I’m quite fond of short, experiential games that set out to tell a simple story. I think of them like short stories: something that does not take long to experience but which can subsequently stay with you for some time. Alas, many such games fall under the umbrella of ‘walking simulator’, a rather pejorative name for a genre, but until we have a widely accepted alternative it’ll have to do.
The titular home is a trailer situated in a rural environment, and the game’s short span will involve exploring the surrounding countryside whilst learning about the pivotal moment in the narrator’s childhood. The countryside looks serene and beautiful, and the music and voice acting seem top notch too.
Home Is Where One Starts is the brainchild of David Wehle, whose wife the artist Elise Wehle is providing voice acting and some of the game’s art. Release is projected for this summer, and Oculus Rift DK2 support is planned. I’d love to play this with the Rift, but there’s a bit of a disparity between that hardware’s considerable price tag and the planned $1.99 price of this game. Maybe if I befriend John Carmack on Twitter he’ll send me one? Ethics.
If the game’s title seems familiar it’s because it’s drawn from T. S. Eliot’s poem East Coker, specifically this passage. If you’re after a reference point for Home Is Where One Starts that’s a good place to, er, start. Wehle states that his inspirations also include “the rural countryside and storytellers like John Steinbeck and Terrence Malick”. That works for me! Hey, someone should make a game based on Steinbeck’s Cannery Row – a great little novel.
As for Home Is Where One Starts, if that teaser trailer didn’t tell you enough about the game then a little gameplay footage is also available: