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Is Dear Esther Still Poignant During a Speed Run? Let's Watch and Find Out.

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Indie sensation Dear Esther won lots of praise for its distinctive feel and moody narrative when it came out earlier this year. Even though it's short, The Chinese Room's experimental title is the kind of experience you take your time with so that the mournful vibe and lushly drawn virtual world can seep into your pores.

But one guy doesn't have time for all of that. In the video above—courtesy of Speed Demos Archive—Simon 'default' Albacke Eriksson speedruns through Dear Esther in 23 minutes. Apparently, just because he can. Usually, speed runs are challenges to execute the jumping, shooting and other precision movements of video gaming as quickly possible. But providing a skill-based challenge isn't really the point of Dear Esther. So, blasting your way through it is like speedrunning an art exhibit. "I made it through the new MoMA Impressionism exhibit in three minutes flat. BEAT THAT."


However, Eriksson's sprint through Dear Esther isn't all subversive. A sort of manic tension gets made manifest in the speed run and shifts the literary appreciation into a high-speed dread, almost as if the player is running away from all the talking. So, if someone else beats this time, Dear Esther might seem… scarier? Who knows?

DearEsther_SS_2353 [Speed Demos Archive]