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Gone Home |OT| I ain't afraid of no ghost!

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Jun 7, 2004
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I think what it comes down to, is that games like this shouldn't really be bought. They should be experienced a single time - like a rental - but owning them outright is excessive. If I could pay for a Netflix-like service, where I can experience 5-10 handpicked indies like this a month - I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

Nobody makes games like Gone Home. And if you want the market to go in a direction where nobody is allowed to make any money producing a title like Gone Home, then developers will continue to not make games of that ilk.

Netflix has almost no first-run content. Movies often do not go up until years after they were released in theatres and have made a ton of money from the box office and DVD sales and HBO.

If you don't want to pay $7-10 per hour of content, then don't go to a movie or buy a game on the day it's released. Let the creators take in as much as they can at a premium price, then buy it later when it's marked down or put in a bundle.
 

Ledsen

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Mar 25, 2007
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Value is subjective. Always will be. I personally find measurable time a poor indication of what I personally value most in games. Satisfaction of play and emotional resonance take far higher priority, and generally dictate how monetarily valuable I perceive a game to be.

Given what I experienced with and took away from Gone Home, it was worth every single cent.

I agree. "Time played" has nothing to do with value for me personally. To paraphrase Einstein: A game should be made as long as it needs to be, but not longer. Whether that happens to be 3 hours or 50 hours doesn't really matter to me, although the shorter the game, the greater the chance I'll actually play through it. I completed Gone Home in one sitting, and that heightened the experience for me in much the same way as watching a movie in one sitting does. The length was exactly right for the amount of content that was there, and the amount of content also felt exactly right. Whether I'm paying $10 or $15 or $20 in that context matters very little to me, because the experience was so satisfying. Now obviously, the difference between $15 and $20, though small to me, might be significant for someone else. It's very hard to put a value on experience, but for me, the space the memory of it takes up in my mind and thoughts is more important than the length of the actual experience.
 

SparkTR

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Jul 16, 2008
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Regardless of the perceived value, I'm glad the market has evolved enough to allow games like this to be made. Back in Warren Spector's heyday he had this game idea of a perfectly constructed and intricately detailed city block where the player experiences the atmosphere and details of the simulation, and that those incredible details would be enough to sustain the experience despite it being so much less expansive than a game like Deus Ex or Thief. We're not there yet, but with stuff like Gone Home we're well on the way to cementing the ground for games like this with more production value.

We've seen so much regression in terms of game design is the past decade, this is one segment where it's confidently marching forward.
 
Nov 2, 2012
5,084
0
745
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
I completed Gone Home about half an hour ago. Overall I'm very satisfied with the story, ending and value for money. Walking round the house, finding the audio logs, letters, stories and drawings etc was quite effective and it did affect me emotionally in some ways because Sam felt that she was different and she couldn't be honest with her mother and father or even her sister.

I will admit that I thought certain objects in the house made me think that there was something supernatural going on and coupled with certain sound effects there was a bit of tension however as the story progressed I kind of put together what had happened just before I made my way to the attic.

The only negative (and this might be due to my FOV) is that some of the rooms in the house felt unnaturally big.

I look forward to seeing what else the Fullbright Company release.
 

vladdamad

Member
May 7, 2012
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OK gaf, will I like this game if I enjoyed Dear Esther, Journey (my favourite game of all time) and the non-combat bits of Bioshock? The reason I'm hesitating is because the environments look extremely mundane, and the reason I enjoy the games mentioned above is because I get to explore a world that I wouldn't be able to visit in real life. Also from, the trailers, I think I've figured out some of the plot developments? Speculations:
the protagonist's sister develops a romantic attachment to her punk rock friend?
Obviously this could be executed very, very well, but I normally don't have much hope for good writing in video games. Should I pull the trigger or wait for a sale?
 

andregnreis

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Oct 1, 2011
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Rio de Janeiro
Just finished it. Good game, but
I'm a little bummed that there arent any twists in the story. Its just a typical teenage love story, like some of the gaffers said. I was expecting something more, like "omg youre playing as Sam revisiting the house thats why there are no mirrors so you couldnt know!" ... did love all the 90s references and the writing. More of a personal opinion, but I think I would enjoy a game like "Gone Home" if there was something supernatural going on, loved the atmosphere
 
Mar 10, 2005
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I don't know about anyone else but
the fact that there were no twists or it wasn't just ghosts or that it was simply a grounded, restrained, personal story that gives you a slightly voyeuristic paranoia about peeking through these people's lives and seeing the things they never wanted you to see laid completely bare is, well, a really strong part of the appeal here.
 

