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A good idea

Hm. So. I bought Dear Esther last night, which is an Indie game.

Actually, I would dispute calling it a game. You don’t really interact with stuff. You wander around a surreal landscape at will while a narrator (who is presumably you) randomly declaims fragments of a story. That’s potentially a cool ride, but it’s not a game.

I “finished” it tonight — that is, I reached the end scenario, though I haven’t seen all the content. If you watch the trailer at the link, you’ll pretty much have the whole experience, right there.

Dear Esther started life in 2007 at the University of Portsmouth as a free mod, using the Source game engine (Half Life 2). They decided to develop a commercial version, which was released on February 14 of this year. They cleverly charged a pittance (well, £7), and — much to their surprise — made their investment back in six hours.

So. Well. It was kind of like watching many indie films (something I did a lot of in my yoot). It was pretty to look at. Evocative. But after a while, you figured out that nothing was going to happen, nothing was going to be resolved, and they weren’t really ever going to tell you anything. If you like that kind of movie, you’ll love this.

Anyhow, I do hope they keep developing off-beat stuff like this. I think it could be a spectacular experience, with a bit less hippie and a bit more…meat.


Comment from Nina
Time: February 22, 2012, 11:56 pm

I have always detested those sorts of “games,” because I can almost never figure out what you’re supposed to do whenever you get to a place. Open the box? Look into the mirror? Kill the snake or befriend it? No matter what I do I end up messily dying, and that’s no fun. 🙂

Comment from Mono The Elder
Time: February 23, 2012, 12:06 am

Yep, I can understand games like ARMA 2 Find the other guys before they find you and “Deal” with them. Walking around on an island without much else to do? Not my cup ‘o proverbial tea.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: February 23, 2012, 12:21 am

Back in the Day“….as the saying goes, there were two interesting, and kinda creepy games that required some grey matter machinations. MYST and RIVEN. They were played by reading the a book containing the story line and following the clues through eerily empty, well crafted landscapes, to arrive at multiple dead ends or the next clue, -OR- only to find it was the right one at the wrong place, wrong time…or ya’ had to be standing on your head at the first full moon of Autumn or some such shite.


I was thoroughly enthralled….drove the wife unit crazy.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 23, 2012, 12:25 am

This made me think of Myst and Riven. Neither of which I played, but I watched over someone’s shoulder. They were Mac only at first, weren’t they? Myst, at least?

Superb graphics for the time.

Thing is, this was a very beautiful landscape…but Skyrim was just as beautiful, a thousand times larger, and it had about a hundred plot lines. Plus, you got to smite shit.

Comment from Nina
Time: February 23, 2012, 1:02 am

I remember when my sons first got Myst and stayed up for about two days straight playing it. Then they hacked the disk and played around with the videos for a while to see what they might have missed. They did the same with Riven, and I’d watch and ask “how did you know to DO that?!”

They just shook their heads at me then, and still do now, although for different reasons (Mom is so provincial, while they’re sophisticated Oslo/Hong Kong residents who travel and eat at Chez Pannise and drink expensive wine with dinner).

Comment from mojo
Time: February 23, 2012, 3:42 am

“You are in a series of twisty tunnels, all alike.”

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: February 23, 2012, 3:43 am

nothing was going to happen, nothing was going to be resolved, and they weren’t really ever going to tell you anything

Hm. Sounds like real life, except for that first one. . . and even that is true for a remarkably high percentage of the time, depending on how one defines “something happens.” Yeah, OK, I’m not a gamesplayer (in spades!) but I do get that “resembling real life” is not necessarily a GOOD thing where games are concerned.

Comment from Mike James
Time: February 23, 2012, 7:01 pm

“…with a bit less hippie and a bit more…meat.”

Firearms. Firearms make any video game fun!

Comment from Mitchell TAFKAEY
Time: February 23, 2012, 11:46 pm

lol at mojo.

“You have moved to a dark place. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”

Comment from Sockless Joe
Time: February 26, 2012, 8:35 pm

Pretty sure Myst was Mac-first. If I recall correctly, it was prototyped on HyperCard, which was actually a nifty little tool.

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: February 27, 2012, 3:04 pm

Yeah – add some firearms, things that go boom and some nasty wildlife….that would spice it up a bit!! Otherwise, it sounds pretty boring.

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