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Dear Esther

Dear Esther review

Lonely Island

87

1 year ago

Feature: Grim peaks.

Have you played… The Vanishing of Ethan Carter?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. Watching walking simulators evolve from the waffling emptiness of Dear Esther into remarkable narrative adventures like Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch has been one of my favourite spectator sports as a games journalist. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of the better stepping…

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3 years ago

Feature: First-person saunter

Alice And Pip: What Is (And Isn’t) A Walking Simulator?

Alice and Pip have been off wandering their way through digital worlds from Proteus to Sacramento and are now hobbling towards a shared definition of a walking simulator. Find out what conclusions they've reached and why their definition categorically does not include Dear Esther! Pip: Alice, when I asked you to recommend me your favourite walking simulators so I could go on some digital expeditions…

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Feature: Lights out

After The Rapture: The Chinese Room’s Next Game, Total Dark, Is An Isometric RPG

The next game from the creators of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs and Dear Esther will be a systems-driven isometric adventure, inspired by tabletop RPGs and wargames. I spoke to The Chinese Room's studio director Dan Pinchbeck about the game, Total Dark, and he explained that he's wanted to make a game driven by RPG-style mechanics for a long time.…

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Feature: A 36 year old man writes

5 Reasons Why I Play Games

1) Passivity makes me fidgety. Even in a film, TV show, gig or novel I'm hugely enjoying, my mind will at some point drift to the clock, wondering how soon until it ends, how soon until I can stand up or talk or check something or eat something or go somewhere. Awful, I know. Games, broadly, need me to be doing something most of the…

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4 years ago

Feature: On Everybody's Gone To The Rapture

Englishness

Warning: in this piece I'm primarily talking about Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, which isn't out on PC as yet, though I'll willingly devour at least one item of clothing if it doesn't walk this way eventually. Anyway, I talk about STALKER and Dear Esther too, so everything's OK. Playing The Chinese Room's new game, Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, what strikes me almost immediately…

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5 years ago

Feature: Creeping With The Fishes, Pt 1

SOMA’s Grip On BioShock Comparisons, Indie Influences

SOMA didn't scare the scuba suit off me, but I did find a creeping sort of potential in its soaked-to-the-bone corridors. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2 this ain't. Or at least, it's not aiming to be. Currently, it still feels a lot like a slower-paced, less-monster-packed Amnesia in a different (though still very traditionally survival-horror-y) setting, but Frictional creative director Thomas Grip has big plans.…

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6 years ago

Feature: Reflecting On Things

On Edge: A Chat With Robert Briscoe

This is the latest in the series of articles about the art technology of games, in collaboration with the particularly handsome Dead End Thrills. Robert Briscoe is obviously not the only great environment artist in games, and it's a bit weird to say he has a singular portfolio after working on just two titles. What makes it a lot easier is if you think in…

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Feature: Everybody's Gone To The PS4

Dear Esther Dev’s Rapture No Longer Coming To PC

Hello, everyone. I come bearing some extremely depressing news. The rapture's happening soon, but not to us. Hm, well jeez, when I phrase it that way, it doesn't sound terrible at all. What I mean to say is, Dear Esther developer thechineseroom's next non-Amnesia game, the super fascinating Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, is no longer coming to PC - at all, for the foreseeable…

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7 years ago

Feature: Press "Use" On Every Wall

A People’s History Of The FPS, Part 1: The WAD

"A People's History" is a three part essay series by Robert Yang. He told us that he wanted to write an alternate view of the traditionally accepted history of the FPS genre as entirely dominated and driven by the mainstream, commercial industry, and to "argue for a long-standing but suppressed tradition of non-industry involvement in the first-person genre". This is part one. In 1994, the…

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Feature: Read this article to unlock the good ending

Dear Videogames, Stop Telling Me Everything

When I beat the absolutely wonderful Thirty Flights Of Loving over the weekend, I had precisely one immediate reaction: “Wait, what just happened?” I cannot even begin to tell you how much that excites me. But then I decided to write an article about it, largely because one of my greatest passions in life is defying nonsencial figures of speech. At any rate, Thirty Flights…

