Have You Played… Gone Home?

A cardboard child

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Gone Home opens as Kaitlin Greenbriar returns to her family after spending a year abroad, but rather than a welcome party she finds a curiously empty house and a missing sister.

The game sees you work out what’s been happening in your absence as you pick through your family’s new home, uncovering old stories, school papers, newer letters, mix tapes and zines.

The space of the house, marooned in the mid-nineties has been created with incredible attention to detail – as well as the materials I mentioned above there are VHS tapes which you can tell from the labels have been re-recorded over and scribbled notes for Chun Li moves.

But there’s also a delicious gothic layer. It’s a stormy night as you explore the gloomy mansion and its creepy past; the content you dig through has an air of the tragic thanks to Kaitlin’s father’s subplot and of heightened teen emotion thanks to the unfolding story of sister Sam.

It’s a great piece of work which uses space and design as part of its excellent storytelling.

166 Comments

  1. Bolegium says:

    Why yes, I have played Gone Home. My life experience of the mid-90s was VERY different from that of the characters in the game (and most people in general), but nevertheless, they are probably the most empathetic characters i’ve ever experienced in a game. The “put back” mechanic is also one of the best new developments in first person games, and I really hope that becomes a ‘thing’.

    • souroldlemon says:

      Warning to people looking forward to playing it:
      Some of the comments, especially those whingeing/attacking it, contain spoilers.

    • Bolegium says:

      Also, I was/am an unpaid worker/starving/student and I gladly would have spent $45.1 on this game. I value the experience enough to justify using the money I am forced to spend on food and shelter on this “short” game instead. The accumulated minutes spent playing it were much more memorable and affecting to me than the hundreds of hours i’ve spent on many other games, “free” or otherwise.

      I also want to say how terrific the soundtrack is, both the diegetic music and the soundtrack by Chris Remo, which can be found here:
      link to music.chrisremo.com

      The commentary mode for the game is also great, and some parts are just as emotionally affecting as anything in the game itself.

      • Donjo says:

        Commentary mode! Forgot about that…. a very good reason to play again.

      • Fonzcorp says:

        Commentary mode?! Looks like I’m ‘going back home’. :D

  2. ravencheek says:

    Implying there is any actual game play, and that it’s not just a walking simulator.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Hargle bargle ficky fanky pinky po gargle spuh-roinggg.

      • ravencheek says:

        Nice reply. You contributed a lot to the discussion.

        70 minutes of “game play” is priced at $20 nowadays, considering the hundreds of hours I have sunk into free games I was truly taken aback by how little was on offer here. And how over-hyped it was.

        I bought Gone Home because I enjoyed the Stanley Parable and someone said they are so similar, certainly not worth it for more than double the price and 1/8th the game time (according to steam).

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          This dram of fine single malt only took me ten minutes to drink, I demand a refund

          • ravencheek says:

            I enjoy whisky, I didn’t enjoy Gone Home. A LARGE number of other people on the internet didn’t enjoy it as well.

            My opinion was that it was way over hyped and kinda dull.I apparently stand alone on RPS as the person who didn’t like it so I’ll leave it at that.

            Gone Home will certainly be the last time I ever give in to hype and buy a game full price.

          • derbefrier says:

            ok but that has nothing to do with video games. as you may be well aware of whiskey and video games come with an entirely different set of expectations attached to them.

          • aepervius says:

            You are not alone ravencheek. I found gone home beyond dule, and was happy I played at a friend home rather than buy it (don’t get me started n the “mountain” screen saver…).

          • All is Well says:

            @derbefrier
            It seems almost too obvious to bear pointing out, but I think they know that video games and whiskey are different things. What they were saying was that time consumption is a poor metric for evaluating either one.

          • derbefrier says:

            I dunno I have seen plenty of people here bitch about the prices of AAA games. I understand value is somewhat relative but paying 20 bucks for a 2 or 3 hour games is a legitimate gripe for those it may concern. i mean you wouldn’t pay 60 bucks a for AAA game that ended after 2 hours would you? You say its a poor metric but it also seems to be a popular one among by just about every gamer probably including yourself. Be honest here you can still like a game and admit its a bit on the expensive side considering what else is out there for the same price.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Judging a game that short is a more than legitimate metric. If a game ends after less than 2 hours I haven’t had the time to get drawn in, to learn and then enjoy the mechanics (in the case of Gone Home there are no mechanics, but that is another discussion). If I sat down for an evenings entertainment it would be over long before the evening in question. In every way, a 2 hour long game would leave me unfulfilled and unhappy with the experience because it will always leave me wanting more.

          • aleander says:

            May I suggest playing another game after finishing the first one then? Or, if your religion forbids you from playing two different games in one evening, try reading or watching a movie. Or going for a walk or something.

            Other than that, I think you might be confusing “fulfilled” with “stuffed”.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            We are talking about judging the quality of that particular game. Yes “play another game” is something I could do but it doesn’t change how I would view the game that lasted 2 hours and left me wanting more.

            “Confusing fulfilled with stuffed” ??
            Thanks for putting words into my mouth but no, I was correct with my initial statement.

            In my opinion a game who’s mechanics and gameplay you can learn, master, then finish the game in 2 hours is always going to have a difficult time achieving the kind of depth I am looking for in a game.

            Even from a story perspective, 2 hours does not give you a lot of time to get absorbed into the plot. A movie is 2 hours and that is essentially like playing a video game on a speed run, all the major plot points are covered without any of the gameplay based stuff (walking around, looking for things etc), taking up time, so a game that is 2 hours becomes a very short experience indeed. I’d much rather play something that gives me time to get engrossed in the world that has been created and fully absorb the storyline than something that ends before that has really had a chance to happen.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            @Ravencheek – If LARGE numbers of OTHER people on the INTERNET have ALREADY said WHAT YOU had to SAY, then why the fuck are you HEre saying it all over AGAIN?

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          My apologies, I thought this was the “contribute nothing of substance” thread.

          • Asurmen says:

            There’s more substance in ravencheek’s posts than yours so far.

          • Mark Schaal says:

            Ooh, ooh, here’s my contribution:

            Gone Home is Dark Souls with an actual plot and minus all the boring combat.

            Did I do that right?

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            Hey, rustybroomhandle, your comment is.. .is more like… like a silly simulator than a comment. Yeah. That’s right. I state my opinion on your comment like a fact placed indelicately and don’t you call me out on it.

            Anyway, implying RPS is even a website and not just a clicking generator.

        • piedpiper says:

          I think someone likes this type of games and someone not. I enjoyed it a lot and it’s my second best last year game after Stanley Parable. Why? I just felt emottionally invested in those characters and that home. And I played it before i read any reviews and felt happy that a lot of people enjoyed it too. Maybe because I am sentimental person. Maybe because I was child of 90-s. Maybe because I really like believable places which are felt like someone could really live there.
          Talking about overhyped – Bioschlock Binfinite is the real king of overhyped garbage (though Burial At Sea was far much better).

