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What is Dear Esther?

February 28th, 2012 by

With a degree of sarcasm and a touch of cynicism I loaded up the hallowed ‘Dear Esther’ for a walk-through.

Dear Esther started life in 2008 as a Half Life 2 mod, which gained such popularity that Valve endorsed the reuse of the source engine to enhance it, culminating in its release a few weeks ago.

I thought that I may as well hit the record button while playing as I had heard it was not a lengthy piece of content (especially when considering it is a £6.99 purchase from Steam.

The intention was to be my usual sarcastic self through a notoriously serious art-piece of a game. I don’t really have many intense moments in my life where I connect with something else outside of myself. Even the birth of my two children was littered with wisecracks unfitting of the occasion. It is with a little amazement that I had the experience I did with the game.

This is not a review of the game. In fact, in many ways this is the perfect game to showcase in a Let’s Play. There is no real game here. You interact with the world; you can take any path you like; you can see as much (or as little of the world) as you would like; there are no signposts aside from a structure with a light on top of it in the far distance. You can’t even control when the flashlight turns on. It certainly does some interesting things in trying to shape your experience.

It goes without saying that there are spoilers contained within, but if you take the time to take the journey with me, I suggest a pair of headphones, a dark room and a glass of your favourite alcoholic beverage as accompaniment.

For an hour of your life I’ll save you £7. You can decide if that is good value or not…


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