the desert flower bowling alley and arcade fun complex

Do y'all ever listen to WTNV and mouth certain phrases along with Cecil, like not just the obvious ones like “Goodnight, Night Vale, goodnight” and “And now, the weather” but also “you know, the farmer” and “Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex” and “literally a five-headed dragon”

The Desert Flower Bowling Alley & Arcade Fun Complex

The teenage employees blast their own music and fuck around on the machines all day, but no one complains to Teddy Williams. Somehow those bubble-gum popping stoners are the only ones who can make the games give out tickets instead of scorpions and quiet the preternatural howling that comes from the ball return.

Rapture Blondie
Ghost Town The Specials
Moonage Daydream David Bowie
The Wizard Black Sabbath
Moon Dust Cherry Glazerr
23 Dollars Clams Casino
Neon Angels On The Road to Ruin The Runaways
Dimension Wolfmother
Ace of Spades Motorhead
Enter Sandman Metallica
In A Gadda Da Vida  Iron Butterfly
Strange World Iron Maiden

listen here

Friendly reminder that Coach Lucia Tereschenko died on a train that was carrying crates of precious cargo, and now haunts the Little League baseball diamond (Episode 84: Past Time)

Reminder that Lucia saw the Planet Lit By No Sun as she was dying on top of the train carriage after there was an attempt at stealing the crates. The planet has already been linked to the crates in Episode 13: A Story About You.

Another reminder that a train arrived at the Little League baseball diamond, and the deer-masked beings (established in Episode 29: Subway as having something to do with trains) were very intent on getting their crates back complete with their minature buildings (Episode 91: The 12:37). 

Reminder that The Destroyer (aka Huntokar) is the god of the tiny city beneath Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. The buildings may very well belong to said civilisation.

Very friendly reminder that Huntokar, according to Simone Rigadeau, destroyed the world in 1983 (Episode 103: Ash Beach).

So, how exactly does a harbinger of the apocalypse end up becoming involved in protecting a tiny city? What is the Planet Lit By No Sun, and what does it have to do with anything? How does this all tie into the events of Deft Bowman, and will it finally answer why time is so dang weird?


Really really long night vale theory

God this arc frustrates me to no end because i just CANT figure it out…!

Lets break it down… Theres multiple realities, our canon night vale and the 1983 night vale. Potentially more. We already know about our night vale, but what do we know about the 1983 reality?

  • Cal exists.
  • Following that, episode 33- “Casettes” likely is also part of 1983. The movement Cecil kept noticing in that episode and the one in 106 “filings” are probably one in the same. Kind of.
  • Leonard Burton met a very very grisly fate, but it may be unrelated to the end of the world the tapes warned us about.
  • The end of the world
  • Bethany didn’t.
My proposal: nuclear bomb. Or something.
  • Cal seems to have radiation poisoning, similar to that of the victims who survived Hiroshima.
  • More subtly, look at the way Cecil spoke of the end of the world in “Best Of?”. He spoke with urgency, but as if it were too late. This end of the world was sprung suddenly on night vale, theres enough time for cecil to talk to his listeners one final time but not enough time to get to safety. It couldn’t be a slow apocalyptic situation that takes time to develop, such as zombies, and its not an instantaneous thing. Theres enough time before the end for cecil and the residents of night vale to live their last moments in despair and terror.
  • Bethany didn’t. Didn’t what? Survive? Many people didn’t that year. Meaning that some people DID. People such as Cal who are now terribly irradiated and absolutely dying.
Now for the third and fourth possible realities:

Bowling Alley

  • The miniature city under the desert flower bowling alley and arcade fun complex
  • having the same residents, all apparently unaware that they exist in a smaller version of the town above them, its not infeesable that our night vale is also a miniature unaware of the larger, identical town housing them.
  • a vague yet menacing government agency steals the miniature cities buildings, perhaps a similar thing is happening with the disappearing buildings in night vale, probably not, but its a fun notion to humor.
Normal Night Vale
  • A normal town where everything is normal and nothing weird happens ever.
  • this is mostly inspired by the fact that cecil referred to bethany in present tense, bethany doesnt exist in our night vale and has been dead and gone for who knows how long in 1983. Meaning the memory of her still existing isn’t in canon OR 1983, potentially pointing to another reality where shes still alive and well.
  • the same thing goes for danas father, that reality is good enough for dana to abandon her night vale, meaning its probably not an irradiated wasteland.
Theres likely infinite other timelines, carlos mentioning quantum physics and the multiverse and all. But these four are the notable ones.

