Watery stories in Second Life

Mizu: A rainy story
Mizu: A Rainy Story

Open now through until July 7th is an interactive story book called Mizu: A Rainy Story, which takes place in the region of Papillon. I was led there after reading Honour’s post on the subject.

The story is a curious mix, the title of which actually gives little away, although I suspect that for “rainy” you could read “watery”, which would be more in keeping with the theme and matches the use of Mizu, one of the five godai of Japanese Buddhism, and associated with water.

Mizu: A Rainy Story
Mizu: A Rainy Story

Things don’t get up off to a good start – as you quickly discover that in your clumsiness, you’ve broken a family heirloom: a multi-hued stone. This sets you on a journey through time, witnessing events which – I’m guessing – form a secret history for your family. Water certainly plays a significant role in matters through the unfolding tale, make no mistake; but to follow the narrative, umbrellas are certainly not required!

To play, you’ll need the free HUD which can be obtained from the wall bordering the landing point – Japanese and English language versions are available – and wear it. It will request that you allow it permission to act on your avatar (predominantly teleports and camera control). It’s important that you both wear the HUD and give permission prior to actually going any further and entering the story, otherwise things may not work.

Once you are wearing the HUD, make sure you find your way to the little movie theatre and take a seat. The story commences every 5 minutes, so the wait shouldn’t be too long. If you’re sharing the experience with a friend or two, make sure you all sit in the same coloured seats so you can travel through the story together.

Mizu: A Rainy Story
Mizu: A Rainy Story

When the film starts, you’ll find yourself transported to a small room, the aforementioned broken stone lying on the table. Here, as in the rest of the story, touching things is the key – and having a little patience; not everything is quite as it seems, and sometimes things have to be touched in a specific order.

Click on the right things and the HUD will open and proceed to tell you a part of the story and / or give you directions on what to do next, and will also transport you to the next location in the unfolding tale as and when appropriate.

Mizu: A rainy story
Mizu: A rainy story

I’m not going to give any more of the plot away, as it is one best discovered through participation.

What I will say is that it is rather unusual in content and thrust, and possibly not what you might be expecting as it unfolds. In this, perhaps the use of “Mizu” is a reflection of the flow of the story: its changing nature and our need to adapt to it as it unfolds, just as the river and plant adapt to their environment and the changing of the Sun within the philosophy of the godai.

However you look at it Mizu: A Rainy Story is an interesting presentation, offering something just that little bit different to visitors. And if you feel in need of a little retail therapy after travelling through it, there’s a little street market (see in the topmost images of this article) to be found either through the tunnel next the the story landing point, or once you have completed your journey.

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