The Impotence of Partisans

The Thin Play of Dear Esther

My thoughts (finally) about Dear Esther are over on ihobo today. Here’s an extract:

This thin play is precisely the game’s strength, since it allows the fictional elements more focus. Walking around the island is, many people have commented, meditative. It is strongly reminiscent of the early sections of Silent Hill 2, which also focus more on evoking atmosphere and experience, with challenges and puzzles deferred to later. In Dear Esther, however, those victories-to-come never emerge, and the game seldom uses fear or anxiety to raise the level of excitement. It aims for a much calmer state-of-being, one that I am tempted to compare to the also-meditative play of William A. Romanowski’s tranquility, although the games have very little in common representationally.

You can read the entirety of The Thin Play of Dear Esther over on ihobo.com.


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