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Thread: Dear Esther
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:05 AM   #55
Intense Degree
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I'm with Shuyin and Ascovel.

To elaborate:

Originally Posted by Guyra View Post
Take the Snake game, switch dots(or apples, eggs, whatever) with voiceovers
Dots/apples/eggs are clearly visible goals to move towards and each one leads directly to the discovery of the next. The voiceovers are randomly triggered as you wander and each one cannot necessarily be "acheived" at all in any one playthrough. Skill in snake and random chance in Dear Esther.

switch the increasing snake body with increasing understanding of the story and game world
I don't see that at all. As the snake gets longer it is harder to control requiring more skill and planning. This is not the same as the random revelation of a piece of narrative that may increase your exposure to the story before you wander on.

add more control
I presume you mean that there is more control as it is a 360 degree 3d environment rather than just a 2d up, down, left right one? Personally I think that you are simply guiding the player/snake in both and therefore they are equal in that you can move both, but if anything snake gives you more control as you are able to eat(?) the dots, i.e. move specifically towards another type of interaction rather than randomly triggering some narration which could occur at any time place (or so it would appear to the player as you are unlikely to trigger the same thing at the same place twice).

and better graphics and audio
Fair point!

Break it down, and you've essentially got the same game in both. Move, trigger, repeat until end. In other words, Dear Esther is as much of a game as Snake is. It doesn't have a great amount of interaction, it's fairly simple in its gameplay, but even so, it is a game.
I think the difference here is that in snake you can interact with everything you can see. You can move the snake with the keys to the dots to eat them. The background is blank and does not look like it even should be interactive. It is like the table whilst playing cards or a board game, simply not of interest.

However, Dear Esther is beautiful with incredible environments. Experience with other games tells us that we should be able to interact with it, be it collecting inventory items, shooting things, platforming, mining and building etc. However you can do none of this.

I know that this game is experimental (and I'm looking forward to getting the full version) but I can fully understand why people are disappointed with the lack of interactivity. It is beautiful to look at and listen to but it feels like it should give so much more than this. It's beauty means that (for many people) expectations will be raised to do much more than just move around and therefore (even if unjustly) they will be disappointed.
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