“Dear Esther” Video Game Review

“Dear Esther” Video Game Review

 

A computer “game” for Dreamers and Explorers

 

Photo: Screenshot

 

I’m going to start posting some more reviews of the online games I like to play. I recommend to parents during my talks, that they “have a go” at some computer games, especially if they can play them with their kids, to gain an understanding of what kids love about computer games. (and who knows they might themselves become fans of some games!). It’s a long time since my last review of Minecraft, and it’s now getting a LOT of hits as it’s getting more and more popular amongst kids and parents are trying to work out if Minecraft is ok for their kids to play.

I play both offline and online games, usually on the weekend for an hour or so just to have a bit of fun and a bit of escapism. I prefer the adventure or mystery type non-violent games. Anything that is visually beautiful will get me in…. if it’s not too hard. I play both on my Desktop and my iPad.

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The added bonus of distracting me for an hour or so is that it gives me a bridge of understanding into my kids gaming, they also love it when I ask for them to help me when I get stuck….and I really really enjoy it!

 

“Dear Esther” PC and Mac hosted on Steampowered

This is a game hosted on Steampowered an online gaming platform.

Calling this a “Game” is not really correct its more like an digital interactive visual experience.

“Dear Esther” is a lovely example of the talent and diversity of gaming, that I hope grows and grows, developed by the folks at “The Chinese Room”.

As 1980’s and 90’s gamers turn into adult gamers, not everyone wants to kill something or someone. Many of us want to be transported to different worlds and experience narrative interactive experiences and fantasy, and the graphics on some of these new type of games is really incredible if not yet lifelike. This type of game takes me back to the first time I “played” “Ceremony of Innocence” in 1997, which was the first narrative style “game” I had experienced. Even my mum loved it!

‘Dear Esther” is a curious game, its more like a journey, you do have to find the right paths to finish complete it.

It’s a narrative experience, when you reach certain locations in the “game” which include a lonely Scottish coast, with abandoned cabins strange hieroglyphics painted on the walls and rocks and caves and coves that are candle lit, the narrator Nigel Carrington continues more of the story.

The story line is quite confusing, it’s not really clear if you are wandering through the subject of the stories hallucination, but I won’t spoil it by saying more. I personally didn’t engage much with the story, I just let the words pour over the experience, much like listening to poetry. Perhaps I was missing something, or others can see far more in it than I, but I did like wandering through the beautiful haunting landscape and just looking for the right paths to reach the end.

There’s nothing to “click” on, or collect or any points to earn, its simply a lovely intriguing exploration with poetic influences. I really liked it, and would certainly go through it all again just to wander around, much like you might in any landscape. It’s hypnotic and relaxing. It’s probably best not to read to much about it, and just discover how it works as you go.

When you buy it on Steampowered the game app will download to your computer, and on my 5mbs download it took about 1/2 hour. You can play it on PC or Mac.

My mac is a 2009 Mac Book Pro and tweaking the resolution on the game I got a pretty good frame rate without stuttering at all. I had the resolution and anti aliasing up as far as it could go without turning things black…

Ratings:

This Game/Online interactive experience is definitely PG, might be a little spooky for kids under 8 or 9, probably not that interesting to young gamers to be honest, although my 12 year old enjoyed “helping” me play it…he liked the exploring, I had to wrestle him for the mouse!

Buy the game Here: for $9.99 USD I recommend playing a little more $14.99 to include the sound track which is hauntingly beautiful composed by the talented Jessica Curry it adds to the atmosphere and is well worth the extra bucks.

Let me know your thoughts on the game, did you pick up any little clues or have a favourite spot? I loved the caves I have to say, the water reflections were really well done! The shepherds cabin was also spectacular, spooky but what a view!

I’ll be checking out their other games, Amnesia and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture!

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