Polygon's 2013 Game of the Year: Gone Home

Apr 26, 2006
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Any site that gives a game like this a GOTY loses all credibility with me. Gone home is practically not a game and if you do categorize it as one it is a terrible piece of crap of a game.

Funny how the gameplay vs story thread came up almost all gameplay on this site and yet you have a bunch of people ok with gone home winning an award like this.
 
Dec 31, 2008
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The answer is no. I came in expecting horror. The game knew that and used my expectations to make me slowly creep through the house in mounting fear and tension fueled along by carefully placed red herrings and my own faulty assumptions. It did it so well (in my case, at least) that it made me laugh at myself when I finally realized what was happening.

If you come in knowing the "twist," your experience would be drastically different. It would just be a boring, gated, ham-fisted story about growing up different in Anytown, USA.

The game has literally no replay value and the experience is really a one-off thing. It was good for what it was, but I strongly believe, judging by the past trend of Polygon articles, that the subject matter of a young lesbian coming into her own and finding freedom of sorts has more than a little to do with the choice.
The fact that there would be no horror to be found (at least supernatural horror) was clear after ten minutes in the house really (even though there is possibly a twisted and quite horrifying secret to uncover with regard to the past inhabitants of the house).

As for the replay value, I went through it again a few weeks ago after finishing it at launch and I enjoyed it quite a bit once again, perhaps more than the first time, as I was able to focus on thoroughly exploring the house without feeling pressured to progress with the plot, cementing its place in my own GOTY list.

So I guess it's subjective and, if the concept sounds intriguing to you, I'd say go for it. Game is pretty cheap these days anyway. It might be a novelty, but I feel it's an important and extremely well-executed one and something games with a focus on exploration might wanna take inspiration from in the future.
 
Sep 20, 2009
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towerfall at number three is pretty interesting, haven't seen that on many lists. normally collectively voted goty lists are dull because they lean towards stuff that's broadly appealing and have traction already (i like gone home but part of its appeal is that anyone can play it easily and it's done in two hours) making them feel homogeneous.
 
Jun 13, 2011
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They wanted to differentiate themselves (because they are different hurr durr) with choosing an unusual game but they ended up choosing a shitty game... yep sounds just like Polygon.
 
May 14, 2012
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I think Gone Home and The Last of Us are both pretty similar actually, just on slightly different levels on the same scale.

A lot of people think its odd to give Gone Home the GOTY award because its so unbelievably minimal, by design, that it has basically no gameplay. That's not very far from how I feel about The Last of Us, which is praised precisely for its emphasis on minimalism as opposed to detailed and in depth gameplay systems.

Its pretty much the exact same thing we see with games like Journey, that have very little gameplay, or The Walking Dead, which has even less.

Its very, very, very popular right now to worship minimalism. They've been sweeping the GOTY awards for 3 years now.

Personally, I respect the evolution of detailed gameplay systems and while I may like some things these games do stylistically, they sacrifice way too much gameplay for the sake of that minimalist style for me to consider them the very best examples of a game this year. I can't truly enjoy any of them to that extent, and I think far better games were made for the last 3 years, in every year.

They have the right to pick whatever game they want though, but I disagree with their choice, as it really represents a fundamental shift away from emphasis on gameplay systems. It presents the player with far less actual game, but praises it like it was more. I think its totally fine to even like these games, and to compliment the different direction too. I enjoyed Journey for one play through. But personally, I just see so many better examples of gameplay each year that get completely ignored.

On some level you almost have to wonder if these people enjoy gameplay. Maybe the older 30+ audience is going to be characterized by short 4 hour games with extremely limited gameplay? With more demands in real life, maybe this is what they enjoy now?

I just hope that sites don't start to look down on pure gameplay, and consider it unsophisticated, and simplistic. I think its the main thing this medium does well that is unique. But with Journey, The Walking Dead, Gone Home, and The Last of Us sweeping awards, I don't see the trend slowing down any time soon.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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They said that TLOU was an average game and yet it´s one of the best games of the year on their list
One reviewer reviewed the game and listed his issues with the game, which are in my mind fairly reasonable even if you disagree. The other editors disagreed with that reviewer's judgment and voted for the game at some level of their GOTY list, leading to its placement here.

