Tag Archives: indie game

Kern Plays: “Dear Esther: Landmark Edition”

Hey guys, it’s Kern here with a little bit of gameplay. Dear Esther is basically a walking simulator with a heavily laced narrative focus. Due to that I won’t be diving too deep on this one, there isn’t much to explain.

Dear Esther is a first person point-of-view exploration first and foremost. Although you might also coin it an adventure game, I’m hesitant to do that. There’s really no enemies or prevailing threats. All that you’ll find here is a riveting story… 

Kern Plays: Dear Esther

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Dear Esther was developed by The Chinese Room for the PC, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. The game was first released in 2008 as a free to play model. Later on, the game was entirely redeveloped for a commercial release in 2012.

As I said above, the game features very minimal gameplay at best, which is why it is often called a “walking simulator” a phrase you generally either love or hate as a gamer.

Personally, I think games like these have their own value, particularly if well written prose is the goal ambition of the design from the start. Dear Esther showcases this perfectly. Really, you only have one main objective here; explore the island the narrator stands upon. While you explore around and get your bearings, a troubled man explains his turmoil and reads a series of letters to his beloved, yet deceased, wife. Details of her death are slowly revealed as you explore around the island.

That’s about it… no really… that’s the basics of the game.

It is noteworthy to state that despite the minimalist style and gameplay, the game was critically acclaimed for the story it tells. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it horror, but if you are the imaginative sort, it can be a bit unsettling.

When 2017 came around, an updated version known as the Dear Esther: Landmark Edition was released, based on the Unity engine. That’s the one I’m playing in the video.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest, and level grinds are par for the course. ..

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Kern Plays: Dinner with an Owl

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here! Good games sometimes come in small packages, often times when you least expect it. That’s what happened to me when I played a game called Dinner with an Owl.

It was a game I streamed live on Twitch late at night, long after Kresh was asleep. It is also now up on YouTube.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into with this thing, as the description only says this: Break the puzzling spell of your eccentric host! Dinner with an Owl: A short surreal point and click adventure.”

Kern Plays: Dinner with an Owl

Kern’s “let’s play” footage of Dinner with an Owl. This game was played in one sitting, as it is very short.

Part 1 of 1 (Watch on YouTube)

The game is exactly as it says it is, really. This game is short, and the puzzle itself is actually quite interesting. In retrospect, it was actually easy to solve, hiding in plain sight, but that’s what gave me such great difficulty.

The game is certainly “spoopy” instead of truly spooky or frightening in any way. Although it did catch me by surprise a few times, though not in a “jump scare” kind of way. It was more like a “Well, I wasn’t expecting that!” sort of way.

I’ll say this though, I doubt this is the sort of game anyone would want to play or watch more than once. If you’d like to experience the game yourself, go and do that instead of watching anyone play it, myself included.

Don’t worry about barriers to entry, there really isn’t any that I can think of. If you have a computer that’s even remotely functional, this game shouldn’t give you any issues. It’s free and you can get it over on Steam, so the price is right too.

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If you like slightly grim point and click puzzle games, this one is worth a look. What we have here is strictly that. Dinner with an Owl is a point and click adventure game with surreal and grim undertones. The somewhat “Spoopy” part of the game lingers within the confines of the narrative.

Originally, this game was part of a game jam in 2017. On May 18, 2021, the enhanced “Dessert Edition” was released on steam. This is the version is the one that you see me playing in the video above.

Dinner with an Owl is compelling to say the least, because it isn’t overly complex, but it isn’t mindlessly simple. It stands in a strange in-between. The graphics aren’t god awful, and fit the over all design of the game well enough to get by without complaint. The soundtrack has its own original lyrical song as well, and that’s something noteworthy for an entirely free title like this one.

The voice acting isn’t half bad either. It is certainly good enough not to be earsplitting or absolutely awful. To be honest, I actually found some of the voices to be perfectly fitting, notably the owl himself.

If I had one gripe, it’s the repetitive nature of the game itself when it comes to dialogue options, though since this game was originally a game jam project made by BoringSuburbanDad you can hardly fault the project for being lacking in that single aspect. This likely wouldn’t be as annoying of an issue if I had figured out the puzzle far earlier than I did.

I wasn’t expecting it to be so straightforward, and that’s what gave me such great difficulty. All-in-all, this is a compelling little game, all things considered. For what it is, I found it enjoyable, and the price was right too.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. Be sure to check out our other great content down below.

I’ll see you next time.

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