Wok

Member
Dec 28, 2011
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I don't know about anyone else but
the fact that there were no twists or it wasn't just ghosts or that it was simply a grounded, restrained, personal story that gives you a slightly voyeuristic paranoia about peeking through these people's lives and seeing the things they never wanted you to see laid completely bare is, well, a really strong part of the appeal here.

Exactly.
 

petethepanda

Member
Oct 14, 2008
11,072
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I wasn't disappointed in the lack of a "twist," but I definitely would like to see this kind of interactive storytelling applied to a horror game at some point. It would be insanely effective.
 

fantomena

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Jun 1, 2013
15,030
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680
I would rather play a good 2-3 hour game which gives me a good gaming experience than a 5-10 hour boring game which gives me nothing.
 

GhaleonQ

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Aug 24, 2006
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Onto the game itself. This game is what I really wanted Dear Ester to be. A narrative experience that could only exist as a game - relying on player discovery and the independent expectations of the medium. The little touches, like finding the Pulp Fiction ticket & realizing Sam blew off the dinner (written in the Mom's calendar). Or the way it uses a weather service announcement to create a sense of unease.

I wrote an article about relating to characters in the game.

Disclaimer: *points to avatar*. I love traditional graphic adventure games. My favorite game ever (Moon: Remix R.P.G. Adventure, sorry to mention it again) is an untraditional graphic adventure game.

Other disclaimer: I played a friend's copy on Steam. That's to say the creators don't owe me anything because I didn't buy their game. That's also to say that I'm not distracted by value, because, personally, I would have been pissed. I'm the sort of person who explores EVERYTHING in these games, too, so I had a lengthier experience than most.

Other other disclaimer: I'm just some person, and I realize this game will be canonized whether I like it or not.

I'm really distressed, because I'm smart, I now appreciate nearly all types of video games, and I prefer austere art to almost every other kind.

It's possible that I don't appreciate this specific subgenre at all. I totally reject that this is the video game in its most unique form, mostly because it seems to lend itself to tropes in other media that are my least favorite.

1. The discoveries of items or story bits are not strongly assembled into a linear narrative, as in lots of other art. That's fine, because games don't have to imbue meaning into their plot points through the order of their revelation. However, Gone Home didn't assemble the house so that the room items were in or the way the house was constructed mattered. Why didn't I discover Item 1 in Room C, which would have been more powerful? I assume it's because the team wanted to be naturalistic, but that came at the cost of it being no different from a random generator. The Luigi Mansion series should not best your game in this way.

2. Eastern games definitely have their offenders, but I feel like so many indie games from the West rely on pop culture or preexisting tropes to lend meaning to meaningless content. This isn't as bad as Hotline Miami 1 or Fez, but I don't like E.T. and this was that. NOSTALGIA.

3. 1 of my least favorite things in art is when the significance of events is assumed. That goes for whether events are portrayed as "significant" in and of themselves, or whether significance is assumed after a point when players are supposed to be invested in the characters/story/aesthetics/whatever. http://www.theonion.com/video/the-onion-reviews-lee-daniels-the-butler,33517 I'm always glad to see "big issues" explored, especially ones so rare in ANY media like
the slow dissolution of friendship
, but so many things were dropped with a sense of unearned gravity. 1 of my favorite novels/movies is Diary Of A Country Priest, which is essentially audio logs, item discoveries, and debate. The Fullbright Company would do well to study it for tips on how to use an aesthetic sense of melancholy to reinforce characters and events. As it was, the characters were just a slurry of "very important things," and the plot was just separating their contents into neat containers. The content (NOT the delivery) of some of these points was good, though, and most have been mentioned in the topic.

4. I may need to play it again to confirm my impression here. Modern American fiction is so often trapped in the worst of the modernist style. It tries to explain the whole world (or the author's narrow view of what constitutes it) with symbols and archetypes, but they lack the insight of a Dostoevskii. It then tries setting this in a naturalist structure that lends itself to blandness. A good way to counteract this is by making characters into a family, and then demonstrating how the dynamics of shared experiences shade otherwise disparate personalities and experiences. I think Gone Home fell into this trap. Are these characters obviously a family, or are they 4 separate people of varying ages with 4 wholly separate storylines who are called a family so that they have an excuse to clash? It's clear to me that it's the latter. Among other things, this caused the ending to fall flat.

That said, the exception to these criticisms is the examination of
artistry
(see the ShockingAlberto post), which I felt was done deftly for reasons I don't feel like exploring or spoiler tagging. Good job on that and the other satisfactory parts I mentioned above.

I realize the above sounds ungrateful. I'll just say that though I don't particularly care for The Fullbright Company team (I'll leave it at that), I appreciate their drive to be unique and would be happy to see them succeed. I hope they continue following their whims, and I hope they make a game I'll purchase, adore, and proselytize about someday.
 

