Gone Home Is Morally Reprehinsible

#1 Edited by Bones8677 (3213 posts) -

This is a semi-silly post, not to be taken too seriously. :)

I finished Gone Home last night and suffice it to say, I have not stopped thinking about the ending of the game. But maybe not in the way the developers wanted me to. Gone Home is a very good story to be sure, don't get me wrong, the game on the other hand not so much. I wasn't expecting it to be anything deep, I knew what I was getting into. However, that game ran TERRIBLY on my computer, even on the lowest settings, it was still running at 10 fps. But that's neither here nor there. My biggest problem with the game is the ending and what it means in the greater context of the overall story.

==========HERE THERE BE SPOILERS============

So I was very much relieved that Sam and Lonnie didn't commence a suicide pact. However what really happened may not be all that great of a consolation prize either.

So a pair of 17 year olds just upped and left for no real direction or goal. Abandoning their families, loved ones, responsibilities. Basically their whole lives-all at the drop of a hat. Am I supposed to be okay with this? Am I supposed to feel good about this? Sam stole all of the VCRs in the house to pawn off, she has no job now, she can't support herself, let alone Lonnie. WHO by the way is now officially AWOL which means the US Army will be taking her to jail very soon. What is the message here?

'If your family is in denial over your sexuality, run away and never look back?'

That's a crazy moral worthy of the Wheel of Morality.

Really think about it. First of all, this is a high school romance. How often do those work out beyond graduation? Second, running away has never resulted in better lives. I've seen documentaries about young runaway women in Hollywood who live out on the streets as prostitutes or even worse. A lot of them also disappear and are never seen or heard from again. Thankfully they have the good fortune of being in the 90s as opposed to the 60s or 70s where people were running away and disappearing all the time. Basically the movie The Hitcher. Where some random crazy guy will follow you across the country just so they can kill you.

Fun Fact: Random serial killers sprang up all over America and resulted in over 120% in runaway deaths.

Anyway- where was I? Oh yeah! With Sam and Lonnie running away, was that really their only option? Running Away or Suicide, it seemed like those were the only options that Sam ever considered.

I just don't think Sam and Lonnie's decision should be celebrated, instead it should be more considered for the potential consequences of doing so. Imagine if you came home form work or school and realized your sibling or hell even parent just ran out to never come back. It would destroy you.

And so all day today I thought about what would happen after the Greenbriars returned from their weekend vacation. And so as soon as I came home I whipped this little video up. No really I did make this. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the ending and if I'm just over-thinking it.

#2 Posted by chrismafuchris (1088 posts) -

So is your spelling

#3 Posted by Milkman (16540 posts) -

Thanks, dad.

#4 Edited by Clonedzero (4091 posts) -
Online
#6 Posted by TyCobb (1945 posts) -

@clonedzero: Like the missing punctuation at the end of my post, your post was entirely unnecessary.

I have not played the game and probably never will, but it sounds like the story is fine. You are glossing over the fact that they are 17. Kids make stupid ass decisions all of the time and don't fully plan everything out.

#7 Posted by Bones8677 (3213 posts) -

@tycobb: oh no I'm fully aware that their age is a considerable factor in their plan. I'm just not sure the game itself is aware of it. Like, the teens are doing something really stupid, but the game is saying. 'Yeah, good for them!'

#8 Posted by DonutFever (3550 posts) -

Lonnie was never part of the military, she just took some sort of training thing for people considering joining. She was about to go join the military and do Basic Training, but then turned back to live with Sam.

Now how are they going to support themselves? Who knows, probably not well. I think Sam had a scholarship, maybe Lonnie could support her? Maybe they realize it's a shit idea 3 seconds after Kate reaches the attic, and go home. Maybe that's what the title "Gone Home" is referring to.

#9 Posted by bigjeffrey (4805 posts) -

Why are you questioning love?

#10 Posted by Hunter5024 (5546 posts) -

Yeah they're a couple of dumbasses, Lonnie is kind of a terrible influence on Sam, and they're treating their relationship like way too big of a deal. But that's okay because it's realistic and that's one of the things I like about the story, it's very believable. It's actually kind of incredible that the game managed to make me feel exactly the way an older sister would feel. Like my little sister is an idiot. Plus it was kind of sweet.

I wonder if there was some journal entry I missed where the parents condemned Sam's sexual orientation. The only one I got was the one where they suggested it was probably just a phase. Definitely an insensitive thing to say, but y'know, it's not completely without precedent that they might think their daughter is just experimenting. It didn't seem like anything to run away over at least.

