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Tim Schafer

Dear Esther?

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Hey, any of you guys play Dear Esther?

Is it awesome?

Is it an adventure game?

It's on my list so I'll get to it eventually. But I wanted to know what you thought.

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"Game" is a tricky term for an...interactive experience like Dear Esther.

It's awesome, yes. But it's very..."artsy". It's an introspective experience. Beautiful, for sure.

Worth a play, definitely.

*Squee! I talked to Tim Schafer!*

*Ok, I replied to Tim Schafer.*

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Hmm, sounds something along the lines of Trauma then. Which incidentally I recommend if you've not played it.

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It's not an adventure game. It's not really even a game. At 10$ it's more expensive per-hour entertainment than a movie.

I guess if you know what you're getting into you might appreciate it.

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Along the line of games like Dear Esther - anyone played "The Stanley Parable"?

At 10$ it's more expensive per-hour entertainment than a movie.
That's if you only play through it once, and if you don't stop to take in the scenery too long. (I only played through it twice, to be fair, and I played the original version, which was free, and not quite as gorgeous.)
Incredibly boring game. Glad it was only $10. I need good characters!
I'd love to challenge your perspective on this, but this is the Spoiler-Free Zone!

Did you really not connect with the protagonist?

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Not very much at all to be honest, I need more then one main character and a narrator! If I wanted that kind of game I'd be playing Myst or something. To each his own I suppose.

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Along the line of games like Dear Esther - anyone played "The Stanley Parable"?

I haven't played Dear Esther yet, but I really enjoyed The Stanley Parable and played through it several times. It was a really interesting experience.

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I played it through when it was a free mod for the source engine, so I can't say much about this new improved version. And it is not an adventure game, it is more like a pop-up book with narration. Not bad by any means, but not really a game.

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Dear Esther is not a game as much as it's an interactive story. Basically, you walk around and look at some really nice scenery while a story is being told to you.

I've played through The Stanley Parable as well, and that was quite funny. Replayed it enough times to get all the endings, too.

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It's beautiful. That's really the best word to describe it. Awesome or cool kinda feels inappropriate, I think, slightly missing what it's really about. And the game/no game debate is splitting hairs, and in the end irrelevant, or at least it is for me. It's an experience. One of the best two hours I spent in front of a computer recently.

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I very much enjoyed it, but I would definitely not call it an adventure game. I would say it was worth at least $10, however, just because they put so much effort into the look and atmosphere (my GOODNESS did they ever put a lot of work into that! It looks incredible!). It's a little like a rail shooter except no shooting and moving at your own pace (slowly, I might add). The story is incredible and even changes slightly the more times you replay it. That is, more of the story is revealed in each playthrough.

Basically, you walk along and at different areas it triggers a monologue by the narrator. It was fun discovering all the different areas in the game and putting the pieces together, but there is no puzzle solving at all. You could play through the entire game and miss the whole point if you're not paying attention. I loved the feeling of exploration it touched on, but it could have been much better. I think I'd prefer it if it were a little more open and less linear. I understand that the narrative itself is linear by design and would only work well that way, but I've got to think about how something like that would have been if it were much less linear and allowed you to explore every area of the island/caves and possibly having the ending change slightly based on what you've seen/done in the world. Maybe a couple puzzles would have worked even. Discovering areas you don't necessarily HAVE to see but if you do it reveals more about the game than you would otherwise. Now, the game DOES have a bit of that but it could have been more.

All in all, I enjoyed it. But even though the game reveals more with each playthrough I find it hard to go through a second time. But it IS a gorgeous game. Absolutely stunning looking. So I might just do it again for that reason itself, let alone further story revelation. There is a free version you can download but it is a FAR CRY from what the commercial product looks like. And I'm serious. There is absolutely no way to properly tell you how much better the full product looks and plays in comparison to the free mod version. The free version is absolutely lifeless and bare by comparison. There is no comparison. But you can get a good idea of what the final game is like by playing it. Just know that they've amped it up exponetially and there's a little more story to it.

Also, did anybody see the creepy silhouettes in the game which appear in random areas that would disappear if you looked straight at them or got too close? Apparently there are like 3 different people. One of them being a creepy angel of death-like character. I've seen one in a couple places. Very unnerving and eerie.

Also, I've played The Stanley Parable and quite enjoyed it a lot. That one, while shorter, is a little more interactive and has multiple endings based on the choices you make. I believe there are 6 endings in total. Great little gem. I really enjoyed that one and would LOVE to see it extended a little and upgraded graphically as a commercial product. I'd totally buy it.

I think games like Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable have kind of created their own genre I like to call "interactive narratives".

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Dear esther is an extremly opinion divided game it seems. I'm waiting for it to hit 5$ before i check it out as it looks like something i would enjoy but ive never played anything like it.

id say try the game for yourself, the game seems to have enough quality that it can be enjoyed depending on what you're looking for

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Dear Esther is certainly worth playing. Whether or not you define it as a game, it does many things with its environments or levels that are applicable to games. I personally think its well done - while on the surface all you can do is walk, there's lots of little details that if you take the time to explore and look around, you will find and they will change your perspective on the world.

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I wouldn't call it a game at all - it uses the basic concept of gaming and film as a canvas, but i feel it's more about artistic expression than anything else, as a piece of art it's hard to specify, but it is art.

