I’m never one to pass up a good pun so this year I created, just for you, a Christmas card from The Grazing Elk.
Recently I went to Hong Kong, to see my sister, have a family holiday, and explore the place The Grazing Elk was half-based in for 6 months.
It was an amazing place, full of contrasts. The thing which stuck me the most was the dilapidated look of some of the buildings in contrast with glossy financial district gold and silver towers. My dad, an architect, explained that the humidity made paint peel and become mouldy easily, and the airconditioning units were all on the outside and dripping the whole time too.
We were there at a time when there was a typhoon in the area, so the heat was offset by tropical rain, there were clouds every day, and occasional heavy rain and wind.
It was Golden Week so we were competing with Chinese tourists for many of the big attractions but in other places it was relatively quiet. My favourite place we visited was the PMQ, where many small designer shops were – handmade things like bags, furniture, clothes and other wonderful design things.
This photo of the round window was taken from within that area looking out.
The colours of Hong Kong, at least to me, were white and green. The sky was white, as was the shade of most of the buildings. Those photos above were colour-boosted a bit – it really was a very soft, even light on pale surfaces… contrasting with fig trees and lush greenery, which still managed to appear in the city, growing out of walls and buildings, holding up the mountainside.
The design seen was very International-feeling, in terms of graphics and physical creations. I was very happy to see the mix of Asia and Hong Kong with a sort of internationalness, something which was very different to the very concise, closed design of Melbourne – it’s all pastels and gold here as I write.
At first I thought HK wasn’t big on graffiti, but I wasn’t disappointed – there was heaps! And it was super cute.
I found the place so strongly influential in many ways, it’s a little hard to talk about it in a useful way. For the moment, I’ll wrap up with some more photos.
It is only in the second attempt at playing Sunset (by Tale of Tales) that I appreciate it more. Partly this is because it is now running on my computer better and I’m able to move around the place and actually do things. Partly it is because I am interested in what happens now and less frustrated by the lights never staying on next time I come to the house.
Although my liking for turning the lights on makes movement more shuddery, and I combine this with a desire to see things in high resolution graphics on a laptop not entirely designed for games… I’ve found that a few days at a time in-game produces a state of appreciative noticing.
As I wander around the interior and appreciate the furniture and object design as if I am in an art gallery, and imagine the sketches drawn to create the environment, and sit down in places which frame views I would imagine could be concept art, I find myself also doing the same in my actual house, paying attention to things like turning on or off a light, or arranging cushions in a tranquil state.
My movements are smoother than in-game but my thoughts are quite empty until I do a task, like tying the rubbish bag, and walking along the long hallway to the rubbish chute and back. Sunset has inspired a kind of one-mindededness about the tasks, doing things one at a time, with no excess thoughts about anything else.
This meditative calm is something which leads me to appreciate the quality of light in my home, and choose a light to turn on or off for its colour and effect. The lighting in Sunset is as much a character of the game as anyone else, and certainly it is seen more than some of the actual characters. This is why I feel like turning every light on all the time, but since that’s impractical for performance and frustration reasons, I just choose one particular favourite light to turn on each time – the one in the sunken living room.
This is the most neutral lighting I think you see in the game, in the first chapter before you really get into it. Seen as the glowing square area is the sunken living room.
This time, playing the game I felt less pressure to rush around doing things and so sat down and inadvertently started a diary, written by Angela. Now, I seek out the diary writing chair, which so far seems to move about a bit, to continue hearing and seeing her thoughts as she writes them.
I have only just restarted my playing of Sunset but I am happy to take the time it takes this time round, to have a more in-depth conversation with its beautiful furnishings and characters.