#11 Posted by StarvingGamer (8028 posts) -

I don't remember the game ever saying "good for them!" There is a very deliberate lack of any commentary on Sam's decisions made by the game. This is why so many people spoke about the game's ending as bittersweet.

#12 Posted by Mcfart (1555 posts) -

It was fine. Obviously they have a tough road ahead, and who knows what happens after (whether they commit or Katie tells her parents what dumbasses they are and Sam comes back), but the more tragic thing most people pointed out was that the parents were at the area with the Severe Weather Warning.

#13 Edited by Mcfart (1555 posts) -

It was fine. Obviously they have a tough road ahead, and who knows what happens after (whether they commit or Katie tells her parents what dumbasses they are and Sam comes back), but the more tragic thing most people pointed out was that the parents were at the area with the Severe Weather Warning.

#14 Edited by AlexanderSheen (4930 posts) -

The game told the story without any commentary regarding the ending of it and we don't know how their life turned out either, so maybe they lived a happy life after that. Who knows? I guess... you are?

#15 Posted by danm_999 (74 posts) -

Hold on, morally reprehensible? Killing children is morally reprehensible. Committing genocide is morally reprehensible. Running away from home because your family can't accept you're gay is far, far greyer.

So, I get your point that what Sam and Lonnie have done is impulsive, and probably even foolish, but morally wrong, let alone reprehensible? I can't really see that.

Sam's family is completely disfunctional, and completely unable to provide her even the most basic emotional support. Her dad is an alcoholic consumed by the memories of his molestation and channels that into writing his shitty sci-fi. Her mom is involved in an affair with Ranger Rick, and completely distant because her husband has lost the ability to connect. When Sam does come to them with her honest feelings, they shut down and treat her like shit. These people are broken. They're going to get divorced at some point anyway. They can't help or support themselves, let alone their daughter. Why the hell should she stick around the few extra months until she's 18 and goes off to college? Why is that 'moral'? Why is it on Sam to stick around to stop the Greenbriars from breaking down completely in the misery and disillusionment they've created for themselves?

In fact, the only person who doesn't seem completely broken in the family is Katie. And Sam isn't leaving her behind to never hear from her again, as the prologue specifically states. In fact, the connection Sam wants to maintain with Katie is kind of the premise of the game. Katie will hear from Sam again, she herself promises.

And whether Sam and Lonnie work out, and whether Lonnie goes to jail for not showing up to basic training (unlikely honestly) is kind of irrelevant to this. Sam cannot stand to be in that house another moment, because the people living there are all fundamentally broken and miserable, and have nothing to offer her.

#16 Edited by nsmb2_mario (72 posts) -

Something tells me if this was a boy and girl this game would not be nearly as critically-acclaimed. But I would stop at calling it morally reprehensible, it's poor writing is what it is. The actions and motivations of all the characters are two-dimensional, there are plenty of oddities about the characterizations in the game.

#17 Posted by punkxblaze (2957 posts) -

@chrismafuchris said:

So is your spelling

So is your punctuation.

SO'S YOUR FACE.

Sorry, I don't actually think that, it was just the natural escalation of things : (.

#18 Edited by RVonE (4606 posts) -

#19 Edited by danm_999 (74 posts) -

@nsmb2_mario said:

Something tells me if this was a boy and girl this game would not be nearly as critically-acclaimed.

Yeah no shit, because then there'd be no character conflict to fuel the game's premise. Homophobia is a pretty important theme in the game. Completely removing it would make the game far less complex.

And it wouldn't make sense for Sam to run away with a boy because her parents weren't opposed to her having a relationship with a boy.

#20 Posted by nsmb2_mario (72 posts) -

@danm_999: There's no homophobia in the game, and the parents would probably not like her running away with a boy at her age either, so I fail to see your point.

#21 Edited by danm_999 (74 posts) -

@nsmb2_mario said:

@danm_999: There's no homophobia in the game, and the parents would probably not like her running away with a boy at her age either, so I fail to see your point.

You're joking right? There's tons of homophobia. Sam's parents calling her sexuality "a phase" and denying her. Sam and Lonnie being taunted at school and having their lockers vandalized because they're gay. The school admin ignoring it because they probably did 'something' to warrant it. The whole DADT mention in relation to Lonnie's military service. The whole subtext of the comics Sam makes about the woman striking out against her social oppressors.

And the point is, if Sam was straight, she'd never have to run away with a boy in the first place, since her parents would accept the relationship out of hand as 'normal'. She mentions how cool they were when Katie brought boys home. Shit, look how they try to push Daniel on her through their passive aggressive notes, even though he's someone who she has no chemistry or connection with. The reason she runs away is because she's in a gay relationship, and her parents recognise that, and get upset about it.

