Kyle E. Miller
E3 2014: Elegy For a Dead World Preview
Elegy For a Dead World creates, at the very least, temporary authors. Perhaps some of them will become permanent.
06.13.14 - 3:33 PM

We've been talking about what it means to be a video game for a while now, but I've never played anything like Elegy. Maybe I didn't play it. Maybe it's not a game at all. Those might not be the words, but I don't like semantics, and I'm not sure I care when it's this good of an idea.

Elegy features three different landscapes in which the player is the sole observer of some sort of fallen civilization or post-apocalyptic world. There's almost no interaction besides movement, and the player has one simple, but challenging task: write the history of the landscape and the people that came before.

Players write a story from beginning to end. In the demo I played, I was given prompts, but in the final version I believe players will have a completely blank page. Perhaps there will be the option to include the prompts if you want them. When the player finishes the story, he or she can upload the story to the online community, where stories can be shared and read by everyone.

Elegy provides a place to imagine, write, and meditate. Maybe that sounds boring or pretentious (one of the devs was honest: the landscapes are based on poems by Keats, Shelley, and Byron, but the romantics are too genuinely enlightened and tortured to be pretentious), but facilitating creativity is necessary. Hopefully Elegy For a Dead World will feature stimulating enough visuals and music (that seems to be the case thus far) to create some new authors.

It's simple and elegant, and I wonder why I haven't seen anything like this yet.