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just go for a walk and narrate to your self about stuff you dont understand and find mysterious.

jup that just about covers it

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Well, yes, I suppose - if you aren't able to understand it, that would make it hard to like it. :P

And the difference between Dear Esther and a video should be evident to anyone.

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I liked Dear Esther and am happy to support it with my $10 or whatever it cost. But it's not a game, it's not particularly good even. It's just doing something (telling an emotional, dramatic story in a slightly artsy way) that we see so rarely in games (unless you play lots of "visual novels") that everyone is easily impressed. No offense intended, I'm one of these people myself.

But I love seeing games like dear esther made and I hope the attention it has received inspires others to try it too. It's high time games stop just being "only" games and start being a creative medium that can be used for anything. Just like comics became "graphic novels" and cartoons became "animation".

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Tim, have you played / are you going to play 'to the moon'?

It's kind of an adventure game. It reminds me a tiny bit of 'Dear Esther' in the sense that it is perhaps more story based with simple puzzles incorporated.

The story and ambience is beautiful!

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Dear Esther is less interactive than a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Now Journey, that is a "good interactive experience".

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It's well made, really beautiful style and sound. I knew I don't get a game when I buy it (price is OK) but rather something like an interactive story book, however still I don't like it. Why? The walking speed is just way too slow for me (you can't run), that made me absolutely crazy! I even tried to tweak it via the config files but it didn't work :cheese:

Also in real life I always walk very fast because otherwise I get bored :lol:

So... please make sure the DFA character walks fast enough and it's possible to "jump" screens/locations by double clicking :)

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Hey, any of you guys play Dear Esther?

Is it awesome?

Is it an adventure game?

It's on my list so I'll get to it eventually. But I wanted to know what you thought.

I like this game. It's different and I'd call it an highly Explorative Adventure: Its more about exploring and not about solving puzzles (there are no puzzles). Up to a certain point the story is pretty much open for interpretation. There's a lot to check out 1st person style, so much detail and great visuals. This world feels kinda real and tangible - and amazingly different at the same time. I often stopped just to check out a detail in this nature (which was new for me, I usually don't do that in a game). And it's based on the Half Life 2 engine which shows me that shooters just like rpg's have developed in a way that can be useful for adventures because it provides a very physical, real, authentic dimension. Exploring IMO is a real asset of these genres and I think they are doing better in this area than Adventures who in recent years focused more on puzzles and especially story design.

In "Dear Esther" you walk around and while moving through the landscape metaphoric, dense poetic narration appears (from a very good narrator) - it's like parts of a diary entry and while the mind of the narrator changes the world around us gets different. You learn more and more about this narrator, even if you don't listen to focused because the poetic narration is written very well and focused and it's a pretty good and personal characterisation (plus: great narrator) - and its giving the whole thing a beautiful but sad atmosphere. And such a poetic explorative 1st person adventure mix felt kinda fresh to me. "Dear Esther" feels a bit like a some sort of ARTHOUSE movie gone Adventure ;). I played it until the end for 5 hours... more or less just exploring and it didn't bore me and that's new for me - usually I mainly go for story and puzzles. With "Dear Esther" it's different because the world is amazing and the visual complexity is high. That's also something I like about games like the (endless-) RPG "Skyrim", although in this case sadly the characters and the few puzzles there are suck. I'd really love to see a game with a visual quality and detail like "Dear Esther" with more focus on actual puzzles and interesting characters ("Dreamfall" and "Shadow of Memories" come in my mind right now, but both clearly don't look as detailed, the puzzles suck and soon you realize that exploring doesn't get you anywhere because most places around you are not accessible, there's almost nothing to freely interact with and it's all very limited),

...

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I wouldn't say Dear Esther isn't a game. It's definitely interactive. And you can miss certain things by not exploring enough. It's about on par with an advanced DVD player game. But it's still a game nonetheless. It's interactive, the experience changes depending on how much effort you put into it, and it's stimulating. It's certainly far away from the normal definition of what a game is, so much so that it's almost hard to call it one, but it still is. Technically speaking, of course.

I'd definitely agree that it's more of an artistic expression as far as purpose and presentation goes, though.

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"And you can miss certain things by not exploring enough. "

Still remember the one moment (in a stage were a certain madness in the narration was already obvious) where I dived deep because at that point of the story it felt right and suddenly I came to a completely different place and the world around me went upside down. I think it wasn't required to get to this point. But getting there made the story more obvious for me, although it wasn't that precise. I'd say if you miss some places it could lead to a different perspective of the story. And then there were two or three other moments were I had the feeling that there was something to explore but I didn't manage to get there...it all gives you pieces of the whole story. So I'd say the main interaction is happening in the players head, as far as the narration is open for interpretation. So yeah, I also think it's definitely a game.

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Is not game its an experience; for a better one i would recommend Journey on the ps3. Now thats IS awesome.

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Is not game its an experience;

And how does one exclude the other :) ?

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I "played" the mod version a while back, and I enjoyed it for what it was.

However, I would feel a bit cheated if I had paid 10 bucks for it. An experience with such minimal interaction as DE works reasonably well as a free experiment, but not so much as a priced product.

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