Dear Esther was a much better game than “Gone Home” hands down. The visuals and story-line were more engaging for the player, even though the same lack of a position of power was evident. There are many references to depression and drugs as well, making it seem like the story-line is of a man walking through his own death due to addiction.
The games graphics and sound could, in my opinion, compete with some of the bigger name games in the market. The detail in the rocks and mountains present a tough landscape, that is very hard to travel on. This provides possible symbolism regarding the narrators life. The extremely big falls especially appear to imply that the narrator struggled through out much of his life and attempted to get back up. The games soundtrack is another component that implies the narrator is viewing his own death. As you progress through the game, mainly the caves there are voices coming from no where. This suggests that the narrator is some sort of purgatory world, something I found very intriguing.
I found the story-line of Dear Esther to be very dark. This came from the references to death, disease and drugs. The narrator states his disease was “the internal combustion engine and the cheap fermentation of yeast.” This is an allusion to alcoholism, possibly the narrators downfall. Closer to the ending of the game, there is more mention of substance abuse, this time pain killers. These references make the story dark, which helps to pull the player further in and become more interested in finding out more about the narrators life. This is what I enjoyed most about the game.
Overall, Dear Esther was very much superior to “Gone Home”. The story, graphics and sound were better, and made for more engaging play even though the typical position of power that most games put you in was not there.
The opening scene of “Gone Home” immediately grabbed my attention. An answering machine with a message on it, and then the entrance to an eerie mansion at 1:15AM with the sound of rain in the background. Having played almost the entirety of the “Dead Space” series, it screamed horror game, but as the game continued it began to lose its edge.
The suspense of the empty house with dim lighting and sounds of a thunderstorm in the background is enough to put any gamer on the edge of their seat. The setting in this game created an expectation in my mind that a murder had occurred in the house and the main character has unknowingly stumbled into a trap but it becomes clear that this is not the case soon after walking inside the house. It was extremely disappointing to see that such a good introduction and game setting could be followed by simply walking around a house and picking things up and putting them down. As I progressed through the “game”, I felt myself only becoming more and more annoyed with the suspense factor remaining high.
Despite being disappointed in the lack of user control, I admired the developers willingness to explore the topic of homosexuality, especially in the time period the game was set in. The uncomfortable setting fit well with the theme’s that the developers were trying to get across. Overall I think the game could have been much better if they gave more control to the player and added a more interesting ending.
Out of all the pictures I have, this is one of my top 5 favorite and it made the cut to be my avatar. When I look at this picture it brings back some of the best memories I’ve had and probably will have. It was taken in May of last year during the final weeks of Firefighter 1, the training course required to become a volunteer in the state of Maryland. My partner and I had just finished putting out a fire in the burn building and we both felt like we were super-heroes so we decided to take a picture that would capture the feeling. Looking at this image now, I think it describes me extremely well. It shows both my courage, and my willingness to be ready to help when people are in need and that’s what I like most about it.
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