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Thread: Dear Esther
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:13 PM   #48
Peter254
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: California
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Not to further the argument, but to clarify on my own belief: the mechanics in Dear Esther are still gameplay, and thus it qualifies as interactive. It may not be as dynamic as Canabalt, or maybe even as fun, but enough basic variables are present to differentiate it from the page-turning of a book.

What the devs are trying to do is provide an "open-ended" mood piece on how to interpret the story and the surrounding gameworld. The order in which the player visits locations or tiggers events, as well as what they interpret from the story, is up to the player. "Art" in recent game design usually employs player interpretation as an untapped variable on the gameworld, for better or worse. I can't say if this is funner than Canabalt, or if it's a step back in game design...but it is my belief that design choices like these still qualify as gameplay. True, the variables which determine the game are obtuse and maybe too abstract to be "fun" to some people (because of a perceived lack of reward), but the variables are indeed there. Rules, goals, and rewards are still present in this environment. There is a clear difference between Dear Esther in this game form, and Dear Esther in, say, short story form.

This is just to clarify on my own understanding of what a game is. If you disagree, then this is simply where our paths diverge into different modes of thought.

Edit: I'd also like to mention the upcoming indie game Home, by Benjamin Rivers. Not just for promotion (I think it looks interesting ), but also because it is nearly identical in execution to Dear Esther. Or at least similar enough to merit a philosophical double take.

Last edited by Peter254; 01-24-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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