Sober

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Feb 8, 2008
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One thing I thought was strange was that there wasn't a lot of effort made to contextualise why you were getting drip-fed audiologs. I understand that it's basically Katie's letters to you, but why exactly they auto-startup when you find a key piece of... let's say, evidence, is never really rationalised at all, which I found interesting in context of the game as a whole. Of course there's other gamey stuff that's impossible to avoid, picking up objects by floating, not being able to run etc, but that one stood out to me.
Yeah there is no real context for that, it's more like authorial control to entice the player to continue/slowly build up Sam's storyline. Glad there is a modifier to turn off the audio logs for a playthrough to see how it would really be to be Katie coming home and trying to piece everything together. I don't know if I would recommend it for a first playthrough even though that would definitely be a unique experience (esp. if at the end it would populate your journal, you could listen to it and piece that story together with those relevant artifacts you found).
 

aeolist

Banned
Oct 31, 2006
17,538
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0
Yeah there is no real context for that, it's more like authorial control to entice the player to continue/slowly build up Sam's storyline. Glad there is a modifier to turn off the audio logs for a playthrough to see how it would really be to be Katie coming home and trying to piece everything together. I don't know if I would recommend it for a first playthrough even though that would definitely be a unique experience (esp. if at the end it would populate your journal, you could listen to it and piece that story together with those relevant artifacts you found).

i thought of it like flashbacks, if it were a movie it would start with katie finding and reading the journal and them show her discovering things in the house with sam's voice overlaid
 

theowne

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Jan 6, 2012
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Can someone please tell me if there's anything supernatural or plain fucked up in the game because the impression I'm getting so far during my play through is that one of the family members was slightly unhinged.

I'm probably way off base.

There's nothing supernatural or fucked up. In my opinion the game is kind of a bait and switch, since the beginning creates a very dramatic atmosphere but by the end the underlying story is basically a standard teenage rom-com.
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
Dec 1, 2004
15,881
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I'm really glad this game was made, and that it's getting a lot of positivity. We need more games that involve you in a story in the ways that only exist in this medium, and not through cutscenes or other things borrowed from other mediums. I'm just excited that there are no real gaming tropes found here.
 

rexor0717

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Dec 6, 2008
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This game made me realize that this is the kind of concentrated experience I want from narrative focused games. Maybe not all of them have to be 2h, but some where in the range of 2-5h sounds right to me. When it starts getting longer than that, it's very likely that I will never finish the game.
 

Ledsen

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Mar 25, 2007
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Ghaleon, that's a great and very in-depth post (much more in-depth than I could ever write about any game), but I don't really understand point 3 and 4. Could you elaborate?
 

GhaleonQ

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Aug 24, 2006
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Ghaleon, that's a great and very in-depth post (much more in-depth than I could ever write about any game), but I don't really understand point 3 and 4. Could you elaborate?

Thanks and definitely. People have done a lot of great spoiler-filled posts, and I don't really have time for that this weekend or week. I'll come back to it to post "evidence," which I lack above.

4 is kind of self-explanatory, though. I feel like the narratives of each family member happened concurrently, but not together. Each experience each family member goes through should have some inflection on the lives of others, but that didn't happen. (I suppose there was a little husband-wife stuff, but not as much as one would think there would be.) Their relationships were defined by generic "distance" and "closeness," as if each event raised or lowered a super meter like some terrible fighting game. To stay vague,
love and loyalty
is a theme explored here through a couple of different lenses, but did the couple versions of it affect each other? No. So, making them a family was a cheap way to tie a couple of separate storylines together. I don't like that.

Anyway, great discussion. I'm enjoying a lot of these. Has anyone replayed it yet, and did it strike you differently a 2nd time through? I'm thinking about doing it since it's so short.
 

Jintor

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Oct 22, 2009
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I don't know about anyone else but
the fact that there were no twists or it wasn't just ghosts or that it was simply a grounded, restrained, personal story that gives you a slightly voyeuristic paranoia about peeking through these people's lives and seeing the things they never wanted you to see laid completely bare is, well, a really strong part of the appeal here.

Yup.
 

Jintor

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Oct 22, 2009
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1. The discoveries of items or story bits are not strongly assembled into a linear narrative, as in lots of other art. That's fine, because games don't have to imbue meaning into their plot points through the order of their revelation. However, Gone Home didn't assemble the house so that the room items were in or the way the house was constructed mattered. Why didn't I discover Item 1 in Room C, which would have been more powerful? I assume it's because the team wanted to be naturalistic, but that came at the cost of it being no different from a random generator. The Luigi Mansion series should not best your game in this way.

I don't understand what you mean here. Certainly if you discover items in certain rooms they mean different things just according to the context of the rooms they're in?
Sam slowly beginning to colonise the secret passages Oscar left behind, Dad taking up pretty much the dingy western wing of the house but eventually finding absolution by moving his writing space to the Conservatory, etc?

