Simply being placed on an island with little introduction was a confusing start for Dear Esther. Regardless, the lack of clarity as to what the game was conveying ultimately added to the quality of the overall experience. Gone Home was fairly straightforward with little left for interpretation, leaving a fairly empty feeling at the conclusion of the game. Dear Ester didn’t necessarily spell everything out.
The repeated comparisons between the island and the car accident such as the while lines in the cliffs of the island and the seatbelts that cut motorway lines into the body provided insight into the narrators thoughts about the car accident, life and death. The island itself isn’t necessarily certain. Whether the island is a real island, a kind of purgatory, or a hallucination is not established is not made clear. Gone Home however makes it entirely clear that the house is in fact real and clearly defines each character and their role in the story, with only a few doubts and uncertainties throughout the entire game.
The narrative in Dear Esther I found to be more emotionally compelling than in Gone Home. The natural and realistic art style in Dear Esther was more somber than the cartoonish style of Gone Home, leaving emotional involvement more difficult in Gone Home.
I created my avatar from two pieces. The body comes from the spurdo sparde Siwa employee meme. I thought the attire and employee matched my own attire and employment, as I worked in a dry cleaners in shopping center and had friends that worked at the neighboring grocery store. I also think the meme is pretty funny as well. The face comes from an avatar creator called bitmoji. I used the GIMP photo editor to create the avatar.
meme body : http://the-dolan-and-friends-show.wikia.com/wiki/Spurdo_Sparde?file=Spurdo_81.png
face avatar: bitmoji app
Going in the game with no prior knowledge, I initially thought Gone Home was a horror game based off of the atmosphere. The rain and thunder and creaking floor added to my own sense of dread. Although, this dread immediately faded when I found the cassette tape in the TV room and played music. The 1990s music and the magazines with Kurt Cobain death as the headline really set the 90s feel of the game.
The establishment of the 90s setting and time was certainty thorough and the development of the characters was also thorough. While the game was technically very linear, discovering the private details of each family member, especially the private matters of the wife, Jan, who had taken note of coworker Rick, came across like a side-quest of sorts and felt like very casual yet providing interesting personal details nonetheless. I believe including dialog with other characters in the game would have been negative in the development of such private issues that were revealed about specific characters.
I did have a few issues with the execution of the game. The disparity between the details of Sam’s life and the life of everyone else made the game feel very artificial and two dimensional (no pun intended). The ending felt unfinished. Sam just ran off with Lonnie after Lonnie deserted the Army. And that was the end. The narrative had momentum toward the ending and then it abruptly ended with no resolution at all. Yes, the parents were getting counseling and Sam was getting the relationship she wanted with Lonnie, but the main conflict between Sam and her parents wasn’t really addressed in the end. The development of the narrative was interesting and really drew me in, but the conclusion was poorly executed in my mind.
Welcome to my site! This is my first blog post with many more to come!