Growing up, one the enjoyable and more interesting things to do with your friends is play video games. It can be anytime of the day there would always be an opportunity to play because you didn’t have to depend on the weather or anything epic happening like you would from playing outside with the other kids. The reason everyone played video games is because they were not only fun, but can always capture your attention. From playing games that involved shooting guns, fighting monsters, and racing cars just to name a few, would continuously seem to lock your eyes to the television screen of virtual world as if you were physically in the game yourself. When thinking about the video game Dear Esther, none of these qualities rarely come to mind. Not that it’s such a bad example of a video game, but that I don’t even see it as “being called” a video game in the first place.
The main overall reason I feel as though Dear Esther isn’t a video game is because by playing it there is no objective on what is needed to be accomplished. You mainly walk around an island by yourself while listening to a series of voiced-over letter fragments to a woman who is not around anymore that goes by the name of Esther. You would think that this game would at least be made up to be some kind of puzzle or mystery in finding clues but it isn’t like that. As creepy of a setting the game is being played in you would expect your character would have a gun and shoot something in harm’s way that pops out at you like most game’s but that isn’t what this game is about. You wander from place to place as if you’re on a journey and hoping to get to the next destination that you’re supposed to be at.
The game also doesn’t have any characters. It states how there are character named Donnelly, Paul, and Jakobson but they are all unseen throughout the video game. I don’t see why they can’t be seen which gives me another reason why this is called a video game. Most video games I know of have characters that you can even choose from to make games much more fun. One thing I will point out is the graphics that are being seen while playing this game. Throughout the journey through the island I noticed how beautiful the scenery played out with the clouds being a certain color in the sky to the calm waters that settled about just off of land. These illustrations were crisp and were probably the only thing that kept me into enjoying the game. These are examples why I recall Dear Esther as being art and not a game.
When I think of a video game I can still get the idea of Zork. Even though there wasn’t much creativity being made into it, this game still had an objective. While you’re still adventuring through land the one thing that stands out is that you still have a goal. That goal was to return from the Underground Empire alive with treasures while still having to face obstacles such as grues, zorkmids, and many novel creatures. Even though I didn’t quite like how Zork was played, I still look at that as an idea of what you’re supposed to look for in a game.
Overall, from my experience of playing Dear Esther I must say that it was an optimistic but a more dreary type of game. A lot of people may give it a thumbs up and so will I, but that would have to go towards the “art” of Dear Esther and not from it being a “game.”