Explore dead civilizations, write about what you find, and share your stories with the universe: a game about writing fiction.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (94 reviews) - 84% of the 94 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 10, 2014

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Reviews

“And there, I think, is where Elegy will really succeed. It’s lovely to write your own short tale, but it can be even more fun to then read how many other people interpreted the same material.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“I honestly dare someone to look at these hand-painted landscapes and not feel inspired in some way”
Kill Screen

About This Game

In Elegy, you'll travel to three worlds and write stories about their long-dead societies. You’ll lose yourself in settings inspired by the works of poets Keats, Byron, and Shelley, and use the game's system of writing prompts to help create your own masterpieces.



Explore 27 different writing challenges, through which you create narratives about the worlds you visit, from multiple perspectives. In one challenge, you play an archaeologist, uncovering clues and writing about a city's final days; in another, you're a thief, composing a song about searching the wreckage for valuables; and in another, you're a bard penning a lament in rhyming couplets.



The developers created Elegy to share the joy of creative expression -- ideally, they want to give non-writers an environment in which they can tell stories. With visuals inspired by Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner, the game provides a playground for individual imagination, and a community where everyone is an artist. Elegy's developers, Dejobaan Games and Popcannibal, are leaving the discussion of what art or a game is to critics, and merely asking gamers, "What will you write?"



When you've finished writing a story, share it with other players via Steam Workshop; then read others' works, and commend your favorites.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: Dual Core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D card with 512MB
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X version 10.7.5 or later.
    • Processor: Dual Core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D card with 512MB
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
    • Processor: Dual Core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D card with 512MB
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Very Positive (94 reviews)
Recently Posted
spacearchaeology
( 3.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 18
A gorgeous execution of a unique concept. I only wish that there were more worlds to explore - I could wander desolate landscapes for days on end if they kept going, but there's probably only a few hours of entertainment here for most players - soaking up the atmospherics and jotting down your thoughts.

You play a solo explorer visiting three dead worlds in turn, composing short works of fiction from writing prompts at different points in the side-scrolling scenery. When finished, you can publish and share your writings with other xenoarchaeologists.

If the concept piques your interest, I heartily recommend it.
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Norma_Cenva
( 1.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 21
I adore this game, it is one of a kind, at least for me, I know of no others that are similar. And it stands out on so many levels! It is a great helper for writers in particular, it alo fits great as a warm-up exercise if you re doing NaNoWriMo. The design is very colourful and atmospheric too.
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Federz
( 6.9 hrs on record )
Posted: April 4
Really great game for what it is, took a risk buying this but thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
Only downside is how it only has 3 worlds to write about...if this has mods to make more worlds or something this will be awesome.
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OdinHHLocksley
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 3
This is a really amazing idea, and the game as it is provides a wealth of inspiration and enjoyment - but be aware that there are only three unique worlds to explore and you can only explore them in point to point fashion linearly, over and over again. There's so much potential here, and the artwork really is superb - unfortunetly it seems that the developers, being personally satisfied with their creation, have little interest in expanding the game and adding features. I don't feel that my $15 was in any way wasted on this game - I'll keep playing it until I've at least had fun with some of the writing prompts, but for anyone thinking about buying: be aware that there are limitations to the game that may not be apparent simply from glancing at it or watching the trailer.

Really what this feels like is a super polished beta of a real game - totally servicable, but refusing to live up to its potential.
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Swaggy Kat
( 7.6 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
Damn! Best game ever! When I played, I had this feeling in my heart. I made the best stories I could write, I shared it with my friends ... Made a few limericks, too. Recommended 100%! Now, let me finish my stories ...
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Raid
( 3.2 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
~Only recommended for those interested in writing, and want a framework/inspiration to build that writing.

Elegy for a Dead World is a game that I'd had on my wishlist for some time. It intrigued me as a writing prompt with incredible images, beautiful and captivating settings, and interesting outlines to fill in with stories. In practice it's somewhat interesting but there isn't a lot of reason to utilize the game in order to write*. It's a nice looking game, and does it it sets out to do. While I recommend it, I don't think it's something that I'll return to very often. I'd rather just write without the use of this game.

