Friday, May 15, 2009

Dear Esther

I came across this over at Rock Paper Shotgun. It's a brilliant little piece about a brilliant little mod called Dear Esther. I highly recommend you take a look at it.

This is the sort of thing I was hoping to do with games at some point. It isn't exciting or fun, it doesn't break any new ground in game mechanics. It's more like interactive poetry, telling the tragic tale of a man who has lost/is losing his mind, as economically as possible. It hints and suggests at the outlines of the subject rather than coming out and revealing it.

It's really something that I don't think could have been done in any other medium, and that really says something for interactive media. Most of the games we get are the equivalent of summer blockbusters, little more than actionpacked thrill rides. In order the for games to be taken seriously we are going to need more games like this one.

The only thing I wonder about is control scheme. There were a few spots where I struggled with the terrain. I wonder if someone who hasn't been playing fps games since the mid 90's would find this unnavigable. Anyone can sit down and appreciate a movie, or a piece of music, or a painting, but games require at least a little bit of skill in order to experience. I often wonder if navigating a virtual world using WASD is going to become a skill that everyone has, or if we are gong to need to develop some more standard control scheme.

Anyway, it was a well spent hour, give it a go.

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