Party Like It’s 1995: Gone Home’s Music

By Nathan Grayson on March 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

I wish every game had a 'scrutinize' button.

NINETIES CHILDREN ARE OVERTAKING THE EARTH. QUAKE IN FEAR OF THEIR LIBERAL NEW IDEAS AND NOSTALGIA FOR THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL OLD.

For real, though, a new generation’s filtering into the upper reaches of entertainment, and their formative influences are quite different from the cornerstones of even just a decade before. It’s quite interesting to watch, and yet – for all the recent fascination with the oddities of Western ’90s culture – we still haven’t seen a game really embrace it. Gone Home, however, is unabashedly rooted in the decade of X-Files and alternative rock, and it’s not just for cheap giggles, either. Having played a bit of the BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den-borne narrative adventure myself last year, I got this sense that its characters and themes wouldn’t really fit in any other time period. It’s excellent, then, to see that Fullbright’s going the extra mile in realizing the era’s eccentricities. See (and hear) youth in Riot Grrrl-flavored rebellion after the break.

This isn’t just feminist punk window dressing, either. Riot Grrrl music is actually a crucial plot point in Gone Home, as Fullbright explained:

“Gone Home takes place in 1995, and follows the story of Samantha Greenbriar, a teenager dealing with tons of uncertainty, heartache, and change. In the game, Sam is introduced to Riot Grrrl music by a friend, and it changes her life.”

Without spoiling too much, I’ll just note that the friend in question ends up at the heart of the story’s central mystery, and things – at least, based on the portion I’ve played – get exceedingly interesting from there.

If you’re interested, the bands involved are Heavens to Betsy and Bratmobile. You’ll find their music on six-tracks throughout the game, because holy crap I was alive during an era in which it was utterly inconceivable that we could cram thousands upon thousands of “tracks” onto curvy pocket rectangles that also function as our phones, clocks, calendars, maps, game machines, and – in some cases – personal computers.

Ahem. Anyway, Gone Home will be out sometime this year. Do you plan on wandering through its abandoned (and very purple!) halls?

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48 Comments »

  1. frightlever says:

    The MP3 standard was introduced in 1995. But “6 tracks” is that as in there are six tracks to find or is this something like an 8-Track that I am unaware of. In 1995 you’d have had portable DAT players if you wanted to be all digital and wotnot.

    I dunno. 1995. Seems like yesterday. Also, am I the only one that feels like this game is actively trying to dissuade me from playing it? RiotGrrl? That was something for five minutes, sure, but I don’t recall ever experiencing it in a positive way, likely because I wasn’t a teenage girl in 1995.

    The Americans is interesting because being set in the 80 they don’t have access to the handy mobile plot-killing devices that curses most modern drama. I expect that’s as much a reason as any to pick the particular year.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      “I wasn’t a teenage girl in 1995 so I can’t relate to the character in this game, please make more video games where I play a generic male protagonist who shoots people in the face.”

      • colw00t says:

        I’m not a teenage girl but I can tell you that Riot Grrl has been a thing for a whole lot longer than five minutes. I saw Bikini Kill in ’91 and also in ’96, just for starters.

        Going Home looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it out.

        I’m assuming “Six-Tracks” up there is a typo, or a slang for a cassette that I am unaware of, because I seriously doubt the house is full of obscure ’80s analogue synthesizers.

        • Randomer says:

          Not to mention bands like Sleater-Kinney which continued to kick ass into the last 2000′s (and whose former members are still kicking ass on their own projects).

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “am I the only one that feels like this game is actively trying to dissuade me from playing it? … I wasn’t a teenage girl in 1995.”

      No, I’m with you. I felt the same way about the Arkham City. It still kind of amazes me that Rocksteady was willing to alienate so many gamers and make a game that could only be enjoyed by traumatized billionaires who can bench press a tiger.

      Don’t even get me started about Of Orcs and Men.

  2. PopeRatzo says:

    Nah.

