Tokyo Street Subway Entrance – click any image for full size
At the start of September 2018 we visited Tokyo Street Subway Entrance, created by Paradox Ivory under her Dox brand (you can read about a past region design of hers here). It’s taken a little while to get around to writing about it, simply because immediately after our visit, I didn’t have the opportunity to hop back for photos – so apologies to Paradox for the delay in blogging.
As the name suggests, the scene is built around a street in Tokyo – one in which the old and the modern combine in what is very much an aural as well as visually immersive setting – one that absolutely must be visited with local sounds enabled (and perhaps played through headphones – just don’t have the volume set too high!).
Visits commence in a busy subway entrance. PA music pays in advance of trains arriving somewhere further within the station, echoing down tiled halls, the voice of an announcer chasing after the ping-pong tones, even as the rumbling hum of the electric trains adds a basso chorus to the cacophony filling the air. Anyone who has ever commuted on the subway of any major city during rush hour will instantly recognise the noises.
Turnstiles and a sign point the way up to ground level, where a surprise awaits. Rather than exiting onto the hustle and bustle of a busy city thoroughfare, the steps lead up to a narrow side street, more of a service road than anything, that terminates at the subway entrance. The majority of the building are between one and three storeys in height, surrounded further out by low-rise apartments, all of which suggests an older part of town. However, the sound of passing traffic weighs heavily in the air, suggesting a busier road is not too great a distance away – perhaps located on the other side of the tunnel at the far end of the street.
This isn’t the only street here, however. Running parallel with it are two more, each narrow enough to almost be classified alleyways. These are connected to the main street by covered and open walkways, which combine with them to offer multiple paths of exploration.
When walking them, care is strongly recommended; not because of anything untoward lurking, but because there is far more to see indoors and out, on the “ground” level and up assorted steps, than might appear to be the case. From cafés and snack shops to a little cinema and a roof-top baseball practice area, these streets and alleys present a lot to keep the local residents active and entertained. The detail poured into the scene is stunning; from the street signs to the little gardens and the wandering cats; the ambient sounds, the details tucked away inside some of the buildings…
Wander far enough, and you’ll find your way to a little shrine, passing typical aspects from a modern Japanese setting along the way. Further depth to the scene is added by entrances and stairways which, although they might not ultimately go anywhere, still give an extra feel that this is very much a place where people live and work. Travel far enough along the narrower roads and alleys, and you might find tennis courts Surrounded by little 2-storey apartment blocks that look as if they might have drawn their inspiration from American roadside motels.
By default, the scene is set under a night-time windlight, something that enhances the distant, haunting hooting of train horns, the scene also works under daylight and evening environment setting particularly well – as I hope some of the images here demonstrate.
“Vibrant” is a word that can frequently be used to describe a region, parcel or scene within Second Life; but usually when employed, it is to define the overall visual effect that has been achieved. With Tokyo Street Subway Entrance, however, the word takes on its fullest meaning: the setting is alive with the pulse of life wherever you go, sight and sounds working together to present something almost tangible while walking the street, alleys and passages.
Engaging, detailed, beautifully modelled and presented Tokyo Street Subway Entrance packs a huge amount into itself, making a visit – for those who take the time to look down alleys, peek behind doors (not all of them are façades!) and avoid rushing things, it makes for a rewarding visit.
- Tokyo Street Subway Entrance (Dox, Rated: Moderate)