Dear Esther is a short game in which the player walks around an island and experiences a story. As far the prior description goes, the island is beautiful, the atmosphere is thick with emotive music and sound effects, and the level design is polished to the degree of ocean glass. The narrative is unimpressive.
I took a bunch of screenshots, several of which are contained after the break.
This interview with the two founders of Tale of Tales is interesting because they voice the small visionary corner of the games industry. More generally, they represent artists who side with the exploration of communication over commercial success, although as seen through the gaming medium, which has its own unique history and conventions that factor in to the above continuum. Much of what they say is brilliant and confusingly formed, some of it inflammatory, and some of it makes erroneous comparisons. I don’t even particularly enjoy their games (which you should try playing), but I’m very happy that they exist.
I’m just saying my misunderstanding of the games industry, as a non-gamer, coming in making games — I was taking the subject matter and the content in the cutscenes seriously. I was honestly looking for the stories that are on the back of the box, or the media, the propaganda, that they put out about the game.
I was thinking, “Oh, all this content is in there somewhere, and I just have to find it and I’m missing it,” whatever. When in actuality, no, they really want to make another fucking first-person shooter. That’s amazing to me. Still, to this day, I’m amazed by that.
I mean, they’re always talking about creative frustration, and I’m just like, “Why don’t you just make that thing you’re talking about? I don’t understand. Why are you making this other thing?”
It feels like not so long ago Twilight Princess was released, and now, 5 years later, Skyward Sword will be available on November 20th. Today, for the first time in a couple of years, I drove to Gamestop to buy a Wii MotionPlus (the last one in stock, heads up) in preparation. The game itself is very sadly practically ruined by lack of 1080p support, but the music and artwork are beautiful, the motion controlled gameplay is undoubtedly the best of its kind, and the mood created is suitably epic, touching, windy, and free.
Playing for 9 more hours, I’m not going to continue any longer. The first hour was apparently the most, and only, enjoyable part of the game– it goes entirely downhill after you venture to the Surface, so downhill that it isn’t even worth playing. I don’t feel bothered to list all of the gameplay (unresponsive controls, overresponsive enemies), design (everything is a dungeon, surprisingly easy to get lost), graphic style (ugly and washed out), and narrative (almost nonexistent, hardly any interaction with hardly any characters) shortcomings, but the result is that the game is not at all fun or interesting to play. A crushing disappointment.