If you made her straight, the game's thematic underpinning would fall apart since there'd be nothing for the parents to reject, and nothing from her to run from. It's like saying Romeo and Juliet wouldn't be as critically acclaimed or interesting if the Montagues and the Capulets weren't feuding families.

#22 Posted by Brodehouse (9616 posts) -

It's not morally reprehensible, but yes, it's childish and more than a little foolish.

And yes, if it was a boy and a girl who ran away together, no one would give a shit. They'd think this was a bad version of Young Turks by Rod Stewart.

You know what would have been a better ending? If it ended like the Graduate, with both of them realizing the enormity of their decision.

#23 Edited by nsmb2_mario (72 posts) -

@danm_999: The parents weren't homophobic, I mean. They were if anything very understanding. All the fluff about school could be replicated easily in a boy and girl relationship, you pretend that only lesbians experience bullying at high school. There's nothing particularly special or interesting about this romance or the way it's handled.

Making a comparison to Romeo & Juliet is silly. Changing the entire story is not the same as a gender swap.

#24 Posted by pjpk (18 posts) -

@nsmb2_mario: Did you miss the journal where she described coming out to her parents? When they initially reacted with denial, then told her that her sexuality was a phase that she'd grow out of and banned her from being alone in her bedroom with Lonnie? Not massively understanding, really..

#25 Edited by nsmb2_mario (72 posts) -

@pjpk: That's not exactly homophobic either and an understandable kneejerk reaction. Just saying, this story is far from tragic (or unique).

#26 Posted by CustomOtto (454 posts) -

Instead let's talk about how much this game would have bombed if it was about two boys.

#27 Edited by Brodehouse (9616 posts) -

@pjpk said:

@nsmb2_mario: Did you miss the journal where she described coming out to her parents? When they initially reacted with denial, then told her that her sexuality was a phase that she'd grow out of and banned her from being alone in her bedroom with Lonnie? Not massively understanding, really..

1. Sexual experimentation, especially in young people, is a known concept. It's familiar to everyone and we all understand it. That doesn't mean her parents were right in believing in it to be true, but they would not be wrong to believe it to be possible. Believing that your child is experimenting and doesn't quite know what they want is not evidence of homophobia.

2. Parents banning their child's significant other from being alone in their room is not in any way unique to homosexuality, so it cannot be evidence of homophobia. Because I've been banned from spending time alone in girls' rooms, and I doubt their parents were being homophobic. Unless they thought I was a transman or like the opposite of Bosom Buddies. I guess that would be Just One of the Guys. Or Boys Don't Cry.

I'm not saying that her parents weren't homophobic, but the evidence presented does not entail the argument. There is evidence that would entail the argument ("no daughter of mine's gay!"), but this evidence does not.

#28 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -

Yeah, I can't say I liked the ending. What many see as a triumphant moment I just see as "Wow, they're really going to completely mess up their futures for a high school girlfriend." Gone Home is a very interesting game with a great atmosphere and writing, but the relationship at its core lacks depth outside of its homosexuality. Honestly, Gone Home has little more to its plot than a standard popcorn romcom: people meet, fall in love, have some external difficulty and overcome it by running towards each other. Now there are some well done and very engaging rom coms that follow this formula, but they never ascend beyond mere crowd-pleasing entertainment, and tend to have little else to say other than "Follow your heart!"

#29 Posted by Hunter5024 (5546 posts) -

@brodehouse said:

@pjpk said:

@nsmb2_mario: Did you miss the journal where she described coming out to her parents? When they initially reacted with denial, then told her that her sexuality was a phase that she'd grow out of and banned her from being alone in her bedroom with Lonnie? Not massively understanding, really..

1. Sexual experimentation, especially in young people, is a known concept. It's familiar to everyone and we all understand it. That doesn't mean her parents were right in believing in it to be true, but they would not be wrong to believe it to be possible. Believing that your child is experimenting and doesn't quite know what they want is not evidence of homophobia.

2. Parents banning their child's significant other from being alone in their room is not in any way unique to homosexuality, so it cannot be evidence of homophobia. Because I've been banned from spending time alone in girls' rooms, and I doubt their parents were being homophobic. Unless they thought I was a transman or like the opposite of Bosom Buddies. I guess that would be Just One of the Guys. Or Boys Don't Cry.

I'm not saying that her parents weren't homophobic, but the evidence presented does not entail the argument. There is evidence that would entail the argument ("no daughter of mine's gay!"), but this evidence does not.

