks represent outer time. Plus, the exterior tracks are directly related to artificiality while the interior tracks are related to nature (in the dual form of cold vs. heat). The first and third tracks happen to be sequels, while the second and fourth are new designs. These are dualities in themselves. And if we let the sunset version of Blissful Block be the "main" version, then the first and third tracks are related to the color orange, while the second and fourth tracks are related to the color blue. Another duality, but I have to admit this one is just a mere coincidence.

Atmosphere's interpretation

When I posted the presentation video of the first three Chronocup tracks, Atmosphere left a comment with his own interpretation of the cup, which I found so terribly fascinating not to include here. He says:

In my opinion, what these three tracks represent is change. Blissful Block’s route changes, τ-Cryovolcano gets frozen over, and Strobenz Desert Illusion feels like a chaotic mashup of different custom track styles throughout the ages.
The Mario Kart Wii community, just like everything else, will experience change in over a decade of involvement. You’ll see mods as a whole improve substantially, people who were once fond of the game growing tired of it, and new people who are just discovering the game for the first time. Change is sometimes hard to deal with (like the storms and chaos in Strobenz Desert Illusion) but it can be beneficial too (like a new path opening in Blissful Block).