“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.” ~ Adam Smith
This is all you could ask for of a coming-of-age story. Gone Home tells the story of a family. Looking back at games, we’ve had a few coming-of-age stories in the peripherally of main plots. Fallout 3 and Mass Effect 2 with Grunt used this trope, albeit superficially. This trope being nothing new to games, but told in Gone Home in a way & treated with a sort of a respect of no other games have. As you make your way through your families haunting empty house, you learn more about your family and yourself. You learn about Sam’s burgeoning relationship with her best friend Lonnie, seeing it evolve into something more meaningful. You learn of your Dad’s failed career as a writer, your mother's successful career as a park ranger and inevitably the tragicomedy of their relationship. You also learn about how your relationship intersects with your family, and what they think of you.
Much of it goes untold being that you are the passive observer in this story. But what is told is fun, haunting, and utterly genuine. As refreshing as it was to see these themes covered with the gravitas that they deserve, there were moments when I rolled my eyes. Those moments being when your sister, narrating her letter to you, played with my own expectations of where they were going with the story & when less dark at each turn. Those moments were quite sincere, and accentuated the moments when they did go dark with the story. Much of what makes the story work isn't what was said, but what went unsaid. Starting from a place of ignorance, and leaving in a hazy climax, you're left to fill in many of the gaps.
This makes the game unspoilable. Not to say that the story is telegraphed, which it isn't. I earnestly believe you could have told me everything about Gone Home before I had played it, and it wouldn’t have diminished my experience. It’s accurate to say that it’s impossible to spoil the mood one way or another. Sam’s story takes center stage, a story that if I had children I would want them to experience. As well as it was told, I found my interest centered more around the relationship between Terry, your father and your mother, Janice. I honestly think it stands up more as a piece of storytelling than the main plot. That unraveling story of husband and wife, accompanied by the punk-stylings of Heavens to Betsy & Bratmobile juxtaposed to Chris Remo’s soundtrack is where the game really shines to me.
What did you think about the game?