Friday, May 20, 2016

CAPSULE REVIEW: Gone Home


Gone Home
Capsule Review!

You can get Gone Home at http://www.gonehomegame.com/

Transcript:
Gone Home is an exploration game that has you exploring your family home to find out what's happened in your year abroad and where your mysteriously-absent parents and sister are. The story is told through objects, found messages, and a series of audio logs. The central arc is about your younger sister, but other relatives have stories too and they all revolve around the importance of being true to yourself and of finding people who accept you that way.

Where the game succeeds is in its characters and atmosphere - the people feel real, piecing together the narrative from environmental clues is fun, and the subtly spooky state of the house is used to great effect. Where the game fails is in its most game-like aspects - to properly constrain your movement, the house is set up in an implausible and immersion-breaking way requiring you to memorize lock combinations and get one key to unlock the thing containing the next key a few too many times. (There's also a ridiculous number of cassette players and phone books lying around.)

A lot of people have latched on to the gayness of some of the characters as what this game is about, but honestly that's incidental to the true theme of being who you are.

2 comments:

  1. While the "gayness" itself may not seem that essential to the game, the fact that's how the developers chose to express the main arc of this game seems like a pretty important decision.

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    Replies
    1. That's a fair point and I don't mean to be dismissive of that choice. I just don't want Gone Home to be dismissed as a game about gayness with no merit to other audiences, because I think that's a wholly inaccurate reading. Perhaps it would have been better for me to say that while the story will seem especially familiar to those who grew up in well-meaning but ultimately homophobic environments, it's an expression of a more universal theme and can speak to anyone who's been pressured to be other than who they are.

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