The oddballs at F**k this Jam have created a platform for video game developers to make a game in a genre they hate. The reason for this madness, “Through utter ignorance for conventions and hate for the established rules of a genre, beautiful things will happen.”
I’d like to direct your attention to one such creation of ‘beauty’ called Dear Esteban.
Dear Esteban is a parody of Dear Esther, one of the most deeply moving games I have ever played. According to the developers of Dear Esteban, Travis Chen and Nolan Fabriciu, the reason for this madness happened because, “We love Dear Esther. Dear Esteban was made in good fun & parody. Dear Esteban is not so much 'F**k This'. It's more a love letter to Dear Esther from the weird kid who doesn't have a shot but you kind of feel bad for.”
The game synopsis sounds legit.
The engrossing world of Dear Esteban was created for a very simple purpose: to blow an existential hole in a player’s perception of their own reality. We wanted to present a story so enriching to the human condition that years from the initial play through the player will look back and think: "How was I ever that naive child before Dear Esteban pulled the wool off my eyes". We've created an interactive tour de force so powerful society at large will have no choice but to acknowledge video games as mankind ultimate art form and the final stage before the event horizon of the human singularity.
Dear Esteban is a free-to- play download for PC or Mac. I simply couldn’t resist the beckoning call of curiosity, so I played the game. It took five minutes to play, five more after that to replay to make sure I really explored all the things, and then the rest of my Sunday afternoon regretting I had played it all. :S
Your journey begins in a lovely autumn coloured field at mid-afternoon. A male voice starts rambling incoherent nonsense as soon as you start walking. You follow a linear path through a small field with clay pots placed in a seemingly random fashion around it. Turns out it’s not so random, but placed strategically to either give you a dose of fright as you pass it, or to have you burst out in a fit of maniacal laughter.
After the Skeleton-In-The-Pot bit you encounter a group of buildings with painted images scrawled on the walls. Brace yourself, it gets stranger - as you walk up the hill just after the buildings, a humongous floating Orca swings by, or rather swim/floats above you. As you continue to follow the meandering path the extremely irritating narrator reaches a new height of nonsensical blabber. He spews out thoughts like a teenager on a bad acid trip.
Your promised perception of reality mind job reaches its full climax when you reach the top of the next hill. On the hill stands a wooden windmill, a statue of a dog like animal and the sun glaring in your eyes. All I could make out from the narrator’s story was something about motorcycles. Everything abruptly stops, leaving you, the player, or rather test subject, or foolish curious gamer to aimless wander around trying to find what you have missed.
But that’s just the point, isn’t it? You missed nothing, it means nothing and it’s a senseless, useless journey. Or is it… You cannot help but wonder, what if… What if it does mean something? What if the game contains a hidden truth of beauty and mystery and you are somehow just too dumb or shallow to catch it.
Much like I think, how a few gamers felt after playing Dear Ester ;)
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