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Feature: "You don’t have to play the piano to launch a rocket ship"

Fullbright On The Games Gone Home Is And Isn’t Like

Last week, I ran the first half of my recent chat with Steve Gaynor, formerly of Irrational and 2K Marin, and now of indie studio The Fullbright Company - who are working on mysterious, ambitious, suburban-set non-combat first-person game Gone Home. Being as I am an investigative journalist par excellence, I decided that it would be appropriate to spend the second half of the interview…

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To The Moneymobile! Antichamber Joins The IndieFund

Bundles, crowdsourcing - these are not the only ways to bring in suitable monies for an independently-developed videogame. Fascinatingly strange IGF Technical Excellence award-snatcher Antichamber - as experienced by one John Walker here - has been signed up as the seventh beneficiary of the Indie Fund. That's the investment initiative arranged by the likes of 2D Boy, Jon Blow, Capy and thatgamecompany. It follows in…

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A Fortnight Of IGF Demos Starts On Onlive Today

Onlive and the IGF are spooning for a fortnight. The sensual lovers are celebrating the Indie Gaming New Year by giving you access to 30 minute demos of 16 IGF finalists. The alphabetically sexy list of games is: Atom Zombie Smasher, Be Good, Botanicula, Dear Esther, Dustforce, English Country Tune, Frozen Synapse, FTL, Lume, Nitronic Rush, Once Upon a Spacetime, POP, SpaceChem, To the Moon,…

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Dear Esther Devs Making Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

As it was rumoured, so it shall be. Dear Esther's lead writer, Dan Pinchbeck, has revealed to Joystiq that thechineseroom are working on A Machine For Pigs, set in Amnesia's world, although it won't be a direct sequel to the dimly lit descent. It will, however, star a wealthy industrialist called Daniel Plainview Oswald Mandus, who returns from an ill-fated trip to Mexico in 1899…

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Decrypting & Dehairing Frictional’s ‘A Machine For Pigs’

Breaking news, if you were reading the internet a couple of days ago. Following a brief ARG, a tiny, hopeful squeak of detail has emerged for the next game from Amnesia devs Frictional. Frankly anything is more useful than 'it might be set in China, possibly', but in this case we have a couple of pieces of creepy, bloody concept art and a possible title.…

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Feature: 18 developers, 7 questions

The More Or Less Complete IGF Factor 2012

They said it would never end. And then, on Saturday, it did. We've been posting our series of chats with the many splendid finalists in this year's Independent Games Festival over the last couple of months, and, with the exception of English Country Tune (dev was worried about sounding boring), Mirage (dev didn't reply) and Fez (dev wouldn't confirm the possibility of a PC version)…

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Dear Esther, We Sold 16,000 Copies In A Day, Shepherds

Dear Esther, the minimalist first-person explorer, made its costs back in the first five and a half hours on sale. A quite remarkable achievement for an indie game, and a rather impressive vindication of The Indie Fund, the gathering of successful indies who are funding new projects. It has sold 16,000 copies in its first 24 hours, and made back all $55k they'd invested in…

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Feature: The colour purple

What I Alternatively Think: Dear Esther

John’s already presented his verdict on thechineseroom’s first-person ghost-esque story Dear Esther, but I’ve a thing or two I’d like to say about it myself. And not just because I like to oppress John at any opportunity I get. It's because Dear Esther really did work its dark, metaphysical magic upon me. This write-up will contain spoilers unbound; do not read on if you haven’t…

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Feature: thechineseroom does the chat

IGF Factor 2012: Dear Esther

Hauntingly beautiful, exploration-based first-person ghost story Dear Esther (a lavish remake of the mod of the same name) is up for the Excellence In Visual Art, Excellence In Audio, Nuovo Award and Seamus McNally Grand Prize at this year's Independent Games Festival. As part of our series chatting to the creators of (almost) all the PC and Mac-based finalists, today we talk to Robert Briscoe,…

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