          • Baines says:

            People can like Stanley Parable and not like Gone Home. Ravencheek enjoyed Stanley Parable, but very obviously didn’t like Gone Home.

            I’d say that Bioshock Infinite isn’t overhyped nearly as much as Gone Home. Bioshock Infinite doesn’t make it onto ‘amazing’ game lists. A good number of people found Infinite underwhelming. People don’t debate whether Infinite is even a game. You can say that you don’t like Infinite without it being taken as an attack on ‘art games’.

            That last bit is part of why Gone Home is so overhyped. It became a figurehead or symbol of a major debate. (Taking Dear Ester’s spot.)

        • wengart says:

          Using gameplay time as a metric of quality or worth isn’t particularly compelling. Personally one of the reasons I really enjoyed Gone Home was because I didn’t have to dedicate hours and hours to it.

          • Niko says:

            Plus, gameplay doesn’t really mean what a lot of people mean. Gameplay is just the way the player interacts with the game, if there is interactivity – there is gameplay.

          • Distec says:

            @Niko

            That’s a pretty simple reduction of the definition of “gameplay” and the argument being had. By that reasoning, anything you interact with can be a game.

            I accept that Gone Home or Dear Esther are going to be called videogames in the modern nomenclature of interactive software. They’re sold on Steam – a game delivery platform – so whatever. But these titles are fundamentally different from traditional games; primarily in that they are completely passive experiences with no systems or rulesets for a player to manipulate, unless they’re willing to make some up. That not only sets it apart from other videogames, but also any game ever (before electricity).

            I liked the discussion about it that followed this article on Gamasutra (despite the author being a twit): link to gamasutra.com
            Gone Home being challenged as a game is not to stick a finger in anybody’s eye. It’s a useful discussion to have.

            At least it’s better than The Mountain though.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Distec
            But these titles are fundamentally different from traditional games; primarily in that they are completely passive experiences with no systems or rulesets for a player to manipulate, unless they’re willing to make some up. That not only sets it apart from other videogames, but also any game ever (before electricity).

            Games of pretend – “playing house” – fit the bill perfectly though, and are some of the most primordial forms of game/playing.

          • Distec says:

            Hmmm… I think you could argue that play or pretending is not necessarily the same as a game. Hide & Seek or Tag could be considered games, given the rules. I don’t think playing House or pretending to be Doctor would really, unless there are some rules made up for it. You can take anything and turn it into a game, certainly. That’s just my simplified, summary of thinking without expounding further for the moment.

            Not saying anybody needs to correct their kids about what games are, or anything that obnoxious. But I do think that Gone Home and Dear Esther are being called such because they just happened to be sold on the same shelfspace with other games, not because they truly are. They’re more like virtual art installations, which is a term I find myself cringing over as I type it.

            And I want to make it clear that arguments about whether Product X is a game should be separated from whether Product X is quality. I don’t care much for Gone Home, obviously. But I thought The Stanley Parable was splendid even though I still struggle somewhat to call it a game.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Distec:

            There’s an argument to be made that you can have play without game. I find it interesting – and fruitful – conceptually in one’s evaluation of the medium, but really I don’t buy it as being descriptive of the whole process as it exists.
            At least it doesn’t’ fit my personal theory of what playing and games happen to be.

            If anything, I would argue to the contrary: the inclusion of Gone Home is being resisted because it is put on the shelf alongside those other games which collectively represent a limited ecosystem whose particularities had so far been the norm.

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t think playing House or pretending to be Doctor would really, unless there are some rules made up for it.

            Coming back on that: there are. Just do an experiment:: take some kid(s), say that you’ll play house, then say someone will play the Indian while someone else will be the cowboy.

            The rules are fluid and fuzzy, they have a NOMIC quality. But they exist and are indisputable in the mind of the players.

          • Niko says:

            I’m not sure how discussing that definition is quite useful, though – the situation’s similar to the one when people call books they don’t like “not literature”. Of course, the term is ambiguous, but I’d prefer to use more definitions, not less. And I don’t think you’ll find a lot of game designers that will support the notion of calling something like Gone Home “not a game”.

          • Distec says:

            @Emeraude
            I think the Cowboys & Indians example kinda supports my point. It’s not really a game until rules are imposed on it, even if they are fuzzy, ambiguous, and subject to the whims of children admittedly. You could say it’s a very bad game! That said, I think there’s a good bit to unravel there, and I’m not averse to shoring up my concept of “gaming”.

            In regards to Gone Home though, I still can’t classify it as a game because of the nature of the object itself, and my argument was that interactivity is not enough to justify the description. I can certainly make a game out of it, whether that’s roleplaying as a sleuth, doing a speedrun, or making it my mission to find all the notes. But Gone Home itself doesn’t care. It’s just a building I can walk around with nothing to affect. The significance of my actions are purely a mental construct. Which is fine, but it’s not too far from me seeing how many pages I can rip from a book in 30 seconds. That too is a game, but it’s not of the book’s making.

            @Niko
            The Gamasutra article I linked does show game developers talking about this at length, and it’s not the only instance of this conversation I’ve seen there either. Obviously I don’t have any numbers that tell me how widespread some of the expressed opinions are, but I would not be surprised if the thoughts of game creators weren’t completely in sync with what media publications say.

        • Cheeetar says:

          Nice initial post! You contributed… oh, nothing. You contributed nothing. Very well then.

        • goatmon says:

          You start off bitching about a game being a “Walking simulator”

          And then proceed to hail Stanley Parable.

          I don’t even

    • ffordesoon says:

      Do you move the characters around and pick stuff up yourself when you’re watching a movie?

      Walking simulators are just adventure games without the boring puzzles.

      • Niko says:

        Fun fact: until the year 2002 the best-selling PC game was Myst, a walking simulator with puzzles.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Indeed. If only it didn’t have the shit puzzles. Then it’d be amazing.

          • Niko says:

            I guess there was this notion in game design that puzzles are super important and some people have been taking it literally, inserting puzzles everywhere.

        • Jalan says:

          You didn’t walk in Myst! You walked in realMyst, dammit.

    • Niko says:

      You are saying “walking simulator” as if it’s a negative.

      • Rakombo says:

        It is a negative, if it was at least a motion simulator that included running it would still be shit but at least then I wouldn’t think the dev is just trying to pad the length of their shit game. It should be called vertical crawling simulator because that’s what it feels like.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          Someday you’ll be able to like and dislike things without making a big deal about it, and you’ll know you’re a fucking adult.

          Jesus, is it that hard to just go “hmm, wasn’t for me?” It’s not like you’ve contributed any real critical analysis, here. You were bored, evidently, and you expect people to care about it.