  3. rustybroomhandle says:

    Sure, why the heck not?

  4. Vernalagnia says:

    Yes, god yes. I’m so excited for this kind of game in general, and this game in specific. It helps that I’m a huge indie pop nerd.

  5. Berzee says:

    “Remember the 90s?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pa6SGYWADU

    This game. I anticipate it bunches!

    I just hope that they remember that part of recreating an era is recreating the nostalgia of people in *that* era through keepsakes and memorabilia of even-slightly-more-bygone eras. (Not that I expect an infinitely recursing memory-spiral).

    • Muzman says:

      The 90s was pretty good. The 2000s weren’t bad either. The 60s and the 70s were pretty interesting too.

      The 80s? pthooey! That shit can cook in a hot place forever.

      • pilouuuu says:

        Really?

        I thought that the 2000s were horrible with all the reality shows, movie remakes, reboots and sequels, economic crisis, global heating and its awful commercial music. Maybe the only good thing about the ’00s was Half-Life 2…

        • Kevin Costner says:

          Ahh yes, the double-aught debacle…

          Brought us: Bush, Hipsters, 9/11, 7/7, screamo, auto-tuned everything, and “reality” based everything.

          The 80′s had the best punk rock albums, best Sci-Fi movies (not to mention you could have a movie w/ teenagers that wasn’t Kids or Twilight), and Republicans were stupid without being supremely evil (well, not really).

          The 00′s wins in games only.

          • Muzman says:

            The eighties does have a preponderance of bad synths and bad lighting that it can’t get away from. It’s all harsh contrasts, steel blue backlights, fog machines and big hair. For that it can never be forgiven.
            And politics? Hell that was all about wars people weren’t having, but sometimes actually were; Cold War, Iran Contra/Nicaragua, Panama, Iran-Iraq/ Saddam Hussein, Afghanistan. Then Stock Market Crash.
            If anything the 00s are the eighties with better clothes and music produced with some bass.

  6. BreadBitten says:

    Expecting to see an Eddie Vedder poster on at least one wall in that house then.

  7. Hodge says:

    Yep, been looking forward to this one.

  8. UpsilonCrux says:

    Nice, this looks pretty cool, although I bet I still wont be able to get my female friends into it, despite their copious amounts of Sleater Kinney t-shirts

  9. arccos says:

    Playable Klax cabinet in-game?

    “It is the nineties and there is time for Klax”

  10. Jae Armstrong says:

    Hmm. Riot Grrrl. Is 90s kid nostalgia? I mean, okay, it was part of the 90s. But 90skid? The people who were primarily born and raised in the 90s? Anyone who was a teenager in ’95 would have have been… even if they were only fourteen or so, they couldn’t have been born any later than ’81. I was born in ’88; I was 7 in ’95.

    Wait, does this mean I have to wait another decade for nostalgia to be relevant to me? I’m nearly 25 already! :(

    wait does this mean i’m a 00s kid oh god

    oh god i’m so confused

    • Shookster says:

      Honestly, most of the 90′s nostalgia comes (at least in my neck of the woods) from kids born after about 94-95. So what they’re nostalgic for is a time they barely remember or can’t remember. Kind of like how when you and I (I was born in 89) were in our teens, a lot of people our age (again, where I was growing up at least) were “nostalgic” for the 80′s, even though we couldn’t remember most of it (or any of it).

      Which is why, when my 14 year-old cousin starts talking about the 90′s, I just want to slap him.

      And this is how, at 23 years of age, I have become a bitter old man.

      • Jae Armstrong says:

        The worst thing about growing up is realising what a fucking prat you used to be as a kid.