Additionally, re: your 'separate family' issue, I think the style of an 'exploration story reconstruction' doesn't lend itself well to describing a family that fits together - by its nature you only get flashes of relationships, typically the most extreme parts of it. Not to say that this kind of game can never explore shared experiences well, but without the actors truly present during the narrative it seems difficult to envision such a story.
 

probune

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Jan 14, 2007
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I don't know about anyone else but
the fact that there were no twists or it wasn't just ghosts or that it was simply a grounded, restrained, personal story that gives you a slightly voyeuristic paranoia about peeking through these people's lives and seeing the things they never wanted you to see laid completely bare is, well, a really strong part of the appeal here.

I thought it was a nice twist that there was pretty much no twist, unless you thought it was a ghost story.
 

GhaleonQ

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Aug 24, 2006
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I don't understand what you mean here. Certainly if you discover items in certain rooms they mean different things just according to the context of the rooms they're in?
Sam slowly beginning to colonise the secret passages Oscar left behind, Dad taking up pretty much the dingy western wing of the house but eventually finding absolution by moving his writing space to the Conservatory, etc?

I think the weakness of a house as a plot device is that we don't see the before and after. So, in your 2nd example, was their meaning to the rooms BEFORE the change or not? If not, then we're just seeing the after-effects of certain actions, and we're finding things in the logical place they would be. There's not meaning there. "Terry stuff in Janice's rooms" happens, as you know, but that's all that comes to mind and it's not that creative an execution.

Here's a generic example so I don't have to reveal plot points of certain games. A family's baby died, but I, the player, don't know that yet. If I find the rattle in an abandoned crib, that's not meaning. I just discovered a fact. If I find the rattle in a closet in wrapping paper, I learn a more interesting fact (that the death was unexpected and swift), but it's still not meaning. If I find the rattle in the trash, I learn something OF MEANING about the parents (that they were either emotionally distant or can't handle memories of the child). If I find the rattle in a sibling's room or in the parents' room, I learn something OF MEANING about the relationships (that they are sentimental or that memory is their way of dealing with trauma).

Could you go into why your 1st example is meaningful? Are
sexual secrets
the unifier there?
 

Cymbal Head

Banned
Nov 4, 2005
4,405
1
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Thinking back on my experience with Gone Home, I'm finding myself bothered by little things like how the locked-room gates conveniently cause Kate to discover the story lines in (roughly) chronological order. I know this is necessary for the experience to unfold the way the designers intend, and I know that there's a "start with all doors unlocked" modifier that lets you have at the whole house from the word "go," but the development team has explicitly stated that the way-it's-meant-to-be-played is with the modifiers turned off.

It's seems weird that this kind of enforced chronological story discovery bugs me here, when in another game I'd let it slide. I put that down partly to the fact that discovering the story is literally the only thing there is to do in Gone Home, but I'm also wondering if there's a kind of uncanny valley effect happening to me.

Gone Home is, for the most part, an unconventional game. But it is so single-mindedly (and successfully) focused on creating a rich, believable environment that it throws those bits and pieces of conventional game design into extra-sharp relief. Some of
Sam and Lonnie's notes
show up in kinda weird places, places that I wouldn't expect them to be if I was really in a real home. I think the background scenario (family has recently moved here) is supposed to account for this, but I don't find it particularly plausible that
Sam would stash notes all over the house, particularly in hallway credenzas
.

It might sound like I'm being nit-picky or a spoilsport, but I hope that's not true. I genuinely like this game and appreciate what it does--and does very well, at that. I'm also thrilled to get to experience a grounded, human story in a medium that is often lacking in them. But I'm feeling some dissonance that a game trying very hard to shake up conventions in one sense relies so heavily on them in another.

I don't have a solution to offer to this, and I don't know if there is one apart from carefully considering the types of stories games are best at telling and the ways in which they're best able to tell them. Someone tell me I'm being silly.
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
Dec 1, 2004
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What about the detached voice overs?
While some people need to hear em to really get it, the fact that they allow you to turn off the elements like that is pretty huge.
 

Ledsen

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Mar 25, 2007
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I think the weakness of a house as a plot device is that we don't see the before and after. So, in your 2nd example, was their meaning to the rooms BEFORE the change or not? If not, then we're just seeing the after-effects of certain actions, and we're finding things in the logical place they would be. There's not meaning there. "Terry stuff in Janice's rooms" happens, as you know, but that's all that comes to mind and it's not that creative an execution.

