Thursday, 18 June 2015

Go Home


I like games which tell stories. Recently I have been enjoying a computer game genre sometimes described as "walking simulators" - games which aren't based on fast action, shooting, jumping and so on, but are instead more introspective affairs utilising exploration and story as their main elements, occasionally with a few puzzles. Last night I played Gone Home and recommend it if you're interested in this genre.

The setting:
June 7, 1995. 1:15 AM.
You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something's not right. Where is everyone? And what's happened here?
Gone home is an interactive exploration simulator. Interrogate every detail of a seemingly normal house to discover the story of the people who live there. Open any drawer and door. Pick up objects and examine them to discover clues. Uncover the events of one family's lives by investigating what they've left behind.

I have to be careful what I say since I don't want to give anything away. It hit the perfect sweet spot for me. It's not too long (you can complete it in an evening; quicker if you don't explore every nook and cranny); it inspired different emotions at different times, rather than being one-note; it has believability; it offers an interesting premise and a compelling story revealed gradually. I think most people, gamers or not, could get something from this game if you approach it in a relaxed way, a bit like curling up with a good book. I'm glad games like this exist.

[Note: despite the possibly ominous setting it is not a horror/jumpscare/Hollywood thriller type of story, so if you avoid those types of games, don't avoid Gone Home! It’s heart is about families/people.]

Buy it or find out more here.

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