About 12 hours ago, I finished Gone Home, and the game really resonated with me, I knew a couple of the reasons, but I wasn't entirely sure why. After vainly trying to stop thinking about the game and get some sleep for the past couple hours, I have realized why. I shall preface this by saying there are endgame Gone Home spoilers to follow, so don't read if you haven't played the game.
These days, I don't feel much of anything, fewer highs and lows, mainly just an even melancholy. Games, by extension, don't make me feel anything, and immersion is a difficult thing for me, but I was happy, truly happy, for a fictional character when I found out she ran off with her lover. At the same time, I was sad, but not for Sam. I was sad for myself.
If you had told me 18 years ago, when the game took place, that I would grow up to be a tired, cynical war veteran working a dead end job just surviving, I would have punched you in the face. I was going to be an author. And an astronaut. And maybe a game developer. I had fucking passion. I loved life and living it. My friends and I were going to conquer the world, we just didn't know how, and we weren't going to let that stop us.
My biggest passion was, by far, writing. When I was a senior in high school, for my senior project, I was going to write a book. I think my first mistake was letting my mentor on the project talk me down to writing just three chapters. Had I stayed with writing a full book, I might have seen it as a challenge to complete it in such a short time and finished it. 14 years later, I still only have those three chapters.
As I played through Gone Home, many of Sam's interests mirrored my own from that time period. I listened to punk rock and was very anti-establishment. I was rather into video games, still am really. I loved ghost stories, and X-Files was a favorite show of mine. I'm surprised there weren't any Unsolved Mysteries tapes in Gone Home, I feel that would have been right up Sam's alley.
As I said before, I was happy that Sam had run off to be with Lonnie. Up until that second to last note, I was afraid I was going to find Sam hanging from the ceiling in the attic. I've had my brush with similar situations as to what Sam was going through. Of course, that sadness I felt was for the person I used to be; that passionate writer, that creative young man.
He's gone now, and all that sits in his place is a tired, cynical war veteran. One that works a dead end job, merely surviving life. And that is no way to live.