Here's a generic example so I don't have to reveal plot points of certain games. A family's baby died, but I, the player, don't know that yet. If I find the rattle in an abandoned crib, that's not meaning. I just discovered a fact. If I find the rattle in a closet in wrapping paper, I learn a more interesting fact (that the death was unexpected and swift), but it's still not meaning. If I find the rattle in the trash, I learn something OF MEANING about the parents (that they were either emotionally distant or can't handle memories of the child). If I find the rattle in a sibling's room or in the parents' room, I learn something OF MEANING about the relationships (that they are sentimental or that memory is their way of dealing with trauma).

Could you go into why your 1st example is meaningful? Are
sexual secrets
the unifier there?

This is something I thought about while playing the game and it is also mentioned in the RPS review as one of the few strikes against it. I'm sure that the developers tried putting items in places where they would make more sense (and bring more meaning simply by their placement), but eventually failed to reconcile the need for internal consistency with the need for a progressive narrative that guides the player through events at least somewhat chronologically. The fact that they included the "unlock all doors" modifier clearly points to this, but unfortunately the "damage", so to speak, is already done as the item placement is fixed no matter what modifiers you use.

This also means that for a majority of the game, written text (and spoken word) is used as the primary conveyor of information, which makes me a bit sad for the lost potential I can clearly see in there. This is even more emphasized by the fact that the text-less contextual storytelling that IS there (and don't get me wrong, there is a lot of it) is so good. Clearly a decision was made that without any guidance at all, and with items placed more "meaningfully" or logically, the game would be worse off, a sentiment I can't dispute since I don't know how they reached this conclusion but one I sincerely hope that either The Fullbright Company or someone else can overcome in future games.
 

OnlyWonderBoy

Neo Member
Dec 10, 2010
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I know this gets brought up a lot when it comes to pricing, but man people are really passionate about "losing" $10 (assuming they would be okay with paying $10 for the game in the first place).
 

vladdamad

Member
May 7, 2012
787
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Decided to go ahead and buy this, played it for about an hour, did all I could on the ground floor and stopped in
Sam's room
. Seems interesting so far, can definitely see the Shock team bringing in their past experience - I get the same OCD urge to interact with everything as I did in the Bioshock series. Story seems generic enough so far, although the way it's presented is great. Love the music. I kinda wish the journals weren't voice acted, but maybe there's a reason for this. A question from someone who hasn't lived in the country - is it normal for an American family to have so many Bibles in the house? Must have seen at least five by this point, just curious.
 

Gary Whitta

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Nov 21, 2005
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I'm just going to spoiler all of this as I have no idea what should be considered a spoiler.

I had a very interesting experience with this game, played it to completion over the course of the last two nights. I split it in two because I had deliberately avoided reading anything about the game so I could go in totally cold, and because I had no idea what to expect I found myself getting really creeped out on several occasions and eventually had to stop. I typically don't do well with horror/scary games and since I didn't know if this was one of those or not the creepy atmosphere really got to me. Every time I entered a dark room I felt a little bit of panic until I could find the light switch, which always comes as such a relief! When I eventually came to a dark basement I had to stop as I felt like something really horrible was going to happen.

I think this is all by design. The game does a masterful job of exploiting horror tropes without ever succumbing to them. I was so primed to believe that the ghost story was real. In reading about others' experiences after finishing I was glad to discover that it wasn't just me... a lot of people were really creeped out it seems and the game's one actual deliberate scare (which I mercifully missed) really got a lot of people.

One of this game's big triumphs, I think, is in being more effective than most horror games without actually ever being a horror game at all. All it does is suggest, and let your imagination do the rest. I was pretty terrified by what I would find up in that attic... the last thing I expected the game to do at that point was put a big smile on my face. Really impressive stuff.

Between this and Brothers I think we're seeing some really golden-age stuff not just in terms of indie games but interactive storytelling. Both games have very original and innovative approaches to non-traditional narrative, evoking a word and telling a rich, complete story without relying on techniques borrowed from film and television but creating an entirely new storytelling language that's unique to, and only possible in, games. I guess the journal entries and letters in GH at times felt a little too contrived and convenient, but I can forgive that in the context of the overall experience.

In related news, this is interesting: I tweeted something about how cool it would be to play this on Oculus Rift, and now it appears that Fullbright is talking with Oculus developer relations about getting it working. That would be pretty awesome, it's a perfect game for that kind of immersive implementation.
 

SoCoRoBo

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Dec 13, 2010
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Thanks and definitely. People have done a lot of great spoiler-filled posts, and I don't really have time for that this weekend or week. I'll come back to it to post "evidence," which I lack above.

