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View Full Version : A question for those who've played both versions of Dear Esther (spoilers?)



dbdkmezz
15-02-2012, 01:08 AM
I've just finished Dear Esther, obviously it was wonderful :)

Anyway, I've got a much less interesting question. In the original I remember a number of times I seemed to glimpse views of a silhouette of a person far in the distance. But I never saw this in the remake. So I'm wondering:
a) was I just seeing things when I played the original?
b) was it removed in the remake
c) was it there in both, but I've just gone blind?

Sorry to ask such a trivial question of such an interesting game. But I'm intrigued to see what they changed (the change I loved most was the addition of the underwater M6).

Thanks!

vinraith
15-02-2012, 01:27 AM
Silhouettes were definitely present in the original. Hell, I actually had what I presume was a glitch, where I was able to walk right up to one and stare it in the face.

realmadz
15-02-2012, 04:40 AM
I just started playing the new version of Dear Esther and I saw a black silhouette walking in the distance. You can see one shortly after the start of chapter 2 The buoy. Here`s my screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/KpU67.jpg

JackShandy
15-02-2012, 05:40 AM
That glitch was my most memorable moment in Dear Esther. Walked in, saw a silhouette woman in the shack - was this esther? Then I turned around and she disappeared.

Miker
15-02-2012, 06:10 AM
Okay, just finished Dear Esther. Spoilers ahead!








What was the story about? I understand it's up to interpretation and there's multiple versions of it what with the random dialogue, but I came away rather confused over the whole thing. From what I could gather, Esther was somehow killed in a car accident...and that's about it. I'm really not sure the references to Damascus were about, nor am I sure who the narrator is and what the island has to do with anything. Can somebody fill me in with a short summary of their interpretation of the story?

dbdkmezz
15-02-2012, 10:29 AM
@realmadz Thanks. Hmmm, I was even looking for one then because I remembered the silhouette from the first game being right there. I'll have to be more careful next time!


@Miker My interpretation:

Esther was killed in a car accident by Paul. Paul's a scientist who does something to do with yoghurt. Paul may, or may not, have been drunk driving. Most of the time someone else appears to be narrator, presumably this is Esther's lover / husband / something (I seem to remember the original more directly referring to him as her husband, but this beig missing from the remake (but I'm uncertain about both claims)). Sometimes Paul is the also the narrator, and clearly he has some kind of influence on the island (presumably he's doing all the all the science-ey graffiti, since he's a scientist). I guess the road to Damascus stuff is there because Paul has the same name as the biblical character Paul, and both characters experienced a very major event on their journey (but I don't really see any more interesting connections between the two than just that). (Also, the line "he neither ate nor drank" is repeated (it's on the back of a boat in "The Buoy" as well as on the mountainside towards the end), so maybe that's significant, as a reference to Paul's possible drink driving as well as to the biblical story).)

The other characters are those of the island are Jacobson and Donnelly. Jacobson was the first inhabitant of the island, he was a shepherd who died, and (reportedly) fell down into the caves after (/?shortly before?) he died. Donnelly wrote a book about this history of the island, which tells the story of Jacobson. There seems to be a strong focus on the fact that Jacobson would be forgotten were it not for Donnelly. The narrator seems to want to play the same role for Esther.

The identity of all the characters is confused. At the very end we're told that "Donnelly" is Esther's surname, and "Jacobson" Paul's. Which is odd, because on the island Jacobson died first and later Donnelly came to the island and wrote about him. Whereas in the ?real world? Esther died first, and the narrator visits Paul to remember her. Sometimes I wondered if Paul and the narrator are the same person (Paul does do some narrating himself, and the narrator has very little identity of his own -- we learn nothing about his life). Perhaps the narrator is pretending he's not Paul in order to hid from his guilt? Other times the narrator and Donnelly are very closely linked (both had kidney stones, both are heavily focused on remembering someone).

I see the island as a manifestation of the narrator's grief. By exploring it he's getting the chance to explore what happened in the real world, without having to relive it directly (other than in that wonderful underwater motorway scene).

By the way, I found the script for the original (http://www.moddb.com/mods/dear-esther/downloads/dear-esther-script) online, it opens with:

Dear Esther. I sometimes feel as if Iíve given birth to this island. Somewhere, between the longitude and latitude a split opened up and it beached remotely here. No matter how hard I correlate, it remains a singularity, an alpha point in my life that refuses all hypothesis. I return each time leaving fresh markers that I hope, in the full glare of my hopelessness, will have blossomed into fresh insight in the interim.


Hope that helps! What did everyone else get? I feel that I've not really captured the essence of it since all I've talked about is the narration, nothing of the visuals, sound and overall mood, so I'm pretty much missing out the very core of the experience! But for an answer for "what happened?" this should provide a start...

Skalpadda
15-02-2012, 04:26 PM
I also didn't spot any silhouettes in this one, guess I'll have to keep a sharper look out if I replay it.

On the story, the narration switched points of view (in time, place and between reality and fantasy) too much for me to grasp a coherent chain of events and I'm guessing you're not really supposed to. I was perfectly happy to let the images conjured up by the narration merge and flow with the sounds and visuals on the screen.

NecroKnight
16-02-2012, 10:01 AM
I think the narrator was in the car too and now he lies in a coma dreaming this island. There were also mentionings of siphilis and alcholism.

magnolia_fan
19-02-2012, 04:39 AM
I got the mod because I'm curious about this non-game. I haven't installed it yet but I'm hoping to answer this burning question (at least to me). Why, if it's a game about a dude walking, couldn't the guys release it as a movie instead of releasing it as a "game" since your input (at least as I've seen) is limited to pressing the forward button and look around. You can save me the effort of holding that same button for 2 hours, arm pain included, and provide the same result.