      • Kala says:

        I don’t think walking simulator has to be a negative in general – just walking can be great depending on the area you’re exploring and the mood being evoked – but I think it’s too often a misused term to mean “well, you don’t DO anything, you just walk around touching stuff!” by people too stupid to understand that the game has a story and that exploring and clicking objects is the mechanic by which the story is unfolding.

        And yes, take the narrative elements of a story based game away, and you *would* just be simulating walking.

        But take the action or shooting out of an action or shooting based game away, and you would also just be simulating walking.

        With regards to Gone Home, it seems mostly a completely asinine statement made by dumb people. (Of course the grand prize of towering stupidity will *always* go to IT’S A GAY LEFTY GAME PROMOTING A LIBERAL AGENDA BIAS CORRUPTION, but ‘walking simulator’ as a criticism isn’t too far behind).

    • Haborym says:

      What’s wrong with a walking simulator? Going for walks irl can be plenty enjoyable.

      • Coinfish says:

        Do you also find running people over like in GTA games, IRL, enjoyable? Shooting a human being IRL? Or trapping them in a pool with no exit IRL? Don’t worry, these are hypothetical. If you still don’t get it, reply.

  3. fco says:

    mm… not sure if I played Gone Home, or if Gone Home played me…

  4. Faxanadu says:

    *Goes to homepage*
    “Hmm, okay…”
    *Watches the launch trailer*
    “Hmm, but, what’s like… The thing that makes it… Good?”
    *Reads youtube comments on launch trailer*
    “…aah.”

    *Clicks x on all tabs*

    • ravencheek says:

      Top comment has to be:

      WALKING LESBIAN SIMULATOR: The Movie: The “Game”

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        Please don’t feel you need to swipe other people’s trash and gaily toss it around our nice tidy front garden. I’ve spent ages on that pond and now it has a thin but pungent vomit slick.

        • Faxanadu says:

          Kinda my fault, ugly comments beget uglier ones, so I’ll do my part. The robot vacuum cleaner I got for xmas should do the trick. *tosses Roomba into the pond* …any minute now.

        • Rakombo says:

          Whether you find the description disgusting or not,it sure is accurate. BTW,here is my favourite “10/10 GOTY (gay of the year)”

          • RARARA says:

            Even your tedious attempt at pedantry fails, considering Kaitlin (the protagonist) isn’t gay, and thus this isn’t a ‘lesbian simulator’.

      • sebmojo says:

        WALKING LESBIAN SIMULATOR: The Movie: The “Game”

        That is actually a bit funny though.

        I figure if it’s annoying people enough to come and actively grar about it then it’s because its making them care in spite of themselves. The victory is that games like gone home now have a space to exist, not that they make some people grumpy.

        • Faxanadu says:

          I’m glad they have the space to exist, thanks to someone finding the space in their time to make one. Not sure where the victory is though, except maybe against laziness.

    • YogSo says:

      Implying there is any actual merit in Youtube comments.

      Am I doing this right, ravencheek?

      • All is Well says:

        I don’t know what you mean. Youtube comments in general, and the ones on that video in particular, have always proven to be indisputable evidence that everything is right with the world, and that our belief in the goodness of humankind is still well founded – not to mention an excellent source of advice.

        • Niko says:

          Indeed. When I need some sensible advice, I go to YouTube comments, and when I require more scholarly sources, I turn my eye to Encyclopedia Dramatica and knowyourmeme dot com.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          YouTube has nothing on Twitch.

          “R U a gril?”

          Followed by thirty full pages of ascii porn.

      • Rakombo says:

        Youtube comments only have merit when they represent opinions you agree with.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Reads youtube comments

      Well that’s where you went wrong, never read youtube comments, you’ll just lose all faith in humanity.

      • Faxanadu says:

        Oh come now, after filtering out the Bob’s with their tanks, all avatars with a fedora on them, supplying the filter with a 2874 word list of phrases, the 1 comment that is left is just fine. (“what song is this?”)

      • Universal Quitter says:

        I’ve had more experiences resembling civilized, rational discourse on YouTube than on this site. At least when a YouTuber complains about what they just clicked on, you can assume it’s simple trolling.

        Here, there seems to be so many genuine bitter assholes that just hate the gaming industry, but refuse to give up the hobby, that it’s almost depressing to read comments.

  5. activity_coordinator says:

    Gone Home designer Steve Gaynor has (had?) a Podcast where he interviews various game developers like Ken Levine, Tim Schafer, Clint Hocking, Tom Francis, etc. All of them are very insightful, sometimes funny, and Steve adds his experiences with working on Bioshock and Gone Home into the conversations.

    link to idlethumbs.net

    I have yet to play Gone Home, it is in my Steam backlog of shame. I hope to get to it soon.

    • unimural says:

      Tone Control is a fairly excellent way to spend time for anyone interested in either the craft of game making or the specific game developers. I hope it will resume some day. Designer Notes (also on Idle Thumbs Network) is most promising as well.

    • Rakombo says:

      It probably was my favorite podcasts, the worst part about it was fucking Steve. Even when I only vaguely knew about him and gone home I just wanted him to stfu. He has industry giants and instead of letting them speak he always felt the need to constantly validate what they were saying and explain how what they said relates to gone home.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Next time you feel like watching a movie, just play this instead.

  6. Anthile says:

    As a matter of fact, I played it not 24 hours ago. It was alright. I don’t really see why people reacted so strongly to it.
    The best thing about it was that you could put the Christmas duck into the Christmas basket. That made my evening.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Because rabble rabble not-a-game rabble rabble lesbians, or something. Hey, there was someone on Eurogamer claiming Left Behind was being praised “because there’s gay in it”, though at least people have downvoted him/her into oblivion by now.

      I bought it full price, played it to completion and liked it very much. I thought the love story was a little pat, the house was far too simplistically modelled to really sell it as a place and the hidden sub-plot was kinda superfluous – it didn’t deserve quite the level of praise it got. But it was very good. It moved me, a lot, and I’m glad it got made. Looking forward to Fullbright’s followup.

      • Faxanadu says:

        Mmm, I won’t get into this too much, but I think it was because, as you said, “it didn’t deserve quite the level of praise it got”, yet polygon made it GOTY 2013. So I suppose if anyone cares about what polygon cares about, kick into fuss mode.

        Edit: Scratch that, it seems multiple outlets chose it as GOTY in some department. Yeah, I can see why people reacted strongly to it.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          It’s entirely subjective if it deserved the praise. That’s the nature of the beast and only really backwards people can get mad at a game they don’t like getting praise.

          I entirely agree with Polygon in this case and it deserved every bit of praise it can get. So there’s that. Who is right? Fuck knows, and it doesn’t matter. Arguing about reviews is dumb as hell.

          • Faxanadu says:

            I don’t know, I kinda like sharing my opinion. That it develops into arguing, now *that* is the nature of the beast.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Nothing wrong with sharing opinions, of course. But the people who dislike Gone Home tends to not stop at dislike but take the escalator all the way up to ‘This game is a personal insult and it mustn’t exist ever!’ (quite amusing, given everything that happened the last couple of months).

          • Faxanadu says:

            Yeah, there will always be those people. Luckily their numbers on games like these are considerably smaller than on games like, Hatred, for an example. So I think we’re pretty cool on that front.

          • fish99 says:

            ” only really backwards people can get mad at a game they don’t like getting praise. ”

            Honestly I think anyone can given the right circumstances.

          • Distec says:

            I think a part of the more visible backlash to the title can be attributed to the discussion around Gone Home itself, less so the actual game. While I absolutely saw narrow-minded nonsense slung at it from one side (“Hey we already have gay people in real life. Can we leave them out of the games pls?”), there was also a current of preening snobbery from some of the more outspoken fans who seemed to relish denigrating others’ tastes (“I guess some of you are too DUMB to enjoy anything other than your Call of Manshoot games”).

          • Slaadfax says:

            I liked Gone Home quite a bit, but in my opinion, Gone Home is very similar but substantially inferior to To the Moon. Unfortunately, it seems that To the Moon has largely fallen off the radar by comparison.

            Since the games are very similar in the respect that they are heavily narrative in nature and a little gameplay-lite, it would appear that the differentiating factor is the subject matter. While homosexuality and the journey one might face with it (good gravy, especially in the 90s) is an important topic that has been rarely covered in video games, I don’t believe that timeliness of subject matter can carry a game as far as it has seemed to with Gone Home.

            I believe certain outlets (not including RPS, mind you) became and remain a bit carried away with their enthusiasm with this game.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            I think the issue a lot of people had with it was, take a 90 minute long game with nothing in the way of mechanics, add a story about lesbians and all of a sudden it’s winning multiple game of the year awards, mostly because it fit the whole social justice narrative that these sites are perpetually peddling, rather than it being the best game on merit.

            There was also a large chunk of hipster nonsense surrounding this game. “It’s great man, YOU just don’t get it” type of thing.

          • Muzman says:

            “add a story about lesbians and all of a sudden it’s winning multiple game of the year awards, mostly because it fit the whole social justice narrative that these sites are perpetually peddling,”

            Oh this is probably why people were mad. It’s also why they were wrong.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            I disagree. Make this game about a white male protagonist and it would not have gotten a tenth of the press or accolades it did and you know it. It ticked the box for “social diversity in gaming”, because of it people were almost scared to criticise the game, they wouldn’t write anything bad about it nor be objective that the game actually was a fairly mundane short story with little in the way of mechanics.

            I guarantee if Brothers had instead been called Sisters and featured lesbians it would have been the game winning awards and not Gone Home.

          • Muzman says:

            That’s a loser argument right from the start. You’re basically saying people didn’t actually like it and can assert this with confidence based on, well, nothing that I can see.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            I never said people didn’t like it. However it is difficult to argue against it being an average game by most metrics. People liked the narrative, that’s fine. To somehow turn that into multiple game of the year awards because it ticked the right social justice narrative is what people object to. Not the fact it got good reviews, but the fact praise for the game was blown all out of proportion entirely because of the subject matter.

            Sites like Polygon naming a 90 minute walking simulator as the best game of the year is nothing more than a political statement in my eyes.

          • Muzman says:

            You’re doing it again. It got Goatees because it ticked social justice narrative boxes. Rubbish. It could just as likely be that, of the dozens reviewers must slog through every year, they found it a touching and novel experience in a way that few games are.
            The reverse is what? That they should suppress these reactions in favour of some assessment of the political climate in the audience? Apply some cod “objective” standard of ‘most game’ assessed via some made up metrics? Pay greater lip service to “quality” that is also popular or profitable?
            I can’t think you’re implying anything else besides these sorts of things. It always used to be this way and it’s a crappy way to dish out awards that I’m happy as hell games journalism is getting away from.

            There’s got to be some milquetoast rags left that give everything to the Halo of that year to keep conformists happy. Surely a few deviations aren’t so terrible.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            I’ve played cute little games like Gone Home in the past and liked them because of some intangible. That is not the issue. Calling it game of the year when it is devoid of mechanics and 2 hours long is still utter nonsense by any metric. For some writers everything else about the game went out the window and rational assessment was completely lost because of some twee little story about a teenager.

            It’s also no surprise that the sites voting Gone Home game of the year are also the ones most aggressively pushing the whole social justice narrative (Polygon and Kotaku spring to mind). This game fit right into their wheelhouse which is why they were more than happy to praise the game to high heavens whilst conveniently ignoring any negatives about the game.

            Quote from Kotaku
            “It’s silly to get frustrated with a game because it’s not another, different type of game. Its ability to subvert video game tropes, and to push directly against what we expect from a video game played in the first person is easily its greatest strength”

            That’s the biggest load of twaddle I’ve ever read, just remove any semblance of mechanics and all of a sudden it’s “pushing against what we expect from a video game”? Dear Ester did that a year earlier, where were it’s game of the year awards? Yet read countless articles about the game, lots of writers are incapable of any negatives about the game as if it would reduce their standing among the social justice crowd because they said something bad about a game with lesbians in it.

            I still maintain that the subject matter caused certain writers to blow all praise for this game way out of proportion and that’s why they ended up giving it game of the year, not because the game merited it.

          • SwingToTheMiddle says:

            Smoky, I literally made an RPS account right now JUST so I could tell you you’re not alone in thinking the way you do.

            It disgusts/depresses me how low the bar is set for titles that cater to a social-liberal agenda, and don’t even do it WELL; just imagine if the ending was tweaked at the last possible moment, to where the white father ran away with his white secretary: would people have called the title’s mechanics/”ambiance” just as “profound” or “unprecedented” then? Might not have even the same liberal circles supporting Gone Home right now OPPOSED it in that particular scenario, for promoting what they’d claim to be such a narrow-minded/”hetero-normative” view of human sexuality?

            What’s more, championing such undeserving chattel as Gone Home alienates the TRUE heroes of LGBT gaming culture, such as Tomb Raider 2013 (Laura is bi,) which is easily my favorite action game of that year, and probably my favorite portrayal of a sexually unorthodox protagonist in gaming history.

            Two things happened simultaneously that tipped me off as to how bad Gone Home was going to be in the end: the price-to-playability ratio (it was a $20!! game being given glowing reviews by people who “finished” the game in 3-4 hours max,) and a quote on the Steam Page from some New York Times bigwig who called it “the greatest video game love story ever told” (a claim easily debunked by a single blessed title I’d played in the past, Shadow of the Colossus.)