4 is kind of self-explanatory, though. I feel like the narratives of each family member happened concurrently, but not together. Each experience each family member goes through should have some inflection on the lives of others, but that didn't happen. (I suppose there was a little husband-wife stuff, but not as much as one would think there would be.) Their relationships were defined by generic "distance" and "closeness," as if each event raised or lowered a super meter like some terrible fighting game. To stay vague,
love and loyalty
is a theme explored here through a couple of different lenses, but did the couple versions of it affect each other? No. So, making them a family was a cheap way to tie a couple of separate storylines together. I don't like that.

Anyway, great discussion. I'm enjoying a lot of these. Has anyone replayed it yet, and did it strike you differently a 2nd time through? I'm thinking about doing it since it's so short.

That actually articulates something that annoyed me about it really well. Did the Mother-Father dissolution ever come to any kind of fruition?

Even though they're disconnected, did you find any of the stories compelling on their own? There was one moment that I thought was really sparing and effective which was
after seeing all of Terry's genre crap sci-fi and then learning that the grandfather was a Joycean scholar. Seeing the note he sends to Terry, written in a really well-observed clipped, WASPish cadence that's not completely unfeeling but evidently disappointed
was an excellent moment for me. Tremendous amount of emotional power in two items.
 
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Squee, Steve Gaynor tweeted that he liked my article on the game.

 

Proc

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Apr 14, 2007
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I enjoyed it. Finished it in 1.4 hours according to steam. I'm glad this game exists. I hope to see more from this developer equipped with a bigger budget.
 
D

Deleted member 22576

Unconfirmed Member
Finished it. There is a lot to unpack and I'm sure I'll write more after I let it sit for a bit.
One of my favorite rooms was the kitchen. Mostly due to the cassette. The kitchen came after one of the more heartbreaking audiologs and it was so great to go into the kitchen which is always sorta like this weirdly happy place. It's the most visible place in the whole house. You spend most of the game building up backstory for the family and interpreting the real things behind the scenes of the familial relationship, but the kitchen is like the one visible focal point where everything there is out in the open. Not even in a happy way either, but there are no secrets in the kitchen. It really just made me feel. Every family is fucked up, some more than others but there always is that love underneath that doesn't go away. Thats what makes the nonacceptance of family so hurtful. But wandering into that kitchen and playing that really uplifting song and just walking around looking at everything and knowing that this is the one place in the house where everyone has to go and the personality and version of self you bring into the kitchen is the one that, even if filled with secrets and resentment, is still REAL.
 
Jun 21, 2010
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Just finished it man that was a such a personal experience. Having you to look for clues for the story to unfold slowly and reward you for exploration and letting you know more about the characters of this family like the part where you find a
men's magazine under a pile of books in the father's office room.
That part made me giggle a little bit.

To me, this is what Dear Esther should have been, have us look for the story instead of just telling it to us.
 

Gary Whitta

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Nov 21, 2005
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I think one of the concerns with this kind of storytelling is the anxiety that you might miss a crucial piece if you don't thoroughly search absolutely everything. There were definitely a couple of minor things I discovered in reviews/discussion after I finished and wish I hadn't missed during my playthrough. I'm not usually the kind of player who searches every single nook and cranny of an environment but you really have to with a game like this.
 

f0rk

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Dec 31, 2009
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I wonder how much stuff I missed.
Is there ever anything
explicit about the mum having an affair with this Rick dude? It seemed like there must be something going on.


This game having trading cards is so fucking dumb and Valve need to pull back on that stuff
 
D

Deleted member 22576

Unconfirmed Member
I'm surprised so many people were creeped out. I too had no idea what to expect and went in cold but by the time I heard the first Journal entry it was very clear to me that this game was not supernatural or scary in any way. Also,
I kinda figured out the ending for myself before it happened. I wish I had been able to play the game in one sitting but I had to go to work yesterday so I spent like 8 hours simmering on every detail and decided that it was going to end with you finding the journal. The missing VCRs are kinda what tipped me off. Which was a very nice touch. The ending to Sam and Lonnas story also cast the title in a different light to me. It was that katie had gone home from Europe,but Sam had gone home to lonnie.


The game was very brilliant and I've been thinking about a lot of stuff I havent thought about in years. Like all my highschool relationships and the first girl I slept with, etc.
 

Mushroomer25

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Jan 5, 2012
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Nobody makes games like Gone Home. And if you want the market to go in a direction where nobody is allowed to make any money producing a title like Gone Home, then developers will continue to not make games of that ilk.

Netflix has almost no first-run content. Movies often do not go up until years after they were released in theatres and have made a ton of money from the box office and DVD sales and HBO.

If you don't want to pay $7-10 per hour of content, then don't go to a movie or buy a game on the day it's released. Let the creators take in as much as they can at a premium price, then buy it later when it's marked down or put in a bundle.

I'd have to disagree. I think there are people out there making games like this - maybe not in the exact same style - but they're coming from the same roots. Small teams dedicated to creating tiny pieces of art at all costs.

