The Endless Forest
Reviewed by Nov 13th, 2009

f1The Endless Forest is sort of gamelike but without any real objectives. You download the setup file, which is free, install, and run it. If you go to the website, you are asked to name your deer and make a password. When you input these into the game, you will see that you now have a personalized deer with a pictogram name floating between its horns. Other players, also deer, are in the forest, and you can interact with them. Deer can’t talk, but they can bow to show respect, rub against trees, lie down, and dance. The more deer dancing together, the louder the music is. You do actions by clicking the icons that appear at the bottom of the screen. You move by clicking a leaf cursor on the ground where you want your deer to go. You can acquire magic spells in the forest and use them on other deer.

From the website:

The Endless Forest is a multiplayer online game and social screensaver, a virtual place where you can play with your friends. When your computer goes to sleep you appear as a deer in this magical place. There are no goals to achieve or rules to follow. Just run through the forest and see what happens

f2Additionally, the game creators have done sort of live performances online which happen in the world of The Endless Forest, which are called Abiogenesis. This involves the game creators, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, appearing as the Forest Gods and making weird things happen. They did this weekly or so for a few years.

This is the third part, the first two parts were also released free and also as installations in museums and it has developed over the years. As with The Path, you can navigate the forest by following compass-like points on the edges of the screen. Places to go include the pond, the Old Oak, and the Ruin.

Having played both The Path and The Graveyard before this, I can sort of appreciate the sentiment, but I would rather play The Path. Not just for the fact that it is a much more complex and interactive game, but because these both take place in a similar forest and the forest in this feels a bit incomplete and unimpressive in comparison, like a study for the final product rather than a finished product in itself. The compass-like nature of the icons at the end of the screen is similar as well, but I guess if it’s not broken, you shouldn’t try to fix it. The color schemes, the fun of rubbing against trees, and the ambiance make it a worthwhile download, but again, The Path was just more impressive in a lot of ways.

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