            Knowing that mainstream media endorsing ANYTHING from their frenemies over at Video Gaming HQ could only be a bad thing, I checked in with the title and, lo and behold, were it not for the “surprise” gay ending at the last possible second (which again, did NOT have to be sooo lame in its entirety had the developers simply possessed the wherewithal to create a profound experience, as opposed to a Newgrounds-quality panderfest; sitting here I can already map out a much better theoretical game where you had to hide the fact that the “sister” you sent censored letters from your ’90s military academy to was actually your wife, and “Gone Home” is all that Gaynor et al. could come up with?! Pathetic!) the game would be indistinguishable from the terrible, terrible “Pewdie-bait” hallway-crawl drivel you see clogging the airwaves nowadays.

            I am in awe of media outlets such as Eurogamer, which stood up for the rights of the consumer by giving the game the mediocre marks it so readily deserved, simply because they judged it on the basis of being a GAME (meaning all they did was what they’re PAID to do) and not on the basis of some kind of sociopolitical rallying cry for the left-wing sweethearts of today’s mainstream gaming media (although I am happy to say that with Total Biscuit, a renowned moderate in such matters, winning the “Trending” title at The Game Awards, much hope still remains for society in the future.)

            All in all, I hope that people use Gone Home for what it actually was: a measuring stick with which you could test a media outlet to see if they were willing to honor the viewer’s right to objective guidance above any sort of biased personal agenda. Any outlet that failed to refrain from leaping onto the bandwagon has failed the litmus test de facto, and can now conveniently be moved to the back-end of your browser Bookmarks accordingly.

            ANYONE who thinks that the $20 Gone Home is comparable in its depth/emotion/impact/ANYTHING to other $20 titles like Skyrim or Dishonored needs to be demoted from a position of trust in gaming society pronto, because we don’t need the left-wing equivalents of Bill O’Reilley telling us “pinheads” which games are good for us, and which ones we should leave alone.

            We are adults, thank you very much, and we know shills when we can smell them.

        • RARARA says:

          People who get angry over someone else liking something they don’t are the worst. As Jim Fucking Sterling (Son) put it, he got the greatest amount of harassment not from negative reviews, but from positive reviews. The mind boggles.

          • Faxanadu says:

            Bwhaha. Mmm, I don’t think this is the case here, because awarding one game leaves another wanting, but as for what you’re talking about, I think it’s this very basic kind of thinking, that there’s always something bad, but not always something good. Then when someone says there’s something good, he’s gonna have to cross hell or high water to prove it is so.

            A while ago I was listening to the news, and there was some good news. My reaction was, “okay, but since it’s good, why are you telling me this?” Not sure if this connects to anything, but to me it depicts how good things always meet strife.

            Someone dislikes a game I like. My reaction. Someone likes a game I dislike. My reaction. Two very different reactions. Thanks for this food for thought. :3

          • Eight Rooks says:

            On the off-chance this actually needs to be said, I don’t hate that Gone Home got the praise it did. I just don’t agree that it merited all of it. I lost count of the reviews – RPS’s WiT among them, I’m pretty sure – praising the house as totally realistic, packed with countless unique props etc., etc. Sorry, not seeing it: it’s about what you’d expect from a relatively competent Half-Life 2 mod, with a ton of very low detail art, awkward design for the sake of making it a “game”, repeating items, corners obviously cut and so on. That the developers were a tiny team with their hearts in the right place shouldn’t excuse that being pointed out, and yes, I do think that’s pretty much what happened. The story was hardly the after-school special lots of people dismissed it as, but it was arguably pretty cut-and-dried, and while I do think it deserved the column inches about how it was talking about people who… don’t normally get to see their experiences talked about? I’m not at all sure that automatically made the game great in and of itself, and yes, I think a lot of the people who reviewed the game and discussed it spoke about it as if that was the case. So yeah. I don’t agree it was the world-shaking, paradigm changing 10/10 game of the year some people seemed to think, and I don’t think saying I disagree is wasted effort. Not least because, like I said, I still thought it was very, very good, I’m happy it got made, I’m fine with having paid the original asking price and I’m pleased I finished it.

      • wengart says:

        I really enjoyed Gone Home and I suspect a portion of my enjoyment, and part of the reason it was received so well, is that it is fairly unique.

        After I finished playing I really wanted to have another experience like that and I couldn’t find anything similar. So it has managed to be one of the games that stuck with me since I’ve played it. Which has been more than a year at this point.

        If someone asked me to name my favorite games Gone Home would certainly be on that short list just because it stands out so much. Sure I really enjoyed Far Cry 3, but it happens to be one of hundreds of shooters I’ve played at this point and it blends into the background.

  7. Stellar Duck says:

    I have! And I found it splendid and I love it!

    It made me an unrepentant fanboy of Fullbrights (as if my previous just liking Steve Gaynor wasn’t enough) and I’m super duper looking forward to their next game.

  8. GameCat says:

    If it didn’t had voiceover I would probably stop playing this game after 10 minutes. It isn’t just fun. And while not every game/book/movie must be “fun”, Gone Home was just dull. Walk around house, look at that all references (wow, they’re playing Street Fighter and watch X-Files, whooo, awesome! except it’s not, move along), get bored.

    • piedpiper says:

      Yeah like Eraserhead was fun. Still it’s one of the best films ever made.

    • phailhaus says:

      Interesting you should say that: the voiceovers pretty much *are* the point of the game. Without the voiceovers there is no Gone Home; it’s all about this girl’s story of growth and self-discovery.

      • GameCat says:

        But you can disable the voiceover in options or I’m just imagining things?

        • aleander says:

          You can also turn off your monitor. It will be even worse then. Also, AFAIR it has closed captions, though I found the voice acting a fairly significant part of it.

  9. jonahcutter says:

    It does a very good job of telling a very sweet teen love story. And it does the 90’s very well. It’s well worth anyone’s time, if they are not somehow offended by a game primarily about storytelling.

    Though, the secret passages stretch credibility quite a bit. But as is said, video games!

  10. SkittleDiddler says:

    Gone Home is sitting in my backlog with around 700 other games. Maybe I’ll get to it eventually.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      You can power through it in an evening. I’d recommend doing so, it’s a really nice story.

    • SwingToTheMiddle says:

      What’s sad is that for a $20 title, you’d be surprised at how little time is required to finish it.

  11. Jason Moyer says:

    Gone Home is one of the very few recent games where I installed it just to check it out, with no real intention of dedicating more than a few minutes to playing it, and then looked up a few hours later and had finished it and wanted more. I find the game to be much more in the spirit of an immersive sim than a walking simulator.

    The reaction to it showed me there were a lot more right-wing nutbags playing videogames other than Call Of Duty than I expected.

    • Distec says:

      As we all knew before then, only liberal-minded people played video games.

      In any case, despite some traditional outrage over depicting homosexuals as normal people (which is so predictable at this point it’s hardly noteworthy), I saw a lot of confusion as to how such a boring experience received so many accolades. And you don’t have to be a nutter to think that much of its reception was due to the sexual orientation of its main character, and I also imagine its suburban 90’s nostalgia resonated among much of the gaming media who came from exactly that kind of specific upbringing.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        For me most of the appeal has to do with having a believable game space and allowing you to interact with it. Something that seems incredibly basic yet nearly every videogame set in a 3-D space utterly fails at it.