Other notable things are the existence of huntokhar, the distant prince, and the woman from Italy all currently existing in or approaching night vale. These three characters are related to eachother somehow, im sure of it. Coincidences dont happen in night vale. But the question is how? And WHY?

Ive written theories about this before but ive always had a sneaking suspicion that night vale isnt real. Even in the podcasts own canon, i dont think it exists on the same plane as everything else. Cecil makes mentions to the rest of america and the government but doesn’t know common states, when night vale sent a distress call for help to the american government after valentines day the government didnt take them seriously. When looking at a map of america cecil said it was wrong, recognizable but wrong, showing that theres a clear disconnect between night vale and the rest of the country, neither quite knowing the other.

Time is strange in night vale. Carlos himself said that time doesnt work there. This is furthered by the professor at the university of what it is when she came in serve for carlos saying that hes been missing for DECADES. By that point carlos had only been in night vale for, what, three years? But nope. Hes been missing for DECADES.

Something, best shown in the book, is that its hard to leave night vale. It was said that it was hard to come and go in the podcast, but the book showed diane crayton trying and failing REPEATEDLY. She always ended up back in night vale even when she logically shouldnt have. What makes it so hard to find and leave?

Also the dog park. The dog park is the only way to easily leave night vale but still makes return very very difficult. Something we often forget is that carlos and dana are the exception, not the rule. Most people in the dog park are still unable to return to night vale.

So i propose that night vale isnt in the same plane of existence as the rest of the world. Not isolated nessecarily, the fictional countries cecil has gone to are on the same plane, but far away and inconvienient. Imagine night vale as an island of abnormality in the sea of our real world. The dog park is the most viable gateway between the reality where night vale exists and where night vale doesnt, the empty desert is where night vale WOULD stand but in this reality (our reality) its just an empty desert where no one decided to build a small town. Since portals between realities are much less common in the real world than in night vale it would make returning EXTREMELY difficult.

I think that maybe, just maybe, the woman from Italy, the distant prince, and huntokhar are trying to merge night vale with reality. That timelines are ripping apart and blending together becaude they NEED to be combined to assimilate into the real world. Night vale might be turning into a normal town, and those who refuse to escape to the new reality being presented to them will have their realities crumble around them. Perhaps THATS what happened to the miniature cities sky.


Okay so if you haven’t heard Episode 109 (A Story About Huntokar) please skip this post or don’t be mad at all the spoilers I’m about to discuss. Because OMG I need to talk about how amazing this episode was, both from a literary point of view and just because it literally explains Nightvale. 

So here is a list of just…. EVERYTHING (or nearly everything) that I thought was amazing about this episode. 

1. Nightvale is broken, and Huntokar is the reason why

It’s no secret that Huntokar has already been established as a God like figure in WtN. The little civilization under lane 5 of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex was known to worship a God named Huntokar. In episode  107 (A Missing Sky) the people mention that Huntokar took away their sky. This originally made me wonder if a giant human named Huntokar had simply been the construction worker and designer that had built the Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex around their city. But no. Huntokar is literally the God of Nightvale. She IS responsible for what happened to them, to all of the Nightvales. 

“You’ve already been destroyed… you just don’t know it yet” (109). She is not exaggerating or being dramatic with this statement. Huntokar isn’t saying this to mean “you’re dead and you just don’t know it yet,” though that is certainly the implication since their fate seems sealed. No. What she is truly saying is that they are SHATTERED. They are already destroyed because they are shattered, their reality broken. And they don’t know it because they have been living in this fractured reality for so long, and because they are in denial about it. Huntokar states, “For a while I believed we could go on like this. We only put our heads down and insisted on living without looking at or considered the world around us we could just keep moving. And the main thing was to… keep moving. Denial was key. As long as we denied then nothing was wrong” (109). 

“Nightvale was not a place with any distinction to anyone in the world, except for me” (109). NIGHTVALE WAS NORMAL! It was a normal town; it had no distinction from anywhere else in the world before Huntokar shattered it. This was mind blowing to me. I had always thought of this town as “cursed” and that they were simply used to these abnormal things. But that is not the case. They have simply adapted to a shattered reality, using denial and God knows what other coping methods. “Now in this destroyed world I am forgotten. Still, they have bloodstones and still they worship but… never does anyone ask ‘What is being worshipped in those circles?’” (109). They forget things, they are in denial about things. They don’t question, because questioning might literally ruin them. 

