A Social Screensaver or a Game?
The Endless Forest is a 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. You just steer your deer through the forest and see what happens.
Currently The Endless Forest consists of a forest, a mysterious ruin, a lovely pond and as many deer as there are players at any given time. You can play the game anonymously but we encourage you to name your deer so other players can recognize you. Although not goal-oriented, there are several activities that you can engage in. Nothing very demanding or violent. Just fun things to do in a nice environment. Once every so often, the forest deities will appear, either in person or through their divine powers.
The Endless Forest client as well as the multiplayer service are available free of charge thanks to the support of several cultural institutions
Reading the authors' take is very insightful:
Interactive media, and especially real-time 3D technologies, have so much more to offer than the childish games that form the bulk of the offer today. The Endless Forest is an attempt for us to try and do something with these technologies that does not need to inherit all those things that we don't like in games. (...) It [The Endless Forest] is not designed to offer any challenges that need to be overcome, or points that can be scored. It's is much more freeform than that. It's probably a little bit like a nice painting. You can stare at it for hours a keep discovering new things. And best of all, you can be part of the picture and new things can appear at any time.
Why do I blog this? this is another pertinent move in the expansion of games or the blurring of boundaries and other forms of play.