Dear Esther > General Discussions > Topic Details
Leon Jun 22, 2013 @ 8:26pm
Upon finishing the game, and a conclusion of thoughts...
So I've been reading some discussions about what this game is, and I thought I'd contribute my own findings as well.

I think of "Dear Esther" as a game that defies expectations with the player. As you are traversing the island, you almost have an ingrained knowledge that somewhere something will attack you or that you will have to attack something. It kind of creates a dissonance between what you're actually doing and what you're expecting. Once the player deals with the anxiety of attack, it allows the idea of discovery to take hold. It filters game mechanics to two ideas: narrative and exploration, and asks is this still a game? Instead of high-scores, levels, cool items, or any other superficial ranking, can something more profound be gained? An emotional discovery or constructing a metaphorical explaination? I think where games tend to function as a means of escape and a means of entertainment. "Dear Esther" flips these functions on its head: instead of escape, we see glimpses of reality, dark emotional truths we want to avoid. Instead of entertainment we experience a haunting trek of a man's depressive episode of loss and the inabilty to cope with it. We aren't getting an adrenaline rush or awing at explosions. We feel perplexed, disturbed, and lost, but by disarming our sense of comfortability. We are open to be amazed and entranced. We see something beautiful, and not just see, but "feel" beauty. Experiencing the narrative's thoughts of loss and his ultimate conclusion is almost euphoric. It gives off the catharsis of thematic ideas resolved, while still leaving curiositiy dangling for another playthrough.

It reminds me of W.G. Sebald's book The Rings of Saturn, in which a man is going on a walking tour, but which serves merely as a frame. The plot goes off on a tangent of stories, which all connect, and deal with themes of time and memory.
Last edited by Leon; Jun 24, 2013 @ 8:41am
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Bud Jun 23, 2013 @ 1:33am 
Oh yeah, I definently felt that and I also felt boxed in on the lack of running or jumping abilities...much less the ability to defend myself if attacked.

I would write more but you hit the nail straight with a hammer and I don't have room to write with. I will just say that as a writer, even I was saddened by the storyline and I will make my fiance play it when she gets home later this week from her trip.

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Without ruining this story for others, would you do what you did in-game if you were the main character? I don't have an answer myself but I would be asking myself if I should honestly.
Last edited by Bud; Jun 23, 2013 @ 1:34am
Crossroads_Wanderer Jun 24, 2013 @ 7:20am 
I just wrote a wall of text in another thread before I came to read this one, and it seems you've given the salient points of my wall in a much more eloquent fashion, while expanding on other points. :P

I agree with the above poster; you've hit the nail on the head.
Bud Jun 24, 2013 @ 9:59am 
Thank you as this topic is throwing lots of depth and additional thinking not show in a game. I read elsewhere where it was analized that you are a desease called Syphalis and you are actually killing the person and the "adventure" is simbolized as a beach but in reality you are working through the body and at the very end at the lighthouse, you are killing the body of the person.

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I don't see it like this though. The part that hit me hard is that I truly found the story of missing his wife. Both the character you play and his wife were in a car accident and she died on impact while you survived but badly hurt. I saw the other name mentioned is the driver of the other car who was at fault for the accident but he survived.

Oh, Paul was his name...which is odd as that is my real name and I didn't realise that. Well, anyways the character you play isn't mad at him but actually feels bad for him but at least to me anyways, he is suffering bad with depression and sees no point in going on so the entire trip is mostly for him to end his pain and rejoin his wife.

I could be wrong but I like my way of seeing the story a lot better than the other one and I mostly got it out of a different forum talking about it. The talking about syphalis was vague at the very least in the game and I always thought Paul or someone just had it. Thats pretty much it and in no way did I see that as what I was.
Last edited by Bud; Jun 24, 2013 @ 10:13am
ZodaEX Jun 24, 2013 @ 9:08pm 
Originally posted by Bud:
Oh yeah, I definently felt that and I also felt boxed in on the lack of running or jumping abilities...much less the ability to defend myself if attacked.

I think it's like how in Goldeneye you can't jump casue you never need to, and in Megaman you can't duck cause you never need to. You are given all the tools and abilities that are needed in this game.
Bud Jun 24, 2013 @ 10:36pm 
Originally posted by Zodasaur:
Originally posted by Bud:
Oh yeah, I definently felt that and I also felt boxed in on the lack of running or jumping abilities...much less the ability to defend myself if attacked.

I think it's like how in Goldeneye you can't jump casue you never need to, and in Megaman you can't duck cause you never need to. You are given all the tools and abilities that are needed in this game.

Oh I loved the game. I still think I was more right than others on the game though...how his wife died in a horrible car accident and he is badly hurt but alive over a syphilis case where he is the decease.
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Date Posted: Jun 22, 2013 @ 8:26pm
Posts: 5