If you need further proof that the people of Nightvale simply adapted to their shattered reality, look at Carlos. Carlos came from a normal reality to Nightvale In the beginning of the show he is weirded out by things that are normal to the others, such as the clocks. “… that clocks in Nightvale are not real. I have not found a single real clock. I have dissembled several watches and clocks this week and all of them are hollow inside” (16). He freaks out a little about this, as well as other things. But as the show progresses he somehow becomes OKAY with these things and also seems to perceive them as normal. But back to the main point. 

Everything weird that has ever happened in Nightvale is Huntokar’s fault. The time traveler from the future (in episode 18), Desert Bluffs, the dragons, Earl Harlin not remembering having a son, and literally EVERYTHING ELSE. But I’ll go more into that later.

“And it was, I suppose, in the moment that I first felt love for my creation that the fuse for the unraveling of all things was lit. Although it would not happen for many centuries, with the very inception of my greatest satisfaction and happiness, this tragedy became inevitable” (109). Again, she is not being dramatic. If she hadn’t felt love for Nightvale she would have had no desire to save it, and therefore wouldn’t have accidentally shattered its reality. 

“What happened next was a horrible cracking noise, a noise like I had never heard before, like NO ONE had ever heard before because this particular thing had never been broken. Not in the history of all possible histories. When I tried to lift Nightvale out of the world it belonged in, I shattered reality. And I didn’t shatter reality just in my Nightvale but in all Nightvales. All Nightvales that were, or could be, every possible Nightvale in every possible universe broke simultaneously and fell into each other” (109). Fuck me. This just… This just got me. I can practically see the way she tried to pluck Nightvale up out of reality, like trying to pick up one piece of glass from the middle of a mirror, and the domino effect it created. The shattering, the cracking, of every other reality and the way they collapsed on one another for support. Like a house falling down and barely managing to still stand. 

“There was a Nightvale is which there was no Huntokar… and this town should have been safe from me… but then all of the other Nightvales fell into it. And it too was destroyed by my action” (109).

“And in my moment of foolish hope… In my belief that I could save anything… I reached out my clumsy hand… and destroyed them all” (109). 

2. Nightvale was going to end, and may very well be about to end again

“I looked up into the sky as the people around me wept and said goodbye to each other. And I saw something else… A planet of awesome size lit by no sun, an invisible titan all thick black forests and jagged mountains and deep turbulent oceans. It hung so close that it filled the entire sky” (109). The dark planet has been well established as a sign of impending death, such as in episode 45 (A Story About Them). Therefore death was coming to Nightvale. If Huntokar had not done what she did they would be dead. 

“But… my efforts end here. The world is finally falling apart piece by piece and… I stand by. All the powers of my thousands of years and… I can only watch it fall” (109). Huntokar has stopped trying and now she sees the planet (the sign of death) once again. This could spell the end of Nightvale, all Nightvales.

“Even as I speak I look up into the sky and see that dark planet of awesome size perched in its sunless void. An invisible titan, all thick black forests and jagged mountains and deep turbulent oceans. It’s so close now. I can see it just above me. Maybe even if I tried very hard I could touch it” (109).

3. The Gods aren’t all powerful, and they don’t have to be nice

“I’ve spent every moment since my mistake trying to put back together what I took apart but… It is beyond me” (109). Even as a self-proclaimed God Huntokar is NOT all powerful. None of the “Gods” are. 

“Each of us in those early days chose our domains …. We could each of us do whatever we wanted in the places that we chose” (109). This is genius because it implies that once a God chose a domain that limited its ability. The God was more powerful in its chosen domain than elsewhere. Of course some of these domains are rather abstract, such as the distant Prince, but it still shows that the Gods aren’t all powerful and that they have territories. This also explains why Huntokar was able to shatter the reality of Nightvale. Nightvale was her domain, making it somewhat possible for her to mess with it whereas she might not have been able to do that in say New York. 

“The Glow Cloud remembers me but can do no more than flash welcoming colors to say hello. I have no human mind it can control so there is no way for us to speak” (109). They are so limited they can’t even properly communicate! 

“The woman from Italy became fascinated at the pain that could be inflicted on these creatures. The distant Prince began to shape some of them into wounded servants driven wild by what he had done to them. The Glow Cloud controlled the minds of any that got too close. And I… I thought I was the exception. I thought that I would nurture them rather than rule them. I was, of all of us, the only good one” (109). This is fascinating from a philosophical point of view. It begs the question, what if God(s) exist that are cruel? People naturally want to assume that a powerful, infinite being would want to love and protect us. It asks the question, what if that isn’t the case?