*As a side note, and has been pointed out in the discussion threads, the developers really missed a great chance to get more people writing by including three impossible achievements instead of smaller ones that people may have actually pursued. Receiving 1000 upvotes across ten stories requires an awful lot of participation from the fans of a game that is about writing and, not reading. Sure, you want to share your stories with people, and you want people to read the stories and such created within the game but that number is absurd. There are a great many better ways that the achievements could have been implemented to engage the player base in a way that would prompt participation - completing stories using each of the prompts, sharing your stories or other's stories on social media, upvoting, or even running a writing contest using the game as an engine. Unfortunately none of that is realized and the game is unfortunately, much like the shells of the civilizations you explore in-game, left empty and lifeless.
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Sydney's World
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: March 9
As a father and an educator, Elegy stoked the interest of both.

I first went through one of the worlds with a writing prompt, and then had my 9 year old daughter do the same. She couldn't really understand mine, but was quite pleased with hers. I enjoyed both.

There are some potential limitations in gameplay replay if there are only the three worlds, which are rather short to play through, but the writing possibilities with the many different prompts available are varied and deep.

I would love to get this into my school, but as in most schools in this era, administrators, (including, ironically, directors of technology) stand as guardians of the status quo and block anything that is not Brainpop, or the like.

In time, I see Elegy and other digital game-based learning becoming commonplace in education. Elegy's merits are clearly superior to the ubiquitious worksheets of today. Any teacher with an open mind should be able to see it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
LogsiticBaton42
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: January 18
Great game, really deep, you make your own stories. Fun & addictive at times, plus the theme is really great.
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PKCoralissa
( 8.1 hrs on record )
Posted: December 26, 2015
I will be honest. The only reason I am here on Steam is because of Elegy for a Dead World.

I will first describe my motivations behind the said-sole reason a little bit, before I share about my experiences in the game and what I think of it.

As a writer and casual gamer, I was absolutely thrilled to discover this game some months back. A game where one can write?? Who knew that writing and gaming would one day be so elegantly combined?

I wanted it so much that it was at the top of my wishlist from the moment I read about its existence. I waited patiently until I had the right time to do whatever I needed to do to get my hands on the game. Install Steam, even though I never had plans to do so previously. Purchase Elegy for a Dead World, even though I had never purchased any games or in-game purchases. This was the game that would make me change my plans.

And was the plunge worth it? Oh hell yeah.

I loved the gorgeous visuals that greeted me when the game launched. I chose to enter Keats' world, and I was not dissapointed. It was simply breathtaking, so beautiful that I explored so slowly, just to soak in the views, notice all the little details. The audio crept up on me, mysterious, subtle, haunting, but never too overwhelming, which helps to evoke the atmosphere of the world. All these little things add up to create a richly-inspiring landscape, which is very helpful to writing if you ask me.

But the best bit was, of course, the writing. I was surprised to find that there are several types of prompts to choose from, which would definitely allow me to revisit the same world multiple times, because different sets of prompts would inspire completely different tales in my head. One of the choice of freeform writing is fantastic too. Even though I really appreciated the prompts triggering my imagination and creativity, I like knowing that I do have the choice to use the freedom to write whatever I want in that world.

My first try was to fill in the blanks at Keats' world. Not only did I enjoy the act of writing a tale inspired by such a breathtaking setting, my brain was already coming up with ongoing streams of ideas even before I received each prompt. The prompts were at first surprising, but I went with the challenge to create a tale that was shaped by both the prompts and my own words. I was again delightfully surprised to learn that I could edit the given prompts too, which further spurred my creativity as I played with various ideas and phrases until I was satisfied. This took me approximately one and half hours as I crafted and then refined my story.

Suffice to say, it was a real treat, happiness and satisfaction swelling in me as I finished that first story. I have since went back to Keats' world for a second visit using a different set of prompts. I still have several other ideas to write about that place. My plan is to try all the different prompts, and then attempt the freeform writing, and possibly go back for yet another try if I want to. I will do this slowly, over the weeks and months to come. I have yet to even touch Byron's and Shelley's world. I expect the other two worlds to be no doubt as breathtaking and inspiring as Keats', serving as the springboard to many more tales.