Exactly. And a lot of their hesitancy to accept Sam's relationship with Lonnie could be because they think Lonnie is a bad influence. I mean she got suspended, sang in a punk rock band, spread a bunch of propaganda around school, got their daughter into some aggressive music, and Sam lied to her parents because of her. Not all of those are necessarily bad things, but definitely red flags for a religious family in the 90s.

#30 Edited by Bones8677 (3213 posts) -

@donutfever: I've never been in the military so I can't be sure but if you're on your way to Basic Training (Boot Camp). I'm almost certain you're past the point of no return. Since you ARE at that point a part of the military and your first duty is to report to Basic on a specific date.

@danm_999: Why should Sam stay? Because Family. At least that's a good enough reason for myself. You may feel differently. I don't know. :)

#31 Posted by Dan_CiTi (3181 posts) -

I didn't even know about the suicide pact! (maybe I glossed over it when I was gettin creeped out?) Anyway you're taking it too seriously in my opinion, to me the ending isn't meant to be taken as "oh shit what's gonna happen to those crazy kids" or "waitin for the sequel", but more of this sort of coming of age story, and sort of a funny coincidence how you have come home from this long trip in an unknown foreign trip, how now your sister just left as you came back. I mean you're right about going AWOL, it's certainly not the same seeing as how she never showed up for anything in the first place. It's not really meant to be some intelligently all encompassing story or even Tristan und Isolde/Romeo & Juliet. You arrive in this slightly off-putting, basically abandoned place that has plenty of stories to tell, you discover each nook and cranny as you progress, and as you do you connect with your sister. For me it was easy to get lost in the more or less mundane, very "normal" humanity the game bares, and if you can't lock in with that the game isn't for you.

Also the touches of Riot Grrrl are perfect and sick! While it is not what makes the story great to me (the "Dedication" bit does just cause I was all like "damn dude Sam I feel you on that girl" and got all teary) but it is an awesome touch that gives the right amount of personality to the characters, especially the area with the zines stashed away and associated note.

#32 Edited by ch3burashka (5017 posts) -
#33 Edited by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

If 'Gone Home' gets GotY, I will eat my own hat. I think it's time for the gang to play that one game they've been putting off before it's too late.

#34 Edited by ch3burashka (5017 posts) -
#35 Edited by danm_999 (74 posts) -
@nsmb2_mario said:

The parents weren't homophobic, I mean. They were if anything very understanding.

The parents weren't really all that understanding. They freaked out and told her it was a phase and she'd stop being gay if she met the right boy. Pretty textbook homophobia.

All the fluff about school could be replicated easily in a boy and girl relationship,

Not...really. I don't see why a bunch of people would bully a straight couple for their sexuality. They might bully the couple for things other than their sexuality, sure, but then, you've not replicated the situation, have you? You've created an entirely different situation.

you pretend that only lesbians experience bullying at high school.

Nope. Obviously anyone can be bullied. But not everyone can be bullied for everything.

Making a comparison to Romeo & Juliet is silly. Changing the entire story is not the same as a gender swap.

The fact that Sam and Lonnie are the same gender, and having a relationship is the story though. Sam accepting that she's got feelings for someone of the same gender, then pursuing those feelings, then feeling backlash from her parents, from her peers, that's the main plot of Gone Home.

It's what sustains the dramatic tension. It serves the same function as making Romeo and Juliet from rival families. It creates the barrier that must be overcome.

#36 Posted by Potts (159 posts) -

@danm_999 said:

The fact that Sam and Lonnie are the same gender, and having a relationship is the story though. Sam accepting that she's got feelings for someone of the same gender, then pursuing those feelings, then feeling backlash from her parents, from her peers, that's the main plot of Gone Home.

It's what sustains the dramatic tension. It serves the same function as making Romeo and Juliet from rival families. It creates the barrier that must be overcome.

The thing is, this story isn't Sam realizing she's gay - she's known for a long time. She straight up says so, and it's pretty heavily implied that Katie has known for a while as well. Through the Capt. Allegra stories you find that Sam wrote, you see a progression of her realization of her sexuality, as well as her feelings towards her family & authority figures. I think that Lonnie was just her first girlfriend, her first love, and her parents, on top of thinking she was a bad influence, didn't know how to deal with finding out their daughter was gay on top of their own marriage falling apart. It's not necessarily Romeo & Juliet, but it is a tragic love story, even if they end up running away together in the end.

And as far as character motivations being two-dimensional? These are the most god-honest human character motivations I have ever seen. Anyone who has been in any of these situations - a family that is falling apart, falling in love as a teenager with someone your parents don't approve of, knowing that relationship was doomed, having a gay sibling, wanting to run away from home because there was nothing left for you there, any or all of those - will know that these characters acted exactly like any irrational love-struck teenager would in the same situation.

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