Alex Ros is not a nickname, but a real one. I have a higher education diploma as a film director. And I've been practically working as a film editor for nearly 8 years. At the right moment since the summer of 2009 I'm working at the viral advertising agency ECHOVIRUSES mostly as a scriptwriter and copywriter, but sometimes I am also editing and making some special effects. As for game development since 2008 I am investing some time in modding and learning the details of the process of professional game development. I am one of the authors of the OLD GOOD STALKER MOD: CLEAR SKY and the only author of atmospheric addon DEPRESSIVE ZONE also for STALKER: CLEAR SKY. Generally I am interested in expansion of the gaming industry in the direction of the so called art-games and indie experimental games.

Report RSS Dear Esther or Experience Death

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Art is always a description of our world. And a good piece of art is always a new description of our world. Thousands years ago we lived on a dish plane, floating over infinite universal ocean. We were the center and we were heroes. And there were Achilles and Odyssey. Time had passed and we found out there's a righteous God abides somewhere at the heavenly clouds and simultaneously there's a malicious Devil at the underground roots of volcanoes in the ocean of fire. Heroes transformed into faithful honorable knights, slaughtering hundreds of damned unbelievers in the name of the true God. Not so long time ago we assumed that we might be all alone in the endless space of uncountable galaxies, there's no God, no Devil, no afterword. Heroes have become a forever suffering philosophers, steppenwolves. There's no good or bad, there's no reward in afterlife, but is there anything hiding on the other side of our dreams? Is there anything awaiting us when our heart finally stops? And fears came out with Edgar Poe and Howard Lovecraft stories. And even unexplored cosmos is greeting us with hostile predators and xenomorphs. Thankfully all those creatures and living nightmares are just a few of answers among thousands of different possibilities what is out there, what is beyond...

Here we are at the island. So solitary and desolated that our only friend and companion is our mind. It takes a few minutes to realize that we are finally free of thoughts about our colleges, our subordinates and superiors, our friends and girlfriends, our parents. It's surely not a vacation at the tropical beach we were planning for the next summer. There's no bikini girls to stare at. But we are staring at the dusk and what should be the most everyday-common thing now perceived like a never-seen-before miracle. We are slowly climbing the stairs, overgrown with weeds and flowers. And rhythmically swaying grass in the wind do catches our attention. Stop! It can't be happening!?! Is not the grass in the wind anything that could not ever catch out attention? It's not an important thing like a traffic light or a sealed envelope with a monthly salary!!! These stones and sand and waves and flowers and stairs and meaningless lighthouse are just nothing! They are of no importance!!! But they are kinda peaceful nothing, soothing nothing, restful nothing... what is that out there I see? Someone painted something on the beach sand. I do not understand... what is that formula on the stone I found? Damn chemistry! And by the way what these standing stones themselves are? Seems like it's something ritual, something like a burial grounds. Is anything horrible awaits for me somewhere out there? But strangely it doesn't feels creepy. This crystal clear tiny brook, streaming in between the cold stones, babbles very nicely and makes this deserted place a welcome one... yeah, but... where the hell am I? Seems like nobody is going to answer as long as I am all alone here. Donnely? Sounds very familiar. Esther? What a lovely romantic name. Should I know it? Dear Esther. What can I tell you? My own thoughts and memories are messed like a... wait... what's that out there? The remains of the crashed boat on the rocks! That's how I got here!!! That's why I don't remember anything! We crashed and I might hit my head and... just a moment... is not that fishing boat crashed here a million years ago? It looks so aged and rusted. So that's not an answer. Should I be surprised? Somehow I knew there would be no easy answers. But do I have any questions? I am sure there's a question, flickering inside my head like a red light dot of a far-away radio-tower. But I can't clearly formulate and pronounce-aloud that question... not yet... if this whole voyage could be a game I presume that the goal would be to always keep on trying to clearly formulate and pronounce-aloud that question. But this is not a game. I am all alone and here's nobody to play with.

