Lost Paradise

The Paradise of CyberPolis
The Paradise of CyberPolis

Currently open to explore, although the official opening doesn’t take place until Sunday, March 15th, is The Paradise of CyberPolis, by Asmita Duranjaya and Sable (snakeappletree) at LEA 12. It is billed as a “a grey-scaled story and game-based art installation”, and comes with a narrative storyline visitors are asked to follow whilst exploring the installation, solving clues, with the explanatory notes reading:

Crash-landing on an urban planetary system …

A researcher is slowly awaking from unconsciousness, starting to explore the environment of an ancient, abandoned cyber-city and to solve its mysteries. Seven letters need be found to experience the last surprising solution.

The Paradise of CyberPolis
The Paradise of CyberPolis

The starting point is the researcher’s crashed aircraft, complete with unconscious space-suited researcher. A HUD is also offered, and you’ll need this in order to unlock (literally) the mysteries and make your way to the surprising solution.

The HUD actually takes the form of a journal (available in English or German), written by the researcher, describing their initial examinations of this world and the discoveries made. Your task is to follow the clues in the book, re-trace the researcher’s  footsteps and learn all that they have learned, and in the process find the seven letters mentioned in the introduction. Four of these will be required to unlock the gates of the cyber-city proper (your initial investigations taking place outside of the city’s core), while all seven are needed to unlock the final secret.

The Paradise of CyberPolis
The Paradise of CyberPollis

Along the way you’ll encounter a curious environment with mixed influences from the worlds anime, cyberpunk and dystopian sci-fi, in a story with something of a spiritual slant. Most of the landscape is a muted greys and whites, but there are splashes of colour scattered throughout, which form visual cues to places you might want to investigate more closely.

As a game, the idea almost works; you read the book, you riddle the clues, you uncover the required letters. But there is a problem. Of the seven letters to be discovered, only three actually require you investigate the city due to them requiring direct interaction with in-world objects to properly identify the letters in question; the other four can be discovered just by reading the book. Thus, it is possible for some of the visual context of the story to be lost as one simply reads ahead, identifies the letters and goes directly to things like opening the gates of the inner city; and sad to say, I’m not sure that much would be lost from the experience in doing so.

The Paradise of CyberPolis
The Paradise of CyberPolis

The build itself, while interesting to explore, bears a strong resonance to the NeoCyberCity both artists recently built at Asmita’s own Space4Art / Port Lyndus region (indeed, the two builds appear to share many common elements). As such, it’s actually quite hard to determine why there was a need to utilise an LEA region to produce this particular piece, rather than incorporate it into a pre-existing and similarly themed environment already operating.

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