Oh, and gameplay has been quite smooth. No major glitches. As long as I can write without disruptions, I am happy.

One thing I will say about this game is that while it has been an enjoyable ride, I don't think it is for everybody. The reason why I enjoy it so much is because I derive a lot of pleasure from writing. My internal drive to write is why the gorgeous visuals and mysterious audio only added to the richness of the scene before my eyes, amplifying my enjoyment of the writing experience. How could I not enjoy the writing process when I could get inspiration in spades from this game? There are also, of course, some who will greatly benefit from the breathtaking visuals as a starting point and be inspired to write about it. But I doubt that everyone will enjoy the writing process as much.

If you're the type to glance at a scene and want to move on to something different within a short period of time, this might not be the game for you. But if you're the type who could marvel and admire a richly detailed scene for a long time, or if you're the type who could come back to the same scene to discover something new every time, then I would recommend Elegy for a Dead World. And if you like writing or plan to try it, I would also recommend this game.

It has been a rewarding journey so far, and I have just started. I cannot wait to see my future tales unfold in the three amazingly breathtaking worlds. I don't know the final forms of the stories, but I'm damn sure that I will find inspiration every time I visit one of the worlds.
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Kenzie86
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: December 16, 2015
I wanted this to be as awesome as I thought the idea was. I really, really did. The idea was different, intriguing, and I couldn't wait to combine my two favorite hobbies in to one.

Unfortunately, my excitement fell apart after I explored the game. There are some prompts that can help you get started, but I was really hoping for more thought-provoking tid-bits and something to keep me flowing and excited to get my ideas out in words. The worlds are very short and don't do much in the way of inspiring unique story lines. I bet if you lined up all the story lines that users have generated, they're all going to be pretty much the same. It's a great tool if you already have a pretty detailed idea in your head, but if you're just coming in to it casually, there won't be a lot of 'spark' to help you create something cool.

It's a very unique concept and it definitely has a place in the community, it just needs some more help before it can really take hold. If it had more to help along new writers and didn't cater so much to people who already had detailed ideas prior to booting up the game, I'd have shifted my review to positive.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
117 of 136 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: December 10, 2014
ELEGY FOR A DEAD WORLD MIGHT NOT BE FOR EVERYONE! - PLEASE READ AT LEAST THE TL;DR OR WATCH THE VIDEO TO UNDERSTAND THIS REVIEW! THANKS!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYlaP0N1BSI
Elegy for a Dead World is not exactly a game in the strictest sense. There is not final goal to achieve, there is no failure state and there are only barebones in terms of its mechanics. Elegy for a Dead World really is more a way to explore your fantasy. More specifically, by offering all kinds of writing prompts and premises for you to bring your ideas into short stories. But let us start from the beginning. You can currently choose between three portals, each with a selection of writing prompts, which range from humorous, like quickly finishing the homework on the way to school, to serious topics, like analysing the downfall of a civilization or the extinction of a race. Additionally, all worlds also offer free form writing, without any prompts at all. Once you selected the basis of your short story, you are thrown into one of the three beautiful worlds. Aesthetically, they remind me of Banner Saga, as the layers of two dimensional artwork slowly pass by while you walk and enjoy the environments. Your character constantly breathes audibly and while it might sound confusing and annoying, it actually is quite atmospheric, especially coupled with the underlying music, that changes depending on where you are in the world and creates an unsettling alien mood. At certain points, a feather asks you to fill in the blanks and thus your story begins. If you so choose, the given writing prompts themselves can also be changed, to alter the story to your liking. I do not consider myself a great writer at all to be quite honest with you, especially in terms of creativity, I always need a nudge in some direction to get going. This is why the formula of Elegy for a Dead World works so well with me. It took me about thirty minutes to go through the first world, writing a short story from the top of my head, and I quite enjoyed reading it again afterwards as well. The quite simple concept of providing writing prompts, combined with audio visual input works wonders in triggering my imagination. Well, at least once for each world, as now I am always thinking of my earlier stories, even with the new writing prompts underneath, and thus I find it hard to grasp new ideas and attach them to the world in the background. Some writing prompts especially seem very disconnected from the world you are exploring.
If you ever feel exhausted of writing yourself, you can just read what others have produced. The attached Steam Workshop makes sharing and reading other stories very easy, however I also find it quite difficult to browse through the massive amount of stories already. As you can only see the title and the first few words in the game, and no sorting or rating options are available in-game, finding interesting reads could be quite tedious in the future. In my honest opinion, the interface and the accessibility of other stories overall should be improved, since a mere list with titles is quite tedious to go through. I would love to be able to sort by views, recommendations and writing prompts used as basis. Ideally this browsing of other stories would use the whole space available on screen instead of just a measly list of a few titles.
Another gripe I have, is that when reading other stories, you only get simulated book pages, instead of the interactive walk through the story experience, which takes away so much of the atmosphere, especially since the pictures in the book cannot be controlled in their shapes, sizes and the like. I understand that when reading through multiple stories on the same portal, it might get very repetitive to go through the world over and over again, however I think that there should be an option to read a story either in the fast, booklet form, or in the exploratory, walking experience.

