‘Dear Esther’

Amongst the many things I’ve wished to post here, has been the relatively recent experience for me of the computer game ‘Dear Esther’. While unimpressive as a game, it is one of the finest pieces of art I have seen in a great while. Truly, I would just classify it as art, for thinking it is a game would make it seem… more interactive than it really is. I do believe that future simulacrums will develop upon that side of this game, but this one didn’t. It is, however, truly fine enough without that side.

Now, to the ‘game’ itself: you are representing someone who is one of the Outer Hebrides islands, and who went there out of his own volition for some reason. Now, I am not entirely sure what the reason is (I have two theories based on the events in the game) but it seems valid enough. To get to the end-point, you run through this island (which I presume is one amongst the Outer and not the Inner Hebrides) and discover pieces of your, the island’s, the world’s, and your beloved’s history, and stretch the limits of your disbelief as well.

All of this “action” (no actual action in this piece of work, just moving around and discovering the world) leads you to a conclusion, but many of the steps on the way are laden by interesting quotes and comments that come from a variety of sources, although in a similar style. But what a style! Truly good and well written they are!

There is little else for me to say about ‘Dear Esther’ except that I heartily recommend anyone to try it. It won’t be for anyone, no, but it will be for a few people, certainly. And I would like to include two interesting quotes from the game (one of the binding pieces in this game which tie it all together, and confound you).

I believe you’ll be able to sense the strength of emotion present within these two short quotes.

“From here I can see my armada. I collected all the letters I’d ever meant to send to you, if I’d have ever made it to the mainland but had instead collected at the bottom of my rucksack, and I spread them out along the lost beach. Then I took each and every one and I folded them into boats. I folded you into the creases and then, as the sun was setting, I set the fleet to sail. Shattered into twenty-one pieces, I consigned you to the Atlantic, and I sat here until I’d watched all of you sink.”

“I’ve begun my voyage in a paper boat without a bottom; I will fly to the moon in it. I have been folded along a crease in time, a weakness in the sheet of life. Now, you’ve settled on the opposite side of the paper to me; I can see your traces in the ink that soaks through the fibre, the pulped vegetation. When we become waterlogged, and the cage disintegrates, we will intermingle. When this paper aeroplane leaves the cliff edge, and carves parallel vapour trails in the dark, we will come together.”

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