4. Examples of Nightvales shattered realities overlapping

“Some versions of the town fell completely into other versions, becoming folded int their reality in unexpected combinations. Others merely opened borders with my original Nightvale, doorways through which travel was possible.. but not advisable” (109). Episode 105 (What Happened at the Smithwick House),  Episode 99 (Michigan), Episode 107 (The Missing Sky) and Episode 108 (Cal) are just some examples of the realities overlapping of having borders. The blood space war could very well possibly be the result of another reality. 

“There is a Cecil who would not listen. There is a Cecil who listened, but could not comprehend. There is a Cecil who did his upmost but who failed. There is a Cecil who was gone long before I came” (109). While this seems like an obvious point to make, seeing as how anyone who has listened to the other episodes knows well enough by now there are multiple Cecils. There is the young Cecil, who interns at the radio station. There is the Cecil in the tiny civilization under lane 5. There are many Cecils. And yet this is brilliant because it also suggests something else. 

It suggests that Kevin is another version of Cecil. Yes, he has a different name. But they made it clear there were strong parallels between the characters. They look the same for crying out loud. Rather than Desert Bluffs being a “sister city” Desert Bluffs IS a version of Nightvale. Most likely is was a version that was taken over by the “Smiling God” and being of the shattering has overlapped with our Nightvales reality. 

5. Other stuff/ Philosophical points

“They faced across the water, squabbling over misunderstood ideas and announcing in louder and louder voices that they were prepared to end their species history over a point of pride. Some of the Gods encouraged it, enjoying chaos and fear as entertainment” (109). I just liked everything about this. I think it speaks deeply to our current world state. “The power of a fearful thought” (109).

“The important thing wasn’t a life worth living. The important thing was just a life that continued” (109). Again, I think this speaks to our culture. People are so accustomed to surviving that we ignore things like mental illness (depression, etc.). We, as a culture, don’t value making life worth living. You could argue we have lots of entertainment, in fact the American culture revolves around entertainment, but entertainment is not the same as joy nor does it guarantee a happy life or a life worth living, a life of fulfillment. But we push that aside, and do jobs we don’t like to earn money so that we can buy things and watch things and act happy.

“Nightvale is shattered, but for now is still here. Time is startlingly persistent in that way. Even badly wounded it moves” (109).

“They see glowing arrows in the sky, dotted lines and circles and they think nothing of them! Air traffic… space debris… weird birds… They do not, can not, will not read the messages from their God” (109). This is fascinating for several reasons. First of all, Steve Carlsburg can in fact see and read these messages but still does not understand where they are coming from. Additionally, I found this point to be amazing because it poses the idea that we as human beings might not be seeing something right in front of us. This has been pointed out a few times, such as in the movie Sausage Party, it makes us wonder if there is another reality right in front of our faces that we cannot see. Perhaps we have even chosen to ignore it. Goodness knows if anyone claimed to see something different from the rest of society they would be considered crazy, such as Steve Carlsburg would be if he brought it up. 

“This story may do you no good. But a story is never for the listener. It is always for the one who tells” (109). 


so do i have this correct

the alternate night vale actually exists in the same universe as our night vale, except they’re just the tiny city in the desert flower bowling alley and arcade fun complex?

OR does the tiny city that exists under the desert flower bowling alley and arcade fun complex exist in a reality of its own?


Welcome to Night Vale was the first podcast I ever listened to. By now I’m a certified resident of Podcast Hell ™ and I’m often consumed by other podcasts.  WTNV is not the most outrageous or obsessive of my many podcasts. I don’t often post about it. Sometimes it fades to the background among the safe houses and aliens and rabbit discourse. But on the 1st and 15th of every month I always feel so happy to hear Cecil’s familiar voice and that music and those specific Night Vale things. John Peters, you know, the farmer. Carlos the Scientist. Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. Goodnight, Night Vale, goodnight. It’s a very particular comforting weirdness that just feels like home, ya know? 

WTNV - Ep 99 - Michigan


2. Cecil remarked that Intern Kareem’s birthmark looks like what kind of animal?

3. On which hand is Intern Kareem’s birthmark?

9. The reply Intern Kareem received back from his family contained what word in all capital letters?

10. Old Woman Josie returned to this kind of league night at the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex on Tuesday.