TL;DR

To sum it all up, Elegy for a Dead World is a truly unique interactive experience that might trigger your imagination towards writing short stories to unknown levels, however it also has problems in terms of its interface and its content overall. Three short worlds with two handfuls of writing prompts each make it a tough sale, if you are not heavily into writing or reading sci-fi already. If you love to sit down and think about stories, while needing a little bump to get going tough, Elegy for a Dead World is probably the best option you can currently get your hands on.
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71 of 71 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
Elegy is a simple concept executed well: you walk around a beautiful dead world, full of vistas and abandoned structures, and you write what you see. The default writing guides give you a framework to write in (eg. "The first settlement ended because ____"). It gets your ideas going, but it doesn't ever constrain you to a particular story. That's all up to you. Or, you can turn off the writing guide and write freely.

The genius of the game is meticulously designed ambiguity. In both the artwork and the writing guides, there are loads of things to get your mind going, but none of them have an explicit meaning. Like a Rorshach ink blot, everyone will see something different. So you aren't so much writing a story from scratch, as seeing a story unfold in front of you: one that the designers didn't necessarily intend, but that will have meaning to you. By the end of it, if you took the writing task seriously, you will feel like a moving story has been told to you, and then you realise that you told it yourself.

A big part of the game is the sharing and reading experience, and it's also the most flawed. The game lets you share stories in public and read other people's stories. It's fun to see other people's interpretation of the same visuals, but the reading experience is greatly hampered by its presentation: instead of seeing the full scenery to accompany the text, you see one or two small windows of objects in the scene. You see so little that you basically have to remember what you saw when you played it, or the text will often make no sense. The other thing is that the game seems to "score" you based on how many people commended your work, and this suffers the same problem as all user-created content systems: that a few popular stories will rise to the top, while the vast majority will never be read at all. This leaves the dream of reaching the game's stated goal of 1000 commendations well out of reach to most players.

The game is best enjoyed without any expectation of others reading your work, or by comparing stories with a friend. I think it would make an excellent teaching aid for creative writing in the classroom. A highly recommended experience.
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96 of 117 people (82%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 15, 2014
Let me preface this by saying this is actually a really cool idea and it is with a heavy heart that I don't recommend it. As others have mentioned it's a little side scrolly thing where you explore an uninhabited little world via side scrolling, and there are writing promps, and you look at the background and stuff and invent backstories to write and you can read other people's stuff. It's not a 'game' in the traditional sense but it lets you be creative in ways the traditional video game can't, and it's a bit more stimulating than just firing up a word processor.

The reason I don't recommend is because there are 3 worlds that each take about five minutes to get from one to the other, tops. Of course you're writing for much of it, but still, you're talking about MAYBE squeezing 3-4 hours out of it. I mean look at all the other reviewers: as of now there's one guy with 7 hours played out of the 29 positive reviews, and nobody else has hit 4 hours.

