Finding our way in the diaspora of game worlds

I Have as Yet Been Unable to Pull Ashore

Dear Esther is an experience rich in narrative allusions. Noticeable amongst these are its flashbacks to a fateful journey upon Britain’s motorway network. These maps, which were submitted by contributor Gemmy (originally, before I’d experienced the game for myself), highlight a rather curious selection of roads in Great Britain and Ireland.

Included amongst this pile of degraded papers (or wallpaper?) and a presumed map of Europe is a water-damaged map of Great Britain and Ireland. Two bold tracks mark a route between Land’s End and John O’Groats. These tracks follow the major arteries of Britain’s road network, including:

  • A-roads past Bodmin, Launceston and Bude;
  • the M5 and M6 from Exeter to Carlisle via Birmingham;
  • the A74(M) and assorted motorways in lowland Scotland, leading to A-roads through the Grampians;
  • and an assortment of A-roads around Strathclyde, splitting off from Glasgow to take the highlands route via Fort William.

Given that we’re told of a car journey during letters read throughout Dear Esther, these maps contribute towards environmental storytelling to a rare degree.

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