And I don't think a subscription service would be inherently unprofitable. The success of the Humble Bundles kind of prove that for indies, strength is found in numbers. Grouping smaller projects together under one banner is a great way to get people to try things they otherwise might ignore. Let's say a subscription service existed where you paid $10 a month to get five new indies available to you (for that month. If you want to keep it, you'll have to buy). And let's say developers split the fee equally (obviously I'm oversimplifying things here). If Gone Home was released in a package like that, I'm confident they'd see more than ten times the business they're doing selling this at $20 on Steam.
 

Flipyap

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Dec 12, 2008
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This game having trading cards is so fucking dumb and Valve need to pull back on that stuff
I'm usually very much against the idea of Steam trading cards, but I actually kinda like them here - their inclusion feels like a joke after they consciously avoided any kind of meta-game back-patting achievement systems. The cards themselves are also fairly silly (ducks and p-p-p-puffins).
 

Fuchsdh

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Jan 14, 2012
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It's new territory, for sure. But at the end of the day, I paid $18 for a three-hour experience. That's a pretty high asking price, no matter the quality. It gets even more testy when games like this seem to have a very short shelf-life. Within six months, you'll see this go for $5 on Steam in a sale - and within a year, it'll be practically free through a Humble Bundle. Honestly, I kind of bought this entirely to be a part of the discussion surrounding the game.

I think what it comes down to, is that games like this shouldn't really be bought. They should be experienced a single time - like a rental - but owning them outright is excessive. If I could pay for a Netflix-like service, where I can experience 5-10 handpicked indies like this a month - I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

It's still more value than you get for a movie, though. Not sure why they're treated as different value propositions, especially since I'd usually take 2 hours of most games over a movie that long.

I'd have to disagree. I think there are people out there making games like this - maybe not in the exact same style - but they're coming from the same roots. Small teams dedicated to creating tiny pieces of art at all costs.

And I don't think a subscription service would be inherently unprofitable. The success of the Humble Bundles kind of prove that for indies, strength is found in numbers. Grouping smaller projects together under one banner is a great way to get people to try things they otherwise might ignore. Let's say a subscription service existed where you paid $10 a month to get five new indies available to you (for that month. If you want to keep it, you'll have to buy). And let's say developers split the fee equally (obviously I'm oversimplifying things here). If Gone Home was released in a package like that, I'm confident they'd see more than ten times the business they're doing selling this at $20 on Steam.

Well, it's inevitably going to get discounted on Steam and millions will pick it up and never play it like every Steam sale.
 

Jockel

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Jun 10, 2010
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I just reached the room that's locked on the right hand side (right to the staircase in the entrance hall).
And jeez, did they have to go all-out with Sam being a lesbian? Could there be any more clichés? Rebelling against the patriarchy by forming a punk band with her butch girlfriend? I really liked the beginning of their story, it was obvious enough to notice and subtle enough to not be annoying. Somewhat charming, even (with them playing Street Fighter and all). But at this point, I'm expecting a textbox popping up saying "ALSO DID YOU REALIZE SHE WAS A LESBIAN?".
Edit: Okay, now I've played through to the ending.
What a disappointing way to end the game. I thought something dramatic was going to happen.
I liked Dear Esther better, even though it was more boring to play. As for feels, I can see how it resonates with people, I just didn't care so much myself. For that one aspect of
losing friends of your childhood and coping with adulthood
I recommend watching the anime Ano Hana.
 

theowne

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Jan 6, 2012
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And jeez, did they have to go all-out with Sam being a lesbian? Could there be any more clichés? Rebelling against the patriarchy by forming a punk band with her butch girlfriend? I really liked the beginning of their story, it was obvious enough to notice and subtle enough to not be annoying. Somewhat charming, even (with them playing Street Fighter and all). But at this point, I'm expecting a textbox popping up saying "ALSO DID YOU REALIZE SHE WAS A LESBIAN?".
Edit: Okay, now I've played through to the ending.
What a disappointing way to end the game. I thought something dramatic was going to happen.
.

That's really what confuses me about the praise for the story (as opposed to praise for the discovery-based gameplay). The story itself has been repeated a few hundred times in young adult fiction for decades.....
 

Lissar

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May 3, 2010
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I might as well put this out here too. I'm looking to do a localization of Gone Home in Japanese, but while I'm fluent I'm not a native speaker. I'm not comfortable doing a localization alone. So, I'm looking to partner with someone who is a native speaker or someone who is also fluent and has native speakers they can consult.
 

border

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Jun 7, 2004
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That's really what confuses me about the praise for the story (as opposed to praise for the discovery-based gameplay). The story itself has been repeated a few hundred times in young adult fiction for decades.....

