Wot I Think: The Stanley Parable

By Nathan Grayson on October 17th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

The Stanley Parable is strange. The Stanley Parable is smart, calculated. The Stanley Parable is pure chaos. The Stanley Parable is about so very, very many things – at least, until it decides to be not about them at all, often in the same breath. I’ll be straight with you: reviewing this thing in any conventional fashion is more or less impossible. Yes, at heart it’s a first-person adventure born of a highly acclaimed Half-Life 2 mod, but it’s also far, far more. A tangled web of surprises and secrets, a madman’s ransom collage of endings and fresh starts. And so, in the spirit of The Stanley Parable, I have decided to let you choose how you’d like to see the game reviewed. Well, if you’d even call these meaningful choices, let alone important ones. Er, sorry about that. Been playing too much Stanley Parable. You know how it is. 

The Spoiler-Free Review

The Spoiler-Ridden Review

The Objective Review

88888888

The Review By A REAL CALL OF DUTY MASTA PRO #420

The Review Score (As Represented By Pictures Of Baby Owls)

The Spoilery Video That More Or Less Encapsulates The Game In A Nutshell

The Video That Will Give You No Idea Of What Stanley Parable Is Actually About

The Video That Is Basically Guaranteed To Annoy You To Death

A Broom Closet

The One That’s A Kind Of Fitting Song By Rush (Just Listen To The Lyrics, Maaaan)

The One Where I Tell You To Just Go Play The Demo

The One Where I Tell You To Just Go Buy The Game

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50 Comments »

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Top comments

  1. Ny24 says:

    Oh come on. Don't be a Stanley.
  2. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight
  3. TerminalAtrocity says:

    I just played the game through, got the red door ending and felt my heart being ripped out of my body. Basically, buy this game.
  1. Bull0 says:

    Re: the review score expressed as owls – 8/10?

    If you were to introduce review scores, some kind of owl-based system is unarguably the way to go.

    • realitysconcierge says:

      Depending on whether you count the pictures (6) or the number of owls (13+1 duck). I loved them btw.

      • Bull0 says:

        I read it as each individual owl being Nathan raising a positive point about the game, and the final picture being the total.

        Honestly it’s like you haven’t worked with the owl system of critical analysis before

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      No you twit, it’s two.

    • BlitzThose says:

      ah so that 8! game did have a point then

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight eight

    • popej says:

      A duck = zero in English hitting red ball with willow branch game.

    • PixelsDontMove says:

      I’m loving it! So glad to see the mod turn into a full Source game. The narrator is permanently stuck in my head, whatever I do IRL gets narrated now.

      *taking the chances to spam my video about one of the best achievements ever in a videogame*

  2. Viroso says:

    Being extremely allergic to spoilers I’ll take all these links as “hey this game will indeed be cool so go ahead and play it”.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Word is that the demo on Steam does not spoil the main game, should you wish to use it to form a purchasing opinion.

      • Bull0 says:

        Yes, having played it last night, the demo is merely evocative of the style of the game, it isn’t the same content. It’s well worth playing the demo. It’s very funny.

    • sophof says:

      Also, it is hilarious, or at least that’s what I thought :P

  3. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    So where does it rank on the Pretentiousness-scale from Ron Swnason to Phil Fish?

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I don’t know, but (if the mod is anything to go by) its pretension is laced with enough humour to get a free pass.

  4. zachforrest says:

    Heh. Good work, Grayson

  5. kud13 says:

    The objective review gives this game 11/10

    BAN THIS SICK FILTH

    EDIT: though i suppose given the CoD comparisons, it was an inevitable score.

  6. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    From the spoiler-free review I get the impression that it’s closer to Bastion than anything else. That is a Good Thing. I shall buy this game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s really nothing not much like Bastion if the demo is anything to go by.

      Bastion’s narrator was much more aware of your actions, and Bastion had his commentary as delicious sprinkles upon a tasty gameplay cake. Stanley is just the sprinkles. That can be OK, but they have to be really good sprinkles if they’re holding the whole experience up by themselves. I personally didn’t find that to be the case.

    • Gassalasca says:

      Hated Bastion, love Stanley’s Parable.

      • Wedge says:

        I like them both and am not sure how either are remotely related other than the existence of a narrator. It’d be like saying Call of Duty and Mario are alike because they both have moustaches in them.

