… is a game. Although there are plenty of equivocations doing the rounds to redefine the term ‘game’ in order to include it in the club, Dear Esther (much like The Stanley Parable) is not a game. It’s a virtual promenade, a gallery of ideas mediated by walking. It’s really quite interesting as a thing in its own right, and I recommend you see it much as I would recommend you go visit the Tate Modern.
But I think the folks trying to mix this and game are doing both a disservice. A game is not defined simply by the ability to walk, but to cause meaningful change within it. Virtual promenades are aiming more for the artistry of the interactive gallery or the amusement ride (depending on their flavour) where the choices are there to simply trigger scripted events.
Some will disagree, or assail the meaning of ‘game’ as a way to characterise my position as limited. With respect, if that’s your takeaway from this post then you’re probably not grasping what I mean.