Dear Esther is the game that helped to create a sub-genre in video games upon its full arrival in 2012; the walking simulator. As I've mentioned before the genre divides opinion amongst gamers but for me it doesn't matter. As soon as Dear Esther started and I was confronted with the sound of crashing waves, views of an old abandoned building and a melancholic voiceover I was invested.
But even more than the game it is the music that has remained with me. Even after all these years I can still remember the sound of the delicate piano theme.
I am a big fan ofthe composer and game co-creator, Jessica Curry and it was through this game that I discovered her. So a chance to see the score performed live with a playthrough of the game with Dan Pinchbeck, the other co-creator of The Chinese Room and Curry's husband , was unmissable for me and I can honestly say that I wasn't disappointed. The venue, the Milton Hall at the Barbican, was a sellout and there was a diverse range of audience members. On a huge projected screen the game was set up ready to be played, the opening scene left for all to admire as the auditorium filled up.
Upon starting the game Pinchbeck made his way through the game, stopping at opportune moments to show the beauty of the game, and the live narrator read excerpts from the games script, which sent warm waves of nostalgia through me. The orchestra played the entire soundtrack andalongside the perfectly frames shots, it shows that Dear Esther is still a handsome game.
The concert lasted 1 1/2 hours and was a wonderful experience, reducing the elderly lady sat next to me in the front row to tears. At the end of the concert Curry came on stage to receive a bow and thank the orchestra and her husband. After the concert I headed down to collect my bag from the cloakroom and overheard many people sharing their opinions about the game and reminiscing about the game, it was great being amongst my nerdy peers and the environment being inclusive and non-toxic.
I hope this concert starts a trend for other game studios to perform their soundtracks live with a playthrough of their games as I do feel that there is definitely an audience for it.