      • Premium User Badge

        cqdemal says:

        These two games have absolutely nothing alike, but I feel pretty much the same. Beyond the lovely art style, music and narration, the actual game part of Bastion was – to me – totally dreary.

  7. Ergates_Antius says:

    As an aside – can we have more games scored with pictures of baby owls. Or just pictures of baby owls for no particular reason.

    Kthxbye

  8. Ny24 says:

    Oh come on. Don’t be a Stanley.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Can anyone comment on how this compares to the original? I loved that, but am not sure if this is just “that HD” (ala Dear Esther remake) or an entirely original work. If it’s the latter, how much does it retread?

    • Sevores says:

      There are new lines and some new endings but not much new to say compared to the original.

    • Premium User Badge

      Clavus says:

      It expands a lot of the endings in the mod (so they’re not really the same, but based on the same idea), and adds a ton of new ones. It’s absolutely worth buying even if you have played the mod recently.

  10. Shooop says:

    I just watched the broom closet video and I want it now. This looks like one of the games I’ve always wanted but couldn’t possibly find a way to tell anyone how to make it.

    Thank you Nathan. You’ve done me a greater favor than you’ll ever know.

  11. HothMonster says:

    I just want to know how John’s cat feels about it.

  12. TerminalAtrocity says:

    I just played the game through, got the red door ending and felt my heart being ripped out of my body. Basically, buy this game.

  13. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    First game I’ve ever bought on release day. Download dammit……….

  14. almostDead says:

    I just watched the spoilery video, and played the demo. Goodness me, I must not be the target mindset. How fucking annoying.

    The Emperor has no clothes on, sorry.

  15. Jomegalisk says:

    in a way the narrator reminds me of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

    • Syt says:

      I’m glad I’m not alone in this. I get quite a Peter Jones vibe from him.

  16. Courtney says:

    I’m submitting that CoD review to Metacritic, since it has a score.

  17. sub-program 32 says:

    Does anyone know how many ending there are? I want to know the number, if not their nature, otherwise I feel I will totally miss one of them.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Lots. I’ve seen, I don’t know, maybe a dozen so far? I lost count at any rate.

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    Even if I wasn’t going to buy and play the game tomorrow (I loved the original mod and the demo), “The Video That Is Basically Guaranteed To Annoy You To Death” would have convinced me. :D

  19. Premium User Badge

    Flit says:

    I reached a point where the game says “Good Morning Employee 427. Press ‘B’ on your gamepad.” I don’t have a gamepad. Is this supposed to be a dead end?

    • Premium User Badge

      Flit says:

      Well, I tried it again with a gamepad and it worked. I wonder why the game thought I had a gamepad before? (And I guess it was a dead end anyway…)

  20. SuicideKing says:

    Pygmy owls?

  21. philbot says:

    I just finished this game. I have never had that much fun in a game… I found the experience very similar to Antichamber, but it’s also very different. GET THIS GAME.

    Also, this would be a great game for people that don’t play many games.

  22. Flippyot says:

    It’s been a long time since I felt ‘hugged’ by a game. This one feels great. It’s like a grandpa hugging you after you’ve helped him do something and he’s proud of you. Ah, warm and fuzzies.

    At least that was my ending…

  23. Premium User Badge

    bonuswavepilot says:

    Oh man, this game! I found about 6 or 7 endings before I went looking for hints on where the others were, and I am bloody impressed with the sorts of things which have been accounted for.

    The ending (no spoilers, don’t worry) known as the ‘confusion ending’ I think is my favourite so far.

    I also love the fractured story nature of it – where you can’t rely on what you found out last time to be remotely relevant to where this playthrough will take you.

  24. DRoseDARs says:

    I really liked the part with the doors. The narrator (whom I’m now convinced is none other than Gaylord Steambath) did not like the part with the doors, sadly.

  25. MichaelPalin says:

    It’s 2:30 in the morning, I have just finished The Stanley Parable (yes, ALL of it, I’m positive I didn’t left… anything…) and I just wanted to read a simple review of the game before going to bed, and you gave me 12 review (and only the Narrator knows how many extra secret rooms)!! Is this part of the game too? Am I out yet? If I go to pee before going to sleep will I find two doors to choose? I’m not going to have a nice, normal dream tonight, am I?