Itching For More: Grave Apologies
Every Wednesday, even if I have to not watch Lord Of The Rings in order to write this, Itching For More shall be conjured out of nothing. This week, graveyard walking simulator: Grave Apologies
Grave Apologies is a walking simulator by Connor Sherlock (aka Walking Simulator A Month Club). I’ve covered Connor’s work before (specifically Last Visit To The Shard) and yes I know I should try to aim to cover as many creators as possible but Connor’s pieces are excellent and you should definitely pay attention to him.
This evening I am frustrated. I seem to have lost my favourite pen and I forgot about Itching For More until partway through watching Lord Of The Rings with my flatmates. Grumping back into my room I made a new desktop and hurriedly found this, vaguely remembering seeing it on my twitter feed the other day. This is why it so pleasantly surprised me by calming me down by being again, such a good “walking simulator”.
With a very strong Proteus vibe, Grave Apologies features no interaction apart from walking around a graveyard in the daytime, surrounded by mismatched graves and looming buildings. Apart from the occasional Beaver (?) you are the only thing moving in this place, the only one walking around this graveyard, in such a contemplative way that only daytime walks in graveyards serve.
Have you been to a graveyard in both the day and the night?
At nighttime they serve a gothic, frightening purpose, casting shadows and abstract silhouettes, causing the hair on the back of your neck to prick up when you walk too far into one.
In the day, you see it all. Instead of being slightly entertained, you are surrounded by the dead. Surrounded by lost loved ones, the majority of which you have no clue of whom they were and yet you can still feel a connection. Grave Apologies communicates this particularly well, utilising a glitchy soundtrack, tied to a 3D soundscape — different beats and rhythms tied to certain graves as you wander, music fading in and out, growing as you approach certain tombstones, shrinking as you find others.
The looming buildings in the background contrast to the painterly style the rest of Grave Apologies gives off. Towering high up above you, they too are dead, lack of character or substance, instead standing, impartial and immobile, huge gravestones to human culture. When I started Grave Apologies, I went clockwise around the graveyard, observing and watching, taking in the landscape. My favourite part about all of this is that you choose when to finish. You choose when and where you can stop and leave, the experience being open ended. When I had reached my first loop, I wandered up a hill near the wall.
I leapt over the wall.
I reached the other side.
I began to walk amongst the grey buildings, a ghost, flying through them, staring up at them, still unable to climb, expecting something or someone to stop me from being here and return me to simply looking at the gravestones of the dead instead of joining them.
I glimpsed signs of human life within the windows, a busy city street, full of neon colours and objects. I moved towards it, determined to go back, to join the rest. I passed through the wall and out the other side, humanity still unreachable.
As I glided, I reached another wall, immobile. I followed it round, the sun glinting off of the building I floated behind. I walked up to a wall of granite and could not progress any further. I was stuck. I left.
Some walls, you cannot pass.