Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The SteamWorks: Steam Summer Sale and Dear Esther Mini Review

Hey Gang,

Wow, can you believe we're already halfway through the summer?! I hope those of you who are off are having a good time! We've been very busy here at Project: Better Dolphin as we prep for NYCC, play some awesome games to review for you guys, and get the latest scoops in the gaming industry. Today I'm going to tell you guys about Steam's Summer Sale and Dear Esther:

~Steam Summer Sale: So for those of you living under a rock, there's this awesome free gaming network run by Valve called Steam that gamers use to connect with their friends and purchase games online. Well, from July 12th to July 22nd, Steam is running an annual Summer Sale where you can get great games for pretty cheap prices. There are all sorts of cool deals such as flash deals, which are sweet deals that last for about 12 hours, and the community vote, which is where everyone votes on a popular game to discount (Today was -50% off Skyrim). People such as Chazz and I myself have already reaped the benefits of the sale already; I've bought Dear Esther, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dead Island, Bioshock, Bioshock II, Half Life, and Half Life II. I have only spent around $35, so that's pretty awesome because normally Bioshock II alone would probably run me around $15-$20. So, if you have the resources to take advantage of these amazing deals, you really need to.

***Note: Upcoming Review contains spoilers***

~ Dear Esther: So as I said above, I played Dear Esther yesterday, really only because Chazz recommended it and I got it for like $2. Now I know Chazz already talked about Dear Esther at Shatterblog!, but I'd like to talk to you about my experience, because as I'll get to later, each person's is different. When I started playing, I was already in a glum mood and was kinda upset. This game made me want to crawl in a hole and die. I don't mean that as "the game was awful," what I mean was that the game was extremely depressing. It was also really confusing. I didn't quite get what the point was. It was very ... boring. I couldn't stand how slow the player walked. This mysterious narrator kept talking to me about his journey on this island looking for a hermit, and the whole time I was trying to connect the dots but couldn't. Then I committed suicide off the top of the radio tower. Now I must admit the graphics were phenomenal. But when I left the game I felt almost incomplete.

So I searched on the Google: "Didn't get Dear Esther". My result was this blog post. This man is a genius. Basically what he's saying is that there's really no point to Dear Esther (like Minecraft), and everyone finds what they want to in it. For him, there was no plot to be discovered, but it was like a simulated walk on the beach at night. It simulated that feeling of loneliness and emptiness but also the beauty that comes with that emptiness. Through this post I found faith in Dear Esther. Everything sort of wrapped together. I realized that I had found something in that game already and didn't realize it until after I read this post. He also explained that you should play the game with all distractions put aside, lights off, at night.

Although there's lots of debate on whether the game should (normally) be priced at $10 because it's only a 90 minute game with almost no re-playable value, it's almost the same as a movie. We pay $10 to see movies that are around an hour and a half long, why isn't it the same with gaming? Is it because we seek some re-playable value? Final verdict: While it's a bit hard to process Dear Esther at first, it's a great awakening experience that brings out serious emotions.

Score: 7.5/10

Also, before I take my leave, I'd like to submit an idea to our audience. If you haven't noticed yet, there's a poll on the right hand side of our blog; I'd like to know if you guys think it'd be a good idea for two PBD team members to pair up and have a written debate over a certain gaming/movie/media topic. I invite you to participate in the poll and feel free to let us know in the comments section of our blog some of the topics you'd like to see debated.

Peter, The SteamWorks

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