In Metroid Prime the world is divided into five major areas. Each one is generally designed to fit some sort of theme independently of each other. The more obvious themes are that of Magmoor Caverns and Phendrana Drifts, representing lava/fire and ice worlds respectively. Chozo Ruins is emblematic of a long lost civilization a la Indiana Jones. Phazon Mines is somewhat more difficult to classify, but it appears as the most sci-fi of the regions with Space Pirate technology strongly integrated into the environment. And then lastly is the Tallon Overworld, a smaller jungle based region that acts as a sort of central hub access to all other places.
Although the world is presented as supposedly diegetic, none of the major areas overlap and are always specifically connected by elevators. Nothing “exists” in the gaps between them, we never get a sense of the whole of the planet Tallon IV. While at first frustrating to categorize in terms of chronotopes, It occurred to me that this explicit designation of separated regions within a world resembled of all things an amusement park.
Consider how Disneyland is designed. It too has major areas based on various themes. Each region is carefully built to take as much space is needed, never spilling into the next so as to not create conflicting impressions/perceptions. Within Disneyland, people usually explore one area, experiencing attractions specific to it, and then choose another to visit. As long as people aren’t tired, the process continues until boredom occurs. This is quite similar to how the operator explores in Metroid Prime, constantly going between regions to progress the game.
Furthermore, the regions are often exaggerated representations of preexisting physical or conceptual themes. Like how Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland exemplify the most blatant aspects of westerns, fantasy, and sci-fi, Metroid Prime also exploits preconceived notions in its areas. Just look at the most obvious ones, Magmoor Caverns drips lava all over the place while Phendrana Drifts constantly barrages you with ice structures and whatnot. Both of these areas are screaming hot and cold respectively.
This also explains the usage of time, or rather the lack thereof. When in Disneyland, the point of being there is to experience attractions and not care about other issues. The specially designed regions aren’t meant to remind you that time is ticking, attractions exist as constants instead of evolving features. It’s easy to lose track of time, to be focused on discovering new things and ignore everything else. We get a similar result in Metroid Prime, that the game has no temporal focus. One simply does not pay attention to the passage of time, rather instead on the passage of space.
To sum it up then, an amusement park chronotope is one that is strongly spatially angled. It is most clearly defined by thematic regions, areas with unique/distinct differences usually exaggerated. Traveling between these regions is frequent, even encouraged to gain the full experience. Time in this regard is always about the present, on what is currently happening. Through this, one gains a sense of the larger world through smaller extreme representations of it.