PEGBRJE: The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place and Parsnip

Heavy Symbolism and ‘Light’ Fun

Oh dear, time hasn’t been nice to them.

The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place is a harrowing visual narrative created by Studio Oleomingus, a duo indie design studio that is based in India. Players witness this tale as a ‘building eater’, an occupation in which we as players, well, eat buildings. What follows is a visually stunning affair wrapped within a poem of explanation and sorrow as we continue our mission.

As explained, players will be given a number from a TV that corresponds to a block on the building, to which they are then commanded to eat. Blocks that are eaten out of order give the player ‘food poisoning’, so following instructions is paramount. Finding the correct block can be a tad tricky, so there is a guide (activated by right click) to help give a direction. Upon finding the right block, it is eaten slowly and methodically without the player’s control, rotating around with each bite before it has been consumed. It is then that another piece of the poem is revealed.

As one might expect, the interactivity is not necessarily the focal point of this journey, but instead a vehicle to allow us as players to witness the visual symbolism that is given for the poem itself. It details a series of letters to a family member by one who has been recruited as a building eater, lamenting on the act itself yet powerless to struggle against it due to how the job is keeping them afloat. They muse about many aspects of the position, from questioning the building’s purpose to what may be lost in the process and what it may have been before it was slotted for removal, to the inevitable feeling of unending emptiness that cannot be filled by the position as the hunger cannot be abated. Of course, I’m being somewhat vague as this is a title that needs to be played first hand to fully experience the narrative significance first hand, but for those that wish to know more see below.

It came as no surprise to me that this was a narrative about the horrors and repercussions of colonialism and its following effects from decolonization, postcolonization and neocolonization. It’s a topic that has been discussed much by those that have descended from those nations that colonized, such as myself hilariously enough (Caucasian descended from British and Dutch migrants to Canada), so my words may appear somewhat hollow regardless of my past studying of the subject. Nevertheless, to hear the effects from those that have witnessed and experienced it first hand will always be the best source, and The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place is a tale of postcolonialization of the people within India and the surrounding regions by their own people.

The poem details the great lengths that these building eaters go to utterly destroy that which has preceded them, consuming them with voracity that cannot be matched with a complete lack of care for the history and culture that the buildings may contain. The poet laments their knowledge of these events, knowing that they are fully at fault for the destruction of buildings and locations that they themselves have relations and people they care for within, yet know they are unable to halt it due to their compliance. It’s a necessity for them to assist, for it helps them survive; yet by doing so, they are destroying everything around them. It is only when coming to the chilling conclusion of the possibility that a graveyard may need to be eaten, the remains of their people destroyed in the conquest, that the full effects of the practice weigh upon both the reader and the poet, who knows full well that if they are asked to consume a graveyard that it will be a test of how numb they’ve become.

As one can surmise, the true horror is that this consumption of buildings is not done by a foreign power, but by those that reside within the country and consider them their people; remnants of the colonizer’s ideology of consumption and destruction are all that remain, but that is enough to spur those who wish to acquire that power in to action. Many who are caught up in the events are simply unable to fight against the system due to the gutting of their nation, relying on these actions as employment while being possibly aware of the destruction. Of course, this is all a fictitious poem by a fictitious poet, but that doesn’t make the emotional weight that it carries any less real. If you want to know more, linked below is an article with snippets of interview answers by the studio that can shed more light on this.

Regardless, The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place conveys the true spirit of a complete and total destruction of history through the lens of the consumer, and what effect it can have on those around. If you have 20 minutes to witness it, do.

Just gotta get me some honey and this cake will be done soon! What fun.

Parsnip is a point and click narrative adventure created by Bun & Birb with Digital Poppy, whom some may remember for their work on ‘The Testimony of Trixie Glimmer Smith’ — turns out this is that illustrious prequel that I somehow forgot about, buried deeper in the bundle than I expected. Nevertheless, what truths shall I uncover with Parsnip, a lovable bunny rabbit that just wants to make a cake for his breakfast?

As Parsnip, players will explore the lane in order to acquire the ingredients necessary to bake the cake. Following the point and click formula, there are items that can be assessed with dialogue from Parsnip, along with actions that can be taken such as talking with other friends that live on the street or acquiring items that are able to be taken. Any and all items acquired are placed within Parsnip’s bag, which can then be utilized by trading with others or combining together to create a new item. Everything is done with the mouse, no keyboard inputs are actually necessary to explore and interact with the world that has been created.

Now, for those that have yet to play the other titles by Poppy, there might be something slightly off about the entire ordeal. Perhaps it is Parsnip’s sickeningly sweet naivety as he skips down the lane, broken up only by dialogue that makes little sense. Maybe it is how none of the characters willingly talk to him as ‘friends’ yet they are all addressed as friends by Parsnip. Or maybe it’s the house that hums and cues up horror ambience. Who knows what may have been the tip off, but it becomes quite clear that the world masks something sinister within, something that Parsnip is unable to comprehend; or worse, is an unknowing participant that willingly assists due to his lack of comprehension. There’s constant bits of dialogue that suggest that he has done things in the past, and certain events that occur throughout the title will suggest that there is more to Parsnip that extends well past well meaning cuteness in to uncanny valley sweetness. Nevertheless, the adventure continues onward with little to no direct indicator of these events, and those curious are left pondering.

It’s not a long adventure, but Parsnip definitely sets the cute yet eery tone quite quickly, continuing onward to its abrupt climax. Those that have played the other titles know of the otherworldly horror that exists within this world, and will find that while this title doesn’t give much context to the later titles it does feature some characters that will appear. If you are looking for a simple adventure for character development, this might not be that much in the development section, but it will definitely spook you up for October.

Linker

Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.