lifesabeachh's Gone Home (Steam) (PC) review

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It's an oddly compelling story, with not much gameplay and some great atmosphere at times

What constitutes as a game? In 'Gone Home', you can walk around and click on things but are these controls just an afterthought to a story the developer wanted to tell? Why, in this medium, is it important to tell this story? I suspect that indie games are the new 'cool' thing, so maybe this was a way to cash in on a growing niche market as well as a massive social debate.

The lone gameplay mechanic this game has which I wish other games would adopt is the ability to put an item back in the same location where you found it. Seriously, it's brilliant. That being said, there's NOTHING in this game--be it atmosphere, storytelling, or any semblance of difficult puzzles--that couldn't be said in another medium. In fact, the story that so many people keep going on about is told entirely through audio files that pop up spontaneously.

It's lazy--the developers are cashing in on an "indie darling" niche that some people (such as the GB reviewer that absurdly gave this game a 5/5) eat up in an effort to stand out or feel good about themselves (i.e. the game snobs).

It's overpriced--regardless of whether you find fun in having a narrative spoonfed to you or not, the most amount of time you can spend on this game is around 2 hours. If that's a value proposition you can live with, fine!

I will say that this pseudo-game does have its moments. Despite an unnecessary side narrative surrounding a ghost that never really goes anywhere, there is a fairly good story being told here. Also, there's a lot of well-crafted details that were put into it. Small details like 80's-themed duotang folders and 90's alternative rock mixtape cassettes are a nice touch. The problem I have, unfortunately, is that this game combines afterthoughts together to create what I consider a semblance of a real game. Is it an experience? Yes, certainly. But it doesn't have enough to constitute as a game if you ask me.


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Edited By Substance_D

I don't know which part of this review to shake my head at disaprovingly first.

If you consider certain interactive experiences to "not be games," why did you buy it? You seem to have an issue with a game that doesn't give you a clear goal with a carrot on a stick to motivate you to keep playing, so was it just the "indie hype" that made you purchase it? I think this game's narrative is overrated, but if you honestly don't consider this a game or call it a "pseudo-game," you might want to think about what makes something a video game in the first place:

  • The experience changes based on interaction from the player
  • The player feels empowered and engaged as a result of their interaction with the game

"Video game" is an outdated, silly term in the same way "moving pictures" was for films back in the early 20th century. It's interactive art. Proteus is a game. Flappy Bird is a game. Angry Birds is a game. Get OVER IT.

Other reviews for Gone Home (Steam) (PC)

    A True Interactive Story 0

    There is a piece of paper on a cabinet. You read it, it reveals itself to be an exam from days gone by. The exam has one question, a simple biology task: re-arrange these sentences to form a coherent story about the reproductive cycle. The answer is nothing of the sort. It’s long, a full two page story with character, excitement and passion. It is the writing of a child, so you’d be hard pressed to call it good, but the cheek of it makes you smile. It makes you laugh.Underneath there is a teache...

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    Where the Heart Is 0

    In the recent endeavours of interactive entertainment to bring us more human and relatable stories one area has gone significantly neglected, and that’s setting. We can all name a handful of games from the last couple of years in which the characters, plot, or dialogue touched us as people, but I can think of almost none in which the world of the game resembled the one we live in every day. The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home manages to fill this space perfectly, using nothing more than a humble ...

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