11. Since the incorporation of this town the Night Vale School District has many more students. (2 words)

14. The Glow Cloud called for an increase in what kind of funding?

15. The shift manager at the grocery store, Charlie Bear, lit a cigarette with his what?

16. Hadassah McDaniels dug a cave for the dragons underneath what grocery store?

17. Charlie Bear claimed that since the dragons moved in the whole store smells like what vegetable?

18. Sheriff Sam fired a pistol into what dragon-shaped object?

19. Josie said that the Erikas were what?


1. What kind of vacation did the City Council (minus Tamika Flynn) going on?

4. In her first letter, Intern Kareem’s mother, Aisha, claimed that Intern Kareem was one of these.

5. What color eyes does Intern Kareem have?

6. What section of the grocery store had been ruined by the dragons?

7. Cecil explained to Kareem that the maximum time allotted for the weather is how many minutes?

8. What sport did Intern Kareem’s father, Rahim, ask him if he wanted to go see?

9. Cecil admitted that radio is not what kind of business?

12. After the influx of dragon children, Night Vale schools desperately need what service?

13. When the opposing team at league night accused Josie of cheating they were promptly what?

A so-called angel said in a statement, “I have donated a coffee table made of human bones to charity, and will use the money I save on taxes to invest in the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex because angels, if we were real, would certainly love to bowl. Or whatever,” the creature added.

Welcome to Night Vale

Episode 52 - The Retirement of Pamela Winchell

Does Carlos have some sort of weird commitment issues?

Because he only seems to confess affection in times of crisis. 

He gets attacked by a civilization living in lane five of the desert flower bowling alley and arcade fun complex and he asks Cecil out on a date.

He nearly gets absorbed into some sort of demonic condo and he tells Cecil that he wants to live with him.

He gets trapped in another dimension and tells Cecil he loves him.

Dear god what’s gonna happen if he decides to propose?

Night Vale theory:

Carlos will remain trapped in the desert as his presence in time and space slowly becomes fuzzy and fades away. Perhaps there will be an incident that detaches him from space and time. However it happens, he will be somehow sent back to Night Vale, only in the past.

However, anyone who sees his face in the past will forget it, since it would cause a time paradox. And although he keeps trying to get back to the present Night Vale, any time he tries to say where he’s trying to get back to, they would also forget it since that would also cause a time paradox.

So, detached from everything, he decides to save the town behind the scenes. He warns people about the tiny civilization in Lane 5 of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. He convinces Pamela Winchell to step down so Dana can become mayor. He tells the angels that Strexcorp is coming so they can make preparations. All the while, no one can see his face or remember his name.

Things will continue this way until Carlos catches up with himself in time. Maybe the past him knows that the end is coming, and he calls Cecil one last time, unsure of what will happen to him. Cecil is distraught, thinking that he will never see Carlos again. He goes to the weather as Carlos fades from time.

And after the weather, after time has caught up, Carlos appears at the radio station with a tan jacket, a deerskin suitcase, a big smile on his face, and a lot of stories to tell.

EDIT: I just realized that this is also consistent with the Man in the Tan Jacket’s cryptic pamphlets that say “It is too late to be early, but it is not too late to be on time.” He is clearly some sort of time traveler.

And the civilization of tiny people living below Lane 5 of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, well, they did something. I’m not terribly sure, but, you know, ‘cause they’re too tiny to be noticed amid all the action.

Which is to say, Strex has retreated!


Cecil Palmer

Welcome to Night Vale

Episode 49 - Old Oak Doors - Part B

i really hope WTNV throws in some slight offhand mocking of dashcon in a future episode

“Several bowlers were injured this afternoon during a skirmish in the ongoing war with the underground city under lane five in the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. Bowlers came under heavy artillery fire, and suffered first and second degree burns from their feet to their knees. The owner, Teddy Williams, who has been unable to insure the building due to the actuarial concerns inherent in assessing the risk of a public business operating in a warzone, was unable to pay for the bowlers’ hospital stays. Instead, bowlers were compensated with an extra hour in the ball pit.”

Welcome to Night Vale - Episode 1 - Pilot


2. Color of the Sheriff’s Secret Police helicopters

6. Old Woman Josie’s corn muffins lacked this

9. The City Council announced the opening of a new ___ ___ (2 words)

10. One of the houses in the new development of Desert Creek doesn’t actually ___

11. Night Vale Elementary school basketball team

12. Perfect and beautiful scientist

14. Cecil thinks the best way to die is to be swallowed by a ___  ___ (2 words)

15. Watch out for these on the highway and do not set your speed limit by them


1. Local Night Vale pizzeria

3. The entrance to this was discovered in the pin retrieval area of Lane 5

4. Color of the World Government helicopters

5. NRA bumper sticker, “We are all invincible to ___ and it’s a miracle.”

7. Owner of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex

8. The Night Vale Harbor and Waterfront Recreation Area lacks this

13. Desert Bluffs elementary school basketball team