Pants
19-02-2012, 08:13 AM
Re: the silhouette: yeah it's there, but it's definitely way harder to notice than in the mod. I took screenshots throughout and noticed the silhouette in some only when I was looking through them afterwards.

I'm really tempted to replay the mod after playing the remake last night. I remember the writing being a lot better in the mod, though that could just be memory. The writing in the remake felt kind of lazy to me, and I thought it tried too hard to be poetical. At least half of my narrations had something to do with bottomless boats.


I got the mod because I'm curious about this non-game. I haven't installed it yet but I'm hoping to answer this burning question (at least to me). Why, if it's a game about a dude walking, couldn't the guys release it as a movie instead of releasing it as a "game" since your input (at least as I've seen) is limited to pressing the forward button and look around. You can save me the effort of holding that same button for 2 hours, arm pain included, and provide the same result.

Didn't know you could move the camera around in a movie.. Seriously, I really don't understand the "why wasn't it just a movie" comments. I don't think this would work at all if you just watched it. A major aspect of the game is that you get to choose where to look and what path to take, and how long you want to linger in places. Instead of watching a space move in a frame, it places you directly within the space. It creates a far more contemplative experience, especially with the minimalistic gameplay.
But if you want to enjoy the experience, keep in mind that it was made as basically an experiment by an English Creative Technologies professor. And more importantly, keep an open mind and just take it all in.

Swimmer
19-02-2012, 06:36 PM
Ok, here are my thoughts on this game (totally subjective). Really liked the game btw.

There are several red threads throughout the game, but some of the clues in the text is different each playthrough. The most noticeable red threads through my played game were: Esther, Donnelly, Jacobsen (which I consider 3 separate persons), car crash at the Sandford junction in the UK, alcohol, pilgrimage to Damascus and the island itself (and the aerial ofc).

All the narrator's letters are written to Esther. There are 2 different pictures I've found, in the game depicting her. One is at the lighthouse showing a young girl and another at near the cliffs at the end showing a grown woman. To me Esther is the last. The narrator talks several times, of driving on the freeway, missing a offramp and being involved in a car accident.
This is also shown in the underwater scene between the caves and the cliffs. Also he talks of alcohol, of driving drunk, of Esther being drunk and of swerving to avoid a bird.
Also regarding the alcohol, then a lot of the drawings on the walls are of the chemical component C2H5OH which is ethanol, in other words alcohol.
I interpret this as the narrator and Esther driving in a car together on the freeway, possibly to a food convention (yoghurt?), him missing an offramp, and having to swerve to avoid a swooping bird and as a result of being drunk he crashes at the Sandford junction. The bird is not only described in the text but also several times through the game, one of them at the lighthouse, where the player ducks down to avoid a bird swooping in overhead.
She dies (he alludes to her death certificate in the final cut scene at the aerial, and a defibrillator is shown at the end by the cliffs) and he's hospitalized (narrator mentions uncles and aunts visiting at the hospital, broken femur and broken arm).

After that he gets a electrical degree (paper shown lying on the floor at the lighthouse and at the caves), and (my interpretation) gets a job as maintenance guy on the aerial (a modern day electrical lighthouse) at the remote Hebridean island.
There in his solitary state he goes slightly mad, and on one of his trips to the caves, possibly to maintain the aerial, he falls and and breaks his femur (which is narrated). He takes pain medication (shown throughout the game) and candles from the coasted trawler but gets a blood infection from the untended wound.
Affected by the pain medication and the critical, deadly infection and the resulting fever, he decides to make his own pilgrimage to the aerial, painting the walls along the way and lighting candles to mark the path and honor his wife (?) and to end his life and join Esther again.

The importance of Jacobsen to me, seems to be as a sort of parallel to the narrator. He also lived alone on the island, a bachelor, and also died alone, unknown to anyone. Donnolly I still interpret to be a historian depicting the history of the island and the fate of Jacobsen.

That said I still don't know who Paul is.. The narrator also mentions a guy handing him a cup with a molecular diagram written on the outside and I'm guessing that's him, but what's his importance to the plot? And what are the importance of the electrical diagrams on the walls? Wikipedia mentions the possibility of faulty brakes?

I think the story is great and I love how the narrator in his deluded state (again in my interpretation) blends past with present (like Esther Donnolly and Paul Jacobsen at the end).

Swimmer
19-02-2012, 06:42 PM
And totally agree regarding the silhouette. I noticed it at the cliffs in the final chapter.

deano2099
19-02-2012, 07:18 PM
I got the mod because I'm curious about this non-game. I haven't installed it yet but I'm hoping to answer this burning question (at least to me). Why, if it's a game about a dude walking, couldn't the guys release it as a movie instead of releasing it as a "game" since your input (at least as I've seen) is limited to pressing the forward button and look around. You can save me the effort of holding that same button for 2 hours, arm pain included, and provide the same result.

Why a movie and not a book? Or just publish the screenplay? It's a different experience. If nothing else, first-person movies tend to suck.

NecroKnight
19-02-2012, 07:35 PM
Swimmer, this is really an great intrepretation of Dear Esther, it made me think. I also wonder what is the simbolism of the narrator turning in a sea gull at the end when he jumps from the aerial.