Considering they aren't much more than slideshows that are a few minutes long, it breaks my heart that there are only 3 of them. Of course they are interesting and engaging and beautiful but seems like there are a lot of games that are all that and have MUCH more content. Might as well just browse art websites with a word processor window open for free,
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67 of 76 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 11, 2014
As a writer, sometimes the words don't come to you. Elegy for a Dead World is a game that gives you great visuals and haunting audio. There are so many types of prompts, all of which have helped my creativity flourish. I find myself getting ideas every time I sit down to type a few sentences. Plus, it's worth flying around these dead worlds, exploring and wondering what they are all about.

As a writer and someone who appreciates beauty, I recomend this game as a great and fun way to do some writing exercises and enjoy the scenery along the way.
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66 of 81 people (81%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 8, 2015
I found myself quite let down on this game. The concept seems stellar as a writing exercise, but then I completed it within a hour and a half. There are only three planets you can document, with little variety to find inspiration in. Replayability is nearly nonexistant, so I quickly uninstalled the game. If there were more areas to explore, this would be a more positive review. Go spend your fifteen dollars in a bookstore, and you'll have a much better experience.
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51 of 66 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 7, 2015
The game is very innovative I must admit. The basic conception of writing your own story as you travel around in abandoned planets is amazing! The developers also added the feature of sharing these stories with your fellow gamers which is nice.

So why am I givin a negative review?

Because the actual content in the game could barely be any lower. There are 3 planets and each of them can be finished in a couple of minutes. I spent only ONE hour with the game and I even had time to read the top rated stories written by users for each of the 3 planets. This gets even worse if we consider the realatively high 15 € price tag.

You should ONLY buy the game if you want to honor the developers for their original idea because you won't spend much time enjoying it.
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36 of 43 people (84%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: December 10, 2014
Elegy for a Dead World is basically a themed writing contest. There are different "modes" which ultimately boil down to "caption contest" and "madlibs". If you are someone who enjoys writing, this game might appeal to you. If you are asking, "how is this a game?" Well I would agree it wouldn't be a game up until they added the achievements. There are only three, but they require you to get 1,000 commendations within each themed portal.

So there definitely is a game here. And it's definitely unique. Just one I know for sure I don't have enough skill to compete in.

If you'd like to see my Let's Play of it. You can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhizfNtguXM
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27 of 30 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 10, 2014
Calling Elegy for a Dead World a game isn't quite right in my view. There's no opposition, no story save what you create, and no competition. Rather, it's an exercise in writing. You travel across one of three worlds, all varied, and write. You can either use prompts supplied by the game, or, if you already have your inspiration, you can go without, writing whatever you like. Once you finish, you can put your work online for others to read.

Ultimately, it's a rewarding experience. It probably won't make you enjoy writing if you don't already, but if you like exercising your literary muscles, it's a good way to get some inspiration, put out something others may enjoy, and see what the same images and prompts inspired others to write.
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25 of 27 people (93%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
As a father and an educator, Elegy stoked the interest of both.

I first went through one of the worlds with a writing prompt, and then had my 9 year old daughter do the same. She couldn't really understand mine, but was quite pleased with hers. I enjoyed both.

There are some potential limitations in gameplay replay if there are only the three worlds, which are rather short to play through, but the writing possibilities with the many different prompts available are varied and deep.

I would love to get this into my school, but as in most schools in this era, administrators, (including, ironically, directors of technology) stand as guardians of the status quo and block anything that is not Brainpop, or the like.

In time, I see Elegy and other digital game-based learning becoming commonplace in education. Elegy's merits are clearly superior to the ubiquitious worksheets of today. Any teacher with an open mind should be able to see it.
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24 of 26 people (92%) found this review helpful
Recommended
28.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2015
Don't write much sci-fi?
You will.

Initially, I saw "Elegy"'s greatest strength as a weakness, from my perspective as a teacher. Not enough of my kids found the atmosphere particularly appealing, and the prompts/fill-in-the-blanks-style activities, they complained, often pigeonholed them into writing "sci-fi" stories.

I agreed with them. Writing this review fresh out of the game, I still do.

But I don't see how this is entirely negative.

I'm a sci-fi fan, and a writer, but I've seldom actually crossed both. A few of my students have felt similarly, too.

If "Elegy" as inspired at least one of us - as it has - then, I recommend it.
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