Do you mind walking around with me? Whom am I talking to? Am I inviting my own self for a walk? A yellow light beacon is floating not so far from the shore. Whom does it call or warn? Huge cargo ship, heavily distorted by a crash. Rusted and aged and overgrown with grass and flowers as everything else out here. There's nothing interesting there... and... the more I walk around here the island the more I realize that I am myself is the most interesting attraction and puzzle here. I do not even remember when I was completely alone. One on one with myself. Isn't it a type of a dialogue I was missing for years? What do you want? What do you think should you do tomorrow? Tomorrow and after tomorrow. How do you want to live and... wait... no... that question... later... I'd better go to investigate that house on the hill, impressively glowing red in the lights of the sunset. Nothing there, as always. Just a pack of the musical notes, unfinished melodies. Isn't it a grave behind the house? When I was young I also saw my future as a musician. But it didn't happen. A lot of what I was dreaming of when I was young didn't happen. This house and the grave are like my own forgotten unrealized dreams. Metaphorically this whole island is like a... once again... that question... do I really need to answer it? Surely I can do that later. What's that down there? Looks like a whale skeleton. But it's just another one crashed ship on the beach. This island is full of crashes... crash... hm... later. There's a cave entrance, calling me with it's songs...

Wait a second!?! I am sitting in front of a computer. Right? And I have wasted my money on buying a new game. So what am I doing? Am I sitting in front of a computer at home and playing a game? Everything is vice versa!?! I am not playing the game and contrary the game forced me to play with myself. I am playing with my own dreams and thoughts and subconsciousness. That's ridiculous!!! There's nothing happening, there're no cutscenes, there're no enemies, there're no riddles, there's nothing at all except the landscape. Also there's a question. Not even so intriguing, not so mysterious, just a question that screaming aloud for an answer... but... oh... and I know the answer.

The moment of death is a miracle. The same unrepeatable miracle as the moment of getting born. And it becomes clear when you enter the caverns of shimmering lights and unearthly colors. I am dead and I was always dead. The very first step on the shore of this deserted island was a very first step to the other side. And simultaneously this other side is deep inside. This place is full of crashed dreams and finally I got crashed myself. That's the answer. Momentary death in a crash. What do you think my dear Esther? Is not that island what I was in life and that's my way to the afterlife? And right now I am here at the most indescribably beautiful part of myself, at the caverns of subconsciousness. The incredible maze of unpronounced thoughts and unrealized dreams. The source of all the tiny brooks, of all the rivers and lakes, of the endless ocean of the imagination. Esther, my dear, I wish I could show you this hidden part of myself. Isn't it too late? What I was thinking about when I was alive? Where's my time? How could I crash all those tiny boats and gigantic ships? It's a little bit frightening how easily we could get lost in the caves. But isn't it exactly what do I want to right now? To get lost and roam forever. The water is flowing and I am following it's breeding streams. The spiral of waterfalls. The downward spiral that leads upwards. Look up and stare at the lights, stop and stare at your final destination...

Could this all be just those infamous 3 minutes, when the human body is already dead and brains are still living? Or could this be a vision of the Limbo? And am I supposed to walk through that modern Limbo to get to Heaven? Could this be a... it could. There's a lot of possibilities what exactly this island is about. The only thing I am sure about is that it's not a game. And I believe that it's the most interesting game possible. That's not a game leading into an imaginary world of intriguing events and characters. And that's the game leading you to your own story. This is the virtual world that forces you to see your own world, the world of yourself. That's not what games are supposed to be. But that is what art is supposed to be. "Dear Esther" is a new description of our world. "Dear Esther" is a new metaphor of what is our universe and what is beyond and what is inside of us. "Dear Esther" forces, disturbs and leads you to become not a player, but an author. There's no other way to enjoy "Dear Esther", but to become a co-author of this virtual world. This is a dead piece of rock overgrown with crashed ships. There's nothing real interesting out there at the isolated and deserted island if your own mind is isolated and deserted. You won't be satisfied if you just sit down and listen to the voice mutterings and music scapes. It's not an audio book. It's not a pack of visuals and level design tutorials. You can't be entertained if there's nothing entertaining in your own imagination. "Dear Esther" is surely an experiment. But is not an experiment what art is supposed to be? "Dear Esther" is unfinished. But is there any piece of art that is truly finished? Jorge Luis Borges, the most famous Spanish author of short-stories, was asked once in a interview: "How do you finish your stories?" And Jorge answered: "There's no single story that I truly finished. There's always something to polish and as a result the process of writing is infinite. But then my editor just comes and picks up the manuscript."

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