        • Doomsayer says:

          I can completely agree with you there. A believable space, doing believably normal things, in a way that you can feel like you’re actually there. The game certainly has many flaws, but it’s an important pioneering effort that will not be forgotten.

      • Archonsod says:

        ” I also imagine its suburban 90’s nostalgia resonated among much of the gaming media who came from exactly that kind of specific upbringing.”

        Yup. There’s barely any gameplay to speak of, the story falls into the semi-awkward “young adult fiction” trap a little too much and the replay value is close to nil. The atmosphere is great, however I’m well aware that my main enjoyment in that respect is purely nostalgia driven – I can easily see why anyone who wasn’t a teenager in the nineties would be somewhat non-plussed.

        Cutting through the hype, all you really have here is a graphical adventure of the Myst / 7th Guest lineage with most of the logic puzzles removed in favour of incredibly simple ‘find the key’ mechanisms largely there to preserve the chronological order of the story. What it does do, like it’s predecessors, is provide just enough narrative detail to allow the player to fill in the blanks with their own interpretations rather than having the story thrust upon them, which to be fair is pretty rare in modern games. Unfortunately it’s also something which only a small audience are likely to find appealing to begin with.

        • GameCat says:

          I’m sorry, aside from father probably beign abused when he was a child sub-plot, which is only barely hinted everything else is literally put right on the paper/voiceover and you can see the twist from miles, few entries after Lonnie is introduced.

          There’s a very little room for interpretation, at least in main plot.

          • Muzman says:

            The parents relationship and work isn’t really. Unless I’m forgetting. And when you say it’s on the page, only in the sense that you can piece together most things fairly easily that aren’t in the voiceover (and with the voiceover). But it isn’t like these bits of information are infodump style exposition spelling out exactly what’s going on, spoken in dire cliches. They are mostly in-world documents, articles, notes. Written to serve their fictional purpose, not directly impart information to the audience.

            See, when people often say -and they do- that Gone Home was pretty simple story wise, they are ignoring all the comprehending they had to do to reach that conclusion. You don’t have to like the end result, but the fact people thought it was so easy usually means they didn’t even know they were doing this. Which is something games just don’t do or do very badly, by and large. It’s a funny place where in every argument of late people rush to say “Look we know games writing is base idiotic gibberish most of the time. We don’t need (whoever gamers hate this week) to tell us that!”. So when a game comes along with quite interesting environmental storytelling, to tell an admittedly straightforward story quite well, the reaction is “Well, it’s hardly Tolstoy now is it? Overrated!”.
            Making it look easy is the mark of many a stand out performance.

            I will say it didn’t entirely knock it out of the park. It could have really used a brilliant audio system to give it more immersion. And I do think that was probably within their means (Thief did it 15 years earlier. Unity probably can manage something more, I’d think. but I don’t know).

          • GameCat says:

            I once thought that “enivromental storytelling” is The Holy Grail of videogames, but if it boils down to “roam around to find notes conveniently placed all over the map” then it’s just lazy approach.
            “Hey, we didn’t wanted to make any NPCs, because animating them is too much effort, here, read that note instead of having a meaningful conversation with another human beign!” Sigh…

            Meanwhile, in the same year we got Gone Home – Kentucky Route Zero is also released. And KR0 did so much more than GH to expand gaming storytelling devices, yet it was GH that people were talking about.

          • Muzman says:

            Doing any of the things Gone Home did as well as Gone Home did them could never be lazy.

            I’ll give you Kentucky Route Zero as a pretty artistically impressive piece of work though. I seem to remember RPS catching flack for giving game of the year (essentially) to a game that wasn’t finished. So you can chuck plaudits at anything and people will complain.

    • Faxanadu says:

      Calling someone “right-wing nutbags” as a response to being accused of politics in the game grading, doesn’t quite roll down the hill without breaking necks and pelvises.

  12. elderman says:

    Spoilers, of course:

    I loved the way my understanding of the house changed as I explored. In my mind, the house turned from a frightening unknown territory to a familiar place filled with heartwarming memories. I felt like I took an emotional journey that paralleled Samantha’s discovery of her sexuality.

    That said, I’m not on board with the end. With a perspective a few weeks since I finally played through the game, I remember swelling music and a charming love-nest. But teens declaring eternal love and running away is not charming and romantic in my mind. It’s daft and hormone driven the way adolescents often are. That may make the end true to life, but since the game feels, for reasons I don’t have time to unpack, more like a parable than a realistic drama, I feel invited to approve of the decision, and I don’t think that’s right.

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      It’s funny you say this, I often think Romeo & Juliet is a satire of such adolescent behaviour, not at all an endorsement. It would have been nice if Gone Home had that sort of step back to the situation.

      • elderman says:

        To those of us who love Shakespeare, just about anything suffers in comparison. I’m not going to re-install the game to check, but thinking about it afterward, I think it’s the non-diegetic music that makes it not work for me.

        • Jeroen D Stout says:

          That is quite true. It is impossible, arguably, to exceed Shakespeare on his own terms in our time. But I would say we need to be far more aware of previous work… much of what made Shakespeare and much work afterwards so great was its knowledge of humanity and its willingness to engage it intellectually. That is a standard we can live up to in our time.

          I suppose I meant the Romeo & Juliet comment rather as an illustration how often I see them brought up as impossible lovers and ideal romance, which is contrary to how I feel Shakespeare wrote the very text; and Gone Home, while in a perfect position, does not really step outside of itself.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Honestly, I think that’s a matter of who interprets. I didn’t feel that the game wanted me to approve of their dumb choice. What I thought was pretty much ‘Sam, you dumb, dumb girl. Get your ass back here so we can hash this nonsense out. And for fucks sake, be careful!’

      It was cute, in that lame way teens can be cute about these things, but that’s not the same as the game approving of it, I think. Granted, it’s been since release since I played it so I may miss something, but certainly, at the time, I never felt like it was a sweet ending. It was a dumb move caused by dumb reasons all round, both from parents and from Sam.

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        For the record, I don’t think the fiction seems to approve of her decision… perhaps I just felt it was too hands-off on the side of the fiction. I felt I did not get enough from the game world to really have much of a feeling on the end.

        EDIT: That is to say, I am not unsympathetic to the characters, I just felt that the world created by the game did not give me enough context to ‘get’ the ending, as opposed to ‘observing’ the ending.

