Dear Esther

One of the most beautiful games I seen and played. Very different in its playing style since it is meant to be a narrative story-telling rather than your typical game.

I understand that some people hate this game, seen the debates on articles about the game. I don’t, I actually enjoyed this game very much. The setting in where it is set is so beautiful; it feels so serene yet it’s so desolate. It makes me wish I had a projector so I can plug my laptop to it, project it onto a wall and just stare at it. Something about it feels so peaceful, although there seems to be a hint of loneliness to it. The game is up to you to interpret what is going on. Which may be why people hate it because they don’t know how to view it or classify which type of game it is. I think it’s a very interesting game concept, where you are in the story and seek to figure/interpret what is going on.

It means you can play the game at your own pace or stop whenever you want to ponder on the things revealed to you. I like the fact you can choose how you reach the beacon. You can take the high road, the low road or a mixture of both. As the narrator says different things depending on your route, it gives you a chance to replay the game to hear what the narrator says. The story is also semi-randomly generated, adding to the replay value. As you replay it, the narrator may say different things that he did not say before, even if you took the same path. Or he says something which he did not say in the previous play-through. The events in the game are randomized as well, you might have seen something in one play-through but in the next one, you do not see it. I love it for the fact I can explore the beautiful island. The music is rather soothing too as well, although it does make me feel a bit lonely from time to time. Actually, I take it back. The sound-track for this game is just perfect. It is haunting. It represents the player’s feelings perfectly without being overbearing or distracting from the game.

For me, my interpretation is that the island is a limbo due its peaceful and desolate feel. There is no other soul on the island except for you. Infrastructure on the island has been long abandoned. The narrator is going through the motions of accepting his death and possibly his role in the accident that is referenced. For example, you see a flashback of a highway and he talks about a character never being drunk, which implies the accident was possibly a car accident, but it is unclear whether the driver was drunk or not.

So it appears that the narrator is trying to come to terms with what has really happened or his death, after being in denial for so long. So as you wander across the island, making your way to the beacon his musings appear he is trying to make sense of everything or console himself. Which may explain why he is the only living soul on the island. Others may have accepted their death already hence where able to move on, but he wasn’t able to hence why he is stuck on the island.

However once he reaches the beacon, it appears he has accepted his fate/untimely demise. Or come to terms with his guilt in regards to what has happened to Esther. He lets go of the anger and/or the guilt which has been holding him back for so long. Which explains when he falls off the ledge of the beacon, he flies away from the island. His soul has been set free and is finally able to leave the limbo.

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