How many movies or games really deal with
young lesbian relationships
? "A few hundred times" seems like a pretty high estimate? Even in the world of young adult novels, it seems like a relatively uncommon subject matter. It's certainly far less cliche than 99% of game premises.
 

GhaleonQ

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Aug 24, 2006
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Briefly:

That actually articulates something that annoyed me about it really well. Did the Mother-Father dissolution ever come to any kind of fruition?

Even though they're disconnected, did you find any of the stories compelling on their own? There was one moment that I thought was really sparing and effective which was
after seeing all of Terry's genre crap sci-fi and then learning that the grandfather was a Joycean scholar. Seeing the note he sends to Terry, written in a really well-observed clipped, WASPish cadence that's not completely unfeeling but evidently disappointed
was an excellent moment for me. Tremendous amount of emotional power in two items.

1. It did at the most basic level, and it's been in spoiler tags around here. It doesn't go deeper, though. It's a big deal that only got "R.P.G. sidequest resolution"-level attention.

2. I enjoyed that, as I thought to mention that at the end of my 1st post. It would be SUPER-cliche if it was a book, but it's not a thing in video games at all. Moreover,
I choose to read it as a defense of video games as a legitimate art form. It's flights-of-fancy made in the face of more "down to earth" pursuits in a very down to earth game
.

Squee, Steve Gaynor tweeted that he liked my article on the game.

Well, duh, if you consistently make good posts, people are going to pay attention. *salutes*
 

Moobabe

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Mar 24, 2009
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4. I may need to play it again to confirm my impression here. Modern American fiction is so often trapped in the worst of the modernist style. It tries to explain the whole world (or the author's narrow view of what constitutes it) with symbols and archetypes, but they lack the insight of a Dostoevskii. It then tries setting this in a naturalist structure that lends itself to blandness. A good way to counteract this is by making characters into a family, and then demonstrating how the dynamics of shared experiences shade otherwise disparate personalities and experiences. I think Gone Home fell into this trap. Are these characters obviously a family, or are they 4 separate people of varying ages with 4 wholly separate storylines who are called a family so that they have an excuse to clash? It's clear to me that it's the latter. Among other things, this caused the ending to fall flat.

You make some excellent points - ones I agree with - about some areas where the game 'fails.' Though I'm not so sure I'm quite with you on two points - the first being the game's reliance on "pop culture" to lend meaning. Rather than meaning I found it to lend weight to the setting, and it places the moment extremely well. I didn't feel like it was overdone either, but anyway - onto your final point.

Maybe I'm not quite reading GH as the meta-narrative you are. I honestly didn't see this as an attempt to explain away the world in some Franzen-esque Family = America style. Maybe I'm being naive; but I read this as simply a story about a family. Your right that perhaps the 'family' aspect could have been worked a little stronger, it's very much
Sam's story
+ others that may or may not be related who have some issues of their own.

Some nice discussion in here though!
 

dream

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Jun 8, 2004
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I'm probably being hyperbolic, but my immediate reaction upon finishing the game is that this is one of the more important video games I've played in the past few years. Not just because it's great (which it is), or because it ultimately succeeds in accomplishing its goals (which it does), but because it provides a model for future game designers (who prioritize narrative) to refine. I get the criticism that this isn't very "gamey," but I think we're still in a nascent stage of figuring out interactive narrative modes, and I suspect Gone Home (along with stuff like Dear Esther and Christine Love's entire portfolio) will strongly inform many of the titles that I hope will follow.

And I agree with you, Moobabe. I thought all the 90s pop culture stuff went a long way in establishing the verisimilitude of the game.
 

NewGamePlus

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Oct 2, 2008
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You make some excellent points - ones I agree with - about some areas where the game 'fails.' Though I'm not so sure I'm quite with you on two points - the first being the game's reliance on "pop culture" to lend meaning. Rather than meaning I found it to lend weight to the setting, and it places the moment extremely well. I didn't feel like it was overdone either, but anyway - onto your final point.

Maybe I'm not quite reading GH as the meta-narrative you are. I honestly didn't see this as an attempt to explain away the world in some Franzen-esque Family = America style. Maybe I'm being naive; but I read this as simply a story about a family. Your right that perhaps the 'family' aspect could have been worked a little stronger, it's very much
Sam's story
+ others that may or may not be related who have some issues of their own.

Some nice discussion in here though!
I agree with you, and to add I actually think the disjointed nature of the family fits fairly well. The game is predicated on breaking the social contract of not searching through other peoples' things; even those of your immediate family members. What the player ends up finding in the characters' closets are not necessarily artifacts of their Lives but specifically their secret lives. The things that have ultimately resulted in them removing themselves from the home both physically and emotionally.

I think the ending could even be read as asking a question.
Was it Katie going home or was it Sam?