Few video games exist that allow a reasonable argument to be made for the consideration of video games as an art form, although Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Limbo, Okami, and Grim Fandango could construct rather strong cases. You can now add Dear Esther to this list. This indie experiment defies categorization — indeed, Dear Esther is best described as an instance of interactive, atmospheric storytelling rather than a game. To say more would run the risk of ruining a very worthwhile experience, but Dear Esther is at once a poignant, beautiful, and slightly melancholy journey worth taking. You can grab Dear Esther now on Steam for the extremely reasonable price of $9.99.
In other gaming news this week, Journey has a street date, Mass Effect 3 is going into orbit, and mechs hit the gaming scene once again.
- If you’re in the market for a unique multiplayer experience (and lots of sand), Journey now has an official release date of March 13.
- Mass Effect 3 has launched... into outer space. Really. No, really.
- Have you grown tired of slaughtering the denizens of Steelport with mollusks and giant purple dildo bats? Change it up and kill aliens instead. The Gangstas in Space DLC is now available on all platforms for Saints Row: The Third.
- The former editors-in-chief of Joystiq, Kotaku, and The Escapist have launched a new gaming blog over at The Verge. Check it out!
- CCP is working hard to try and make EVE Online more accessible and newbie-friendly.
- Attention, adventurers! Naughty Dog has released a new map pack for Uncharted 3, and is also teasing the release of a new co-op survival mode in March.
- Do you long for the days of MechWarrior and Shogo? Get your mech on with Hawken, which will be free-to-play in December.
- Film noir fans, rejoice — Max Payne 3 will be here soon. While you wait, check out the latest trailer over at Rockstar Games’ official Max Payne 3 site.
- Grab your jetpack. The Tribes: Ascend open beta hits this Friday, and is free-to-play.
- Craving some tropical island mayhem? Check out the latest Far Cry 3 trailer, which slightly reminds me of a cross between Hostel and The Ruins.
- And finally, Team Ico (whose games are, in keeping with our theme, among the strongest existing arguments for video games as art) confirms that they are, indeed, continuing to chip away at their latest project, The Last Guardian, which is (extremely) tentatively scheduled for release later this year.