infovore + dearesther   2

Thoughts on Dear Esther | The Gameshelf
"So, given this [zero-button, move and look] interface, whence interactivity in Dear Esther? I say: from an understated but deadly-precise sense of attention design through spatial design.

You walk along the beach; a path goes up the bluff, another along the strand. You go one way or the other. There are no game-mechanics associated with the choice, and a plot-diagram analysis would call them "the same place" -- you can try either, back up, and go the other way. But this misses the point. Precisely because the game lacks keys, switches, stars, and 1ups, it has no implicit mandate to explore every inch of territory. Instead, you want to move forward. Backtracking is dull. Worse: given the game's sedate walking pace, it's slightly frustrating. (They left out the run button for a reason, see?) Moving into new territory is always the best-rewarded move, and therefore your choice of path is a choice. You will not (unless you thrash hard against the game's intentions) see everything in your first run-through." Cracking writing about immersive, environmental storytelling in Dear Esther, and why it's clearly a game.
jmac  games  dearesther  if  interactivefiction  exploration  immersion  design 
may 2012 by infovore
D Nye Everything: Messing with your HUD
"The voice in Dear Esther doesn't tell you where to go - it only reads, at set moments, from a random selection of letters to Esther as you wander over a deserted and increasingly disrupted Scottish island. The letters are randomised, so no playthrough is the same, and a fragmented narrative of a car crash, a grieving man and a stolen library book is glimpsed but never resolved. When I asked Pinchbeck whether this strictly constitutes a game, he said that it was a game engine, a nice distinction in both senses." Dan fills in his Wired piece on Dan Pinchbeck with some supplementary material. It is very good.
danpinchbeck  dangriffiths  dearesther  games  halflife  mods  mechanics 
october 2009 by infovore

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