        • elderman says:

          Well, interesting that people have different reactions.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          I had the distinct impression that the fiction approved of her decision, and presented it as a happy ending, which I found appalling. Two girls who aren’t even of age are now living alone, in a city they know nothing about, one having no abilities other than writing (which everyone knows is not exactly a direct route to wealth and comfort) and the other one having just dropped out of the career path she had spent almost literally her entire life working towards. In the real world those two would end up as corpses in a river very shortly.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            Let’s not forget they stole all the VCR’s. I know that’s pretty punk but I suppose for the real wild unbound bad-person vibe of punk you need at least that thrill of living in the moment, doing unwise things, not caring… but you cannot lay the groundwork of that with such a more ‘regular life’ tone.

          • Muzman says:

            Well, and spoils obviously, I think that once I’ve filled the comment preview with nothing in particular I’d say that you are being fed a few clues that something worse might happen. And if you know youth fiction and drama it often does. So the uplift at the end is a little bitter sweet in that you’re still left alone, people have rashly but romantically run away, but at least nothing really final and terrible has happened (to your knowledge).

            The Romantic angle, with a capital R, is something people dismiss a lot in criticism and the game’s appeal too, I think. And I’m left with thinking that’s basically because they are blokes who don’t care about such things, by and large. But there’s a heck of a lot of people in the world who love that sort of thing. The tragedy and stupidity of giving over to powerful emotions has many fans. To frame the story back as lacking proper patrician morality in condemning its characters seems to miss the point entirely.
            Then again such approaches to criticism aren’t unusual in any medium and I’ve often had trouble with them there as well..

  13. JOJOFACE says:

    Loved it. I really, really wish there was just a little bit more of the supernatural element that was hinted at all game, though. Exploring the house was a joy and I found myself taking notes on a scratch piece of paper trying to put all the names and dates in place. Enjoyed it a lot!

    • Shuck says:

      Spoilers:
      I think the supernatural element was just right – we’re clearly not meant to take it seriously (because it’s impossible to do so), but it helps set a mood of dread that seamlessly shifts into players worrying about the fates of the living inhabitants of the house. In the end the game hints that house/family are haunted, but not by supernatural ghosts but by history and trauma.

    • Donjo says:

      The giant octopus was really scary.

  14. Freud says:

    I didn’t like the ending. It didn’t make any sense for the ghost to eat the sister.

  15. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Amongst the general hullabaloo when this came out I ended up hearing what the overall story was. Would you say the game is still worth playing? I’ve heard that a lot of the experience is to do with uncertainty about exactly what sort of story you’re going through, (to what extent it’s a horror game, for example,) and knowing how it all turns out may spoil that and make it a bit of a flat experience.

    Also, according to my spellchecker, “hullabaloo” is a real word. Fancy that.

    • piedpiper says:

      Do you like reading good book if you know how it ends? Same with this game.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      The easiest way to spoil Gone Home is to play it thinking it’s a horror game. You are now free from this burden. Go play it.

      Just look out for the ghosts.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I have, and it was one of the loveliest gaming experiences I ever had.

  17. Rufust Firefly says:

    This is such a finely-crafted game. Loved it. And no mention would be complete without a visit to the most interactive fridge in gaming history.

    I have high hopes for Tacoma after enjoying the heck out of Gone Home.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      Most interactive fridge, but not best fridge contents.

    • Josh W says:

      Another cool thing, when Kaitie puts things back, she doesn’t just put them in the same place, sometimes she puts them where she thinks they ought to go, or puts lids on slightly differently.

  18. ffordesoon says:

    I haven’t. I started it once, liked what I played, and just never got back to it. I should!

  19. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    It was okay. I liked it more because I wanted more games like it and I think it’s a gateway. I have now more hopes for the game Tale of Tales is making (uh… Tropicool?) than for Fullbright’s next one (uh… Topeca? I’m awful with names).

    I can see myself eating those words in the future because fucking Tale of Tales but for the time being I’ll stand by them.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Ah, Tale Of Tales. I love that they exist, and I find their games to be a load of pretentious wank.

      And yes, I’m aware that pretentious is a word-grenade often lobbed in error by idiots who hate having to think about the media they consume. But it really does apply to Tale Of Tales and their output.

      What’s hilarious to me is that there are people who think Gone Home is pretentious. Their heads would explode if they ever played Vanitas or The Graveyard.

  20. Donners says:

    Yep, played it. Neither the story nor setting did much for me, despite being a child of the ’90s. I liked bits of the writing – the sex ed essay is a particular favourite – and the voiceover was fine, but it had no emotional impact or connection at all.

  21. Fobok says:

    Just finished it tonight. Amazing game. The story hooked me thoroughly. So much so my heart was in my throat as I approached the final area. I don’t want to say too much, so not to spoil. However, I absolutely loved this.

    • jezcentral says:

      Agreed. I haven’t felt that stressed entering a game location since The Cradle.

  22. Haborym says:

    I have not. Is it any good? I’m a pretty open minded guy who likes to try new things. The more unusual the better too.

    • Coinfish says:

      Do you like stanley parable? Then go for it. Otherwise, don’t.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It’s very well-written, and it’s good if you’re into the “first person experience” thing. If anything, I think it highlights how difficult the balance of good story/good gameplay really is. The developers were able to tell a tightly-nit, compelling story precisely because they didn’t need to think up much of a game to go along with it. It’s still clever how it all unfolds though. Certainly worth a purchase.

  23. sventoby says:

    I guess I’m too old school for this. I understand that people want games to tell stories, but they really aren’t a good medium for it. Read a book or watch a movie instead. Give me double jump and instagib.

  24. Rakombo says:

    Didn’t play,thought about it but it looks like the Stanley parable if you stripped away anything interesting. I still don’t understand how people think that this is a good direction for video games,it doesn’t take advantage of the most unique aspect of video games,the fucking gameplay.

    Whether the story is good or it’s complete shit is irrelevant,this shit can be done with interactive movies or choose your own adventure books.The reason they made it into a video game is because none would give a fuck about their creation if it was something else.

    • zarniwoop says:

      “The reason they made it into a video game is because none would give a fuck about their creation if it was something else.”

      That sounds like an excellent reason to me.

      Anyway, I loved it. Yes, the story doesn’t match up to the great Russians’ best works, but that would only really matter if there were loads of better stories in games, and sadly there aren’t.

      Here’s hoping this inspires people to create more and improved walking simulators. Who else is looking forward to Firewatch?

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      “the fucking gameplay”

      Now now, you know Steam doesn’t allow pornography to be sold on its platform.

  25. Coinfish says:

    Walking simulator and over-hyped. Not a bad game as a WS genre but that’s it. Most of us are disappointed seeing this getting GOTY award only for an obvious reason, one that most don’t give a damn.

    • Caleas says:

      Indeed! But then again years later some might look back at this and recognize it as the boring waste of a game it was in the first place. Atm from a social justice pov some are looking at it with rose-collared glasses … Btw Legend of Korra was a REALLY good tv show and did the same.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        From a “social justice pov” … ?

        Oh do elaborate on this because it seems rather irrelevant to anything here.

