Renaud van Strydonck

Renaud van Strydonck

Portrait of a Game [ Designer / Developer ]

the Blue City

What god do you pursue in cities?
Do you see him, briefly, from inside a moving tram?

There – is that his name, those spray paint letters?
Is that him, broken, crazy, speaking tongues?

There, is that him? Can you demonstrate?
Can you mouth or call his unsaid name?
– Robert Archambeau, Citation Suite

It seems remiss of me to write about Game Design at the Vancouver Film School without saying something about Vancouver, so here it is:

You know when Jared A Sorensen describes the Blue City in Lacuna Part 1: the Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City (second attempt)? [1]

No?  Well, that’s Vancouver.  Or at least, it’s Jared’s game that I think of, when I walk through Vancouver.

It’s a beautiful city, filled with nonsensical activity…

It’s like moving to Hamburg all over again: familiar-looking people, performing familiar-looking tasks, and none of it makes any kind of sense.  Everything is steeped in such a fog of otherness that I keep getting thrown off-beat by the most mundane things.

I always smiled, when my various American acquaintances gawped at Europe’s big old buildings, but now I feel almost as if I know what they mean:
Everything has a certain purity, here, it all still feels so young and fresh and new, as if 200 years of urban history were not enough to lend these stones a little gravity.

It’s hard not to look like a tourist, everything seems to be built out of “up.”  Beautiful, art-deco up-ness suffuses every street and avenue.  I wander around with my nose in the air.

The air here is fresh off the ocean, almost palpably so, and the ever-present silhouette of Grouse Mountain provides you with a geological compass point.

There, right there, that’s North.

I finally got around to taking a few photos, recently, so here you are: This is Vancouver so far.  You’re missing Grouse Mountain and the Ocean and about a thousand-and-one other things, but it’s a start…

…right?

[1] an incredible little experimental RPG title by Memento-Mori.

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