Friday, 15 May 2009

Cosmology of Kyoto - PC / Mac

"A Visual Mindscape of Old Japan"

Imagine a Google Street Map of 10th century Kyoto imbued with the myths and legends of a millenia old civilization: oblique, obtuse and relentlessly low key: the Cosmology of Kyoto panders only to travellers with an open mind and no sense of direction. After barely a few clicks you will be hopelessly lost in some medieval backwater: riled by daemon folk and obfuscated by existential peasants! The game is rich in genuine history and folklore, encouraging the traveller to learn by participation, the mythology of feudal Japan; or failing that to consult the copious documentation: which acts as your trusty dog-eared Lonely Planet. The ancient Imperial Capital Kyoto (or Heiankyo) and the legendary Heian period are brought to life with unnerving ethereal soundscapes, a litany of wails, yelps and mumbled mantras emanate from dubious side streets and a distinctive graphic style: part traditional, part modern manga depicts scenes of strange depravity, alluring mysticism and quotidian detail.

Times are tough for the peons of Heiankyo...

...and they don't get much better.

Although high in protein the brain is
perhaps not the most sensible of your
own organs to consume initialy?!

This is the future of interaction with the past.

Download from Classic PC Games
Roger Ebert's (yes...old goggle eyes himself) review for Wired
Journal of Early Modern Japan
Event List at GameFAQ's
MobyGames Screenshots

I greatly enjoy this program and have lost much time and gained much erratic knowledge plodding its labyrinthine, hallucinatory pavements: ignoring the witheringly prosaic format offered by most adventure games or edutainment titles; Cosmology of Kyoto successfully simulates the experience of entering an unfamiliar place, time and dimension (ok...not that I'd know). This game can be quite hard to find even for download (there used to be a full version at HoTU), if nothing else works I would try Underground Gamer.

"In my old home
which I forsook, the cherries
are in bloom."

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