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Thread: Dear Esther
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:07 AM   #57
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: California
Posts: 19

You see, it is my belief that the simple act of being able to navigate a simulated environment in an implied perspective, with the goal (however random) of triggering hotspots, is what qualifies Dear Esther as being a game; and if you don't navigate/explore, nothing will be triggered and there will be no reward. This is what all games are in embryo. The crux of your argument depends on, I think, the oversimplification of exploring the island: to you it is no different than the page-turning of a book. But you are dismissing the simulated environment, the implied perspective, and the implied goal. The gameplay mechanic is that these three fundamental variables in game design allow the player to interact with the gameworld, in which there are clear rules and goals.

Perhaps our differences lie in this belief: to me, gameplay mechanics can exist in an intellectual context (player interpretation), while to others it must be reducible to skill and reflex. This, my friends, is the very essence of the question 'can games be art?' 'Player interpretation' is, to me, an untapped variable in recent game design, and randomness is still indeed a mechanic because of how it rewards player interpretation. The analogy with Snake is accurate because to me the similarities exist in an emotional context. Naysayers feel it must exist in a more literal goal-reward context to be valid, which is exactly what the devs are trying to challenge.

Again, I think it's that level of abstraction that we disagree on.

Last edited by Peter254; 01-25-2012 at 11:31 AM.
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