Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dear Esther: Are you a game?

I recently found myself in a defensive posture when I posted my thoughts about Dear Esther on Facebook. I announced to the world, "This game is absolutely brilliant", to which the world responded: It isn't a game.

I have a nasty habit of quickly defending my position, so naturally I looked up the definition of "game".

  • Merriam Webster: activity engaged in for diversion or amusement 
  • Wikipedia: A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool.
  • Urban Dictionary: means ghetto attitude manipulative environment. as told to my freind (sic) by a straight up pimp on an airplane... referring to someones skills with the hoes.

But oddly enough, once I confirmed (as I often can) that the world was wrong; I began to agree with the assertion that indeed, Dear Esther is not a game. In fact it is not. It is much more.

If you haven't heard of or "played" Dear Esther, please watch this trailer before continuing:

If you aren't covered in goosebumps, please close your browser and resume playing Gears of War 3.

Look, I love games. Even violent, competitive FPS's. But I also love art. And that's what Dear Esther is. Interactive, digital artwork. And by my standards, it's nearly flawless in every way.

  • The voice acting by Nigel Carrington is far beyond what you'll find in the finest, modern AAA titles.
  • The musical score by Jessica Curry is absolutely moving.
  • The story by Dan Pinchbeck is open to interpretation, but completely profound.
  • The artwork and level design by Ben Andrews and Robert Briscoe is simply beautiful.
If you require a de facto standard 10-hour, monster-slaying journey; please look elsewhere. But if you don't mind a slower paced, shorter- yet more moving journey; pony up the 10 bucks and get ready to experience something special.

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