Dear Esther has been the source of much hype and debate recently. What was originally a Source Engine mod for Half-Life 2 has been remade for a standalone retail digital download release via Steam. But just what the hell is Dear Esther? And should it really be considered a video game? Let’s examine:
Some people want things to be more than what they are. Philosophical fans will look for a deeper meaning in baseball, an expression of life in what is actually a simple diversion. Women sometimes think that what was just a random tryst was really a gateway to a new and wonderful lifelong relationship of caring and sharing. Usually it isn’t. Fortunetellers say they will divine a message from a greater spirit to the drinker found within the patterns of tea leaves that settle at the bottom of a ceramic cup. But it is likely that the real cause for the strange patterns is that the brewer didn’t bother to use a tea bag and there is a lot of movement in a tea cup which can displace floating materials into any number of final patterns.
The things that these three kinds of people have in common are: 1) that they are expecting one thing or ascribing meaning when they interact with something when there is no meaning; and 2) invariable disappointment. Honesty – perhaps from a handsome, third, neutral party at VGBlogger – can clear the air to allow people to encounter what is actually there. With clarity, the fan can just enjoy the baseball game. If the woman had been led to fully understand that it was nothing but a fling, with no hope of ever seeing the temporary partner again, then she could either enjoy the sensations of a one night stand or tell the offeror, “I am not interested in just that, thanks for the drink.” The fortuneteller’s client could either enjoy the tea and conversation or refuse to pay twenty bucks for the torn out contents of a bag of Lipton. Perspective replaces assumption and choices become informed.