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What I Played This Week - Elegy for a Dead World


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Although I haven’t been able to play a lot of games recently (final year of uni is no joke, and job seeking is even less fun), the one that I have managed to get back into while not sacrificing too much time has been Elegy for a Dead World.

My fiction writing was traded for stories from the real world, and though it never fails to disappoint friends and family, I couldn’t be happier about that. However, on the rare occasions, I miss creative writing, I go back to Elegy for a Dead World.

Despite its positively depressing, or to put it more lightly, melancholic name, this game is lovely and offers a much different experience than usual. A collaboration between Dejobaan Games and Popcannibal Games, Elegy for a Dead World is a side-scrolling exploration game, where the players create a sort of captain’s logs as they explore three alien worlds, named after Shelley, Byron, and Keats.

Storytelling beats action in this game, and once your creative muscles and fingers have become tired from all that writing, you can have a look at what other people have written. On that note, the achievements – get 1000 commendations on your top 10 stories on each world – is quite hard in fact. The point of the game, both narratively speaking and gameplay wise, is collaborative writing.

From a writer’s perspective, the game is incredibly useful, as you are forced to focus on world-building, think up functions of various everyday items, and conjure the millennia-old history of peoples, who have gone through a vast change. Not to mention the graphics are gorgeous, and will definitely bring back that spark of inspiration.

For a game where the player is the main wordsmith, Elegy for a Dead World features a decent amount of lore. You play an astronaut stranded in space, and though you’ve managed to contact your point of origin, there’s little hope left and your original mission remains the same – explore the three worlds, named after British poets.

That gives the whole game a state of immediacy and importance but also inspires a sort of wistfulness through the whole experience. Though you are as doomed as these abandoned, dead worlds, writing out the history and everyday life of these people carries a sense that while you might be gone, your words will live on.

Which is exactly what you need when writer’s block hits.

Elegy for a Dead World is available on Steam.


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