      • derbefrier says:

        I get annoyed at the same thing sometimes. I was born in 81 so I was around 14 in 95. I remember the last half of the 90s pretty well and bits and pieces of the early 90s but I was a little kid I didn’t pay attention to pop culture. I don’t remember shit about the 80s either yet a lot of my friends the same age get all nostalgic about the 80s and it annoys me too. Yeah we were all born in the 80s but we didn’t experience the 80s we just sort of existed at the time and these 18 year old kids who act the same way about the 90s annoy me too. I mean I remember seeing the front page of the paper the day after Kurt Cobain killed himself. I remember bits an pieces about the first Desert Storm. I watched saved by the bell when they were still making new episodes. I am a 90s child.

        • colw00t says:

          You guys are making me feel seriously old, stop it.

          I was old enough to drink through the majority of the ’90s.

        • BigJonno says:

          I was born in the early ’80s and while I do have memories of that decade’s pop culture, they all revolve around cartoons.

    • Muzman says:

      This is a good point. If you’re somewhat older (cough) the good stuff you selectively remember wasn’t all that popular to kids from that era. Then the kids grow up and get nostalgic for all the crap you thought you forgot. To you it’s all Jim Rose Circus sideshow and nine inch nails, Riot Grrrls and Pavement, revivals of Terrence McKenna William S Boroughs,. To them it’s Boyz2Men, Color Me Bad, 90210 and Saved By the Bell.

    • pilouuuu says:

      Mmm, I think most of the nostalgia comes from your teen years. I was a kid during the 80s and I consider most things from that decade pretty crappy, besides some fun cartoons and good movies. I think the 90s were much cooler and innovative.

  11. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Oh my word I can’t wait for this!

  12. Bluerps says:

    I definitely plan to wander, yes. Everything I’ve heard so far about this game sounds interesting.

  13. oldasadlo says:

    i am 22 and i have heard bratmobile when i was about sixteen. i really like that band.

  14. bitbot says:

    Exploring a house and rummaging through people’s things sound like something I’d like to play. Seriously.

  15. Jesrad says:

    This is the one where the girl comes home to find her family missing? I’m not sure how generic 90′s music is going to help her find them, unless they’ve been kidnapped by one of the bands and the mix tape contains their ransom demands.

  16. aliksy says:

    I like the music well enough (I saw Wild Flag recently, which is probably as close to a riot grrl show I’m going to get nowadays), but I’m not too sure on the game itself. Reminds me of that old “Trapped in a red room” flash game.

    • Randomer says:

      Nice! How were they? One of my biggest regrets was discovering that Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods was my favorite album ever, then the next day hearing that they broke up. So seeing Wild Flag or the Corin Tucker Band might be the closest I come to living the SK experience.

      • aliksy says:

        They were pretty great. Some banter with the crowd, played some songs that aren’t on the album.

        I actually saw them twice- once I bought tickets to see them in nyc, and then they had a free show in prospect park some months later. Carrie Brownstein apparently likes to climb on top of the drums during ‘Racehorse’, as she did that both times I saw them.

        I also saw Janet Weiss and Rebecca Cole just walking in prospect park, but I was polite and didn’t bother them.

  17. zeekthegeek says:

    The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.

  18. noom says:

    A shark!

  19. Zeewolf says:

    Oh man, that sounded bad.

  20. Shadrach says:

    When I look at my music collection, now all soulless and digital, I notice a lot of albums from ’94. Such a good year.

  21. crinkles esq. says:

    A “story exploration video game” — hmmm. I didn’t really see any ‘game’ in the trailer, just a digital love letter to the 90s.

    It’s a bit shocking to see Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy in there. Not really heavily-known riot grrrl bands. Both great though. They were on K Records I believe, so maybe the game developers made a deal with the label. Seems like they would’ve gone with Kill Rock Stars, Bikini Kill’s label. I saw a lot of riot grrrl bands back then, but the scene was fizzling out by the time Sleater-Kinney went mainstream, I guess 96 or so. I suppose riot grrrl was really the last big feminist movement, at least that got any mainstream attention.

  22. CutieKnucklePie says:

    Hehehe flannels in the drawer. Rock on! What a great decade. This makes me want to go watch Ghost World or Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.

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