        • ffordesoon says:

          I think what Caleas meant is that the game has recieved critical praise because it portrays a non-heteronormative relationship, and that this is somehow a bad thing.

          • Distec says:

            I think Caleas’ point, despite being ineloquent, is that was the primary reason it got such high praise. You sure you didn’t add that last part yourself?

          • joa says:

            Yeah it is a bad thing. It’s like an Arthur Miller play in game form.

            Should people get praised for releasing total shite just because that shite is socially conscious?

          • Wytefang says:

            There are plenty of people, normal, intelligent, healthy people who disagree with that lifestyle. I imagine that’s why many people see it as not a normative thing.

          • Ada says:

            Hey, can an admin please delete Wytefang’s naked homophobic nonsense? That’d be really swell.

          • Wytefang says:

            Grow up, Ada. And stop misusing the word “homophobic” like most of your ilk do. It’s incorrect. Just because someone doesn’t agree with that biologically antithetical lifestyle doesn’t even remotely mean they have an abnormal psychological fear of it. That’s laughably idiotic.

            Furthermore, they could just as easily delete your determined attempt to censor other posters from sharing an opinion. #pathetic

          • Bolegium says:

            Seconding Ada’s comment, Wytefang’s first comment was obviously homophobic and inane. ‘Normal, healthy people think a lifestyle they are against is abnormal’ – how’s that for a ridiculous circular tautology? (“Ridiculous circular tautology” – here’s another one)

            Wytefang’s reply only further antagonises and showcases their ignorance/malice.
            What on earth is a “biologically antithetical lifestyle”? Somehow I doubt that if you asked that question to a prokaryotic organlle that the answer would be ‘homosexuality’. Nor would a modern biologist give that answer (or any).

            Wytefang also pedantically attacks the use of the word homophobic by most of Ada’s “ilk” (and since we are being pedantic, who are these people exactly? Was that referring specifically to people with three-letter-length palindromic usernames, or in general to people who grow old as time passes?)

            I hope Wytefang isn’t as pedantic about the use of the words ‘oleophobic’, and ‘dinosaur’. In case they are, please allow me to allay those worries, oleophobic screen protectors do not actually have an “abnormal psychological fear” of oil (they just repel oil), and dinosaurs are not actually “terrible lizards” (they are a sub-order of Reptilia, not Lacertilia, and not particularly terrible). It is indeed idiotic that a person would incorrectly use such words based solely on an arbitrarily specific and literal translation of their Latin/Greek etymological roots, and then proceed to hypocritically attack people who use them correctly with modern english definitions. Nonetheless I do think laughing at such idiocy is mean spirited and pointless, and it would be a shame to engage in such misanthropic behaviour, so I propose the compromise of using the words ‘bigoted’ and ‘prejudiced’ to describe Wytefang’s views since they don’t seem to understand what homophobia means.

            Furthermore, I don’t see how Ada’s single two-line comment in a thread 160+ comments long, amounts to a “determined attempt to censor other posters”. The commenting and moderation guidelines are clearly visible above the reply area. Wytefang’s initial post was quite offensive, despite (or rather exacerbated by) the attempt to camouflage it behind a bunch of weasel words (just for clarification: I don’t mean words that are actual weasels).

            Happy new year everyone!

  26. Jericho says:

    Gone Home is a weird one. I picked up the game after I saw the first opening moments of it from one of Jim Sterling’s “Squirty Play” videos because I always enjoy games that let me freely explore every nook and cranny of an environment. I fell in love with Amnesia partly because of that, sticking my virtual nose into every nook, cranny, drawer, and cabinet of that spooky castle.

    Gone Home pretty much scratched that itch for me, if you will. I went into it having read none of the press on it, just hoping for a game where I could snoop around, look for clues, and generally invade other people’s private lives without their knowledge. The numerous stories involving the family that lived in the home (and their friends and relatives) was just icing on the cake as far as I was concerned. Considering my tastes, I was happy that the game “rewarded” me for checking every last drawer, cabinet, and wastebasket for brick-a-brack, and I even wasted some time building a tower out of tissue boxes (man, this family had a lot of them lying about!) in the foyer. The fact that I was a teenager in the ’90s, and thus quite familiar with all the ’90s memorabilia, hit me harder than most in the nostalgia organs, but the game could have been set in any other time period and I still would have been interested to keep on digging through wastebaskets and underwear drawers.

    I’m not sure what that says about me as a person, but this game filled in all the right gaps in my brain’s “intrigue” centers. The actual floor plan of the house bothered me a bit, as architecture is a hobby of mine and the “house” probably couldn’t really exist as-is. It has a little bit of the Resident Evil “75% hallways” syndrome, but at least there was a reasonable number of restrooms (I’m looking at you, Raccoon City Police Department!).

    So when I checked the press after playing the game, a lot of people seemed very upset that certain other people found the game enjoyable. I don’t really “get” that anger, save that I suppose some places were pretty adamant that Gone Home was amazing and that anyone that thought otherwise were dummies. But come on, getting angry at a game because a journalist calls you a funny name for not liking it as much as them is pretty much the definition of misplaced anger.

    Anyway, back to staring intently at my base cut-away in XCOM…

  27. newprince says:

    I really thought I wouldn’t enjoy Gone Home, because the genre is just not one I typically go for. But due to hype and a timely Steam sale earlier this year, I figured I’d try it out. I was very pleased with it overall, although I’m not sure I would have recommended it at full price.

    It’s interesting that a game could instill such nostalgia and empathy in me, a straight white male with a brother, which was pretty different than the character you play as. I think that should imply some humanistic themes are present and effective in the game, or maybe all video games.

    Whether it was fun or had tight gameplay, well, I don’t think that really matters at the end of the day. When I open up Steam, I want an experience, and if it’s fun, a guilty pleasure, makes you think, makes you cry, well… it seems all worth it.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Stupid narrative that thinks that pure exposition and reiteration is the way to go. One of the worst recommendations of RPS that, again, alienated the indie games.

  29. ilta says:

    I have played it and I regret it. Gone Home was my biggest gaming related disappointment of 2014. I have never seen so many game critics miss the mark so badly. So thanks a lot, critics.

    I liked the first 15 to 30 minutes, because the great sound design and nice atmosphere seemed to suggest that something interesting was going to happen. Then nothing happened.

    The main story about silly teenage love is somewhat cute, but mostly just boring and the ending is among the worst I’ve seen in games. The most interesting story in this game is the father’s subplot and that is covered in less than 5 minutes.

    Collecting unintelligible notes – I wish they were voiced, then finding all of them would feel more of an achievement – scattered around a house is not my idea of fun or excitement. I just wish the developers don’t drown themselves in self-satisfaction and manage to raise the bar higher on their next game.

  30. Cake Dispenser says:

    I’v actually enjoyed it alot! It had a nice atmosphere and I enjoyed exploring the house and reading all the notes. I know some people didn’t like the game but I did.