Top Critic Average
The variety and quality of stories written by the community playing Elegy for a Dead World demonstrates the game's success at enabling its players to write effectively. Writing is so much more difficult than waggling a joystick or pressing buttons, and yet Elegy for a Dead World makes writing accessible to just about anyone who has the heart, and the courage, to try.
I wouldn't recommend Elegy to anyone but folks who actually want to take the time to write. Though some creative types will question the need for writing prompts, the fact remains that sometimes all you need is a good starting point.
Elegy for a Dead World will not be for everyone, and that is understandable. Coming from my English-centric background, I found it fascinating and reminiscent of some of the workshops and classes I've taken over my education. Being able to take a prompt and run with it as I saw fit is an excellent mental challenge and I can easily see this game being useful in classroom situations. While it may not find a place in the big leagues, Elegy fits within a niche group that will certainly be diehard fans.
Something that is fueled by subjectivity alone becomes a challenge to evaluate objectively, and perhaps even unfair, but Elegy for a Dead World still presents an experience that is all inclusive and doesn't look down on anyone who doesn't fully comprehend it. The beauty of it is that it will speak to almost anyone, because whether it's part of your education or one of your passions, writing and literature is an integral part of anyone's life, and so Elegy serves as a welcoming platform for anyone who wants to practice writing and polish their craft.
Elegy For A Dead World is a great provocation with some wonderful ideas behind it, but I'm not sure where the draw is after the first fifteen minutes. It is a game that could be wonderful with the inclusion of local or networked multiplayer (co-writing about these worlds would be magical) or a little more direction from the designers. That said, as it stands it is merely a set of good-to-great ideas that cohere in a form that failed to capture my imagination.
Elegy for a Dead World makes good on its title: it offers us dead worlds, filled with the debris of imagined and vanished civilizations. Through the game's scenes you walk alone, under the dread emptiness of outer space, all that harrowing solitude. And yet, as you write and send that writing out into the ether in search of a reader, you may well find contact and connection. If others read your work, your observations, your story, your sense and if they find truth or solace in your words, here is a framework designed to let you know, in turn, that you are not alone. In this sense, it is truly a game about humans' desire to write.
The latest from Dejobaan therefore seems like a stepping stone, a strong premise and peaceful beginning with little longevity and little to do outside the foundation of the game. You have to wonder if there will be more to write in the future.
Elegy for a Dead World is a game so unique that there is no point of reference for it. Nothing like this has been done before, and it fills a niche that many gamers will appreciate.