The criteria used for each were:
http://www.polygon.com/game/the-last-of-us/3040 <-- here's the original review which you can read
http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/14/5305024/polygons-games-of-the-year-2013-4-tie-last-of-us <-- here's the editorial consensus putting it on the GOTY list.

This isn't rocket science. There's no deeper puzzle. There's no conspiracy. There's no secret club conspiring to undermine the greatness of based naughty gods. It's just that their reviewer who originally played the game had some issues with it that the voting editorial team as a whole did not.

Where´s the criteria? oh wait, yeah, maybe in February after the DLC for TLOU gets released and they update their review because reasons.
They review DLC separately because it's separate content. They update game reviews when base game content changes (through ongoing updates that change the game or through issues with multiplayer services after launch. There's no secret agenda in updating review scores. When they do, which is rarely, they explain why they update the scores.


It's amazing that people have constructed this elaborate narrative. What do you think these people do in their offices all day? Do you think there's a creepy flowchart with box arts and baphomet signs and burning candles and written in blood "DEATH TO GOOD GAMES LONG LIVE HIPSTERS" or something?
 
I think some where on their website or maybe on a twitter post they say that scores are decided by a review team, one reviewer does the review but the score is something they all come up with together.
They come up with the score based on how the review is written, not on how the team thinks about the game.

I think I saw someone mention that on a Besties show the hosts all said they didn't agree with that it was a 7.5 game.
 
Nov 1, 2013
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One reviewer reviewed the game and listed his issues with the game, which are in my mind fairly reasonable even if you disagree. The other editors disagreed with that reviewer's judgment and voted for the game at some level of their GOTY list, leading to its placement here.

The criteria used for each were:
http://www.polygon.com/game/the-last-of-us/3040 <-- here's the original review which you can read
http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/14/5305024/polygons-games-of-the-year-2013-4-tie-last-of-us <-- here's the editorial consensus putting it on the GOTY list.

This isn't rocket science. There's no deeper puzzle. There's no conspiracy. There's no secret club conspiring to undermine the greatness of based naughty gods. It's just that their reviewer who originally played the game had some issues with it that the voting editorial team as a whole did not.



They review DLC separately because it's separate content. They update game reviews when base game content changes (through ongoing updates that change the game or through issues with multiplayer services after launch. There's no secret agenda in updating review scores. When they do, which is rarely, they explain why they update the scores.


It's amazing that people have constructed this elaborate narrative. What do you think these people do in their offices all day? Do you think there's a creepy flowchart with box arts and baphomet signs and burning candles and written in blood "DEATH TO GOOD GAMES LONG LIVE HIPSTERS" or something?
Well said, my man.

WolfForager said:
I think that Polygon see themselves as the Hipsters of the gaming press.
Oh...
 

Papercuts

fired zero bullets in the orphanage.
Sep 1, 2007
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www.neogaf.com
It's amazing that people have constructed this elaborate narrative. What do you think these people do in their offices all day? Do you think there's a creepy flowchart with box arts and baphomet signs and burning candles and written in blood "DEATH TO GOOD GAMES LONG LIVE HIPSTERS" or something?
I think that Polygon see themselves as the Hipsters of the gaming press.
That was perfect timing.
 

dimb

Bjergsen is the greatest midlane in the world
Dec 22, 2007
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And then there's Kaitlin's sister Samantha, whose story is the driving force behind Gone Home — delivered through audio notes deposited throughout the house — and whose absence is a red herring until the game's final moments.
2014's most inappropriate use of the term "red herring".
 
Apr 11, 2011
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It's amazing that people have constructed this elaborate narrative. What do you think these people do in their offices all day? Do you think there's a creepy flowchart with box arts and baphomet signs and burning candles and written in blood "DEATH TO GOOD GAMES LONG LIVE HIPSTERS" or something?
That's exactly what I think, but I heard they use a pie chart.
 
Aug 13, 2007
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...

Game is interesting, but I'm tired of the Gone Home and Brothers worship lately. I'm glad people enjoy the games, but I hope we don't start seeing more casual games and less skill-based games collecting GotY awards in the future.
Core mechanics and mechanics-oriented or deep games have not been a major focus at most outlets for quite a few years now.
 
May 27, 2011
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I mean, it was good. But it wasn't GoTY good. I feel like Polygon is trying to give it out to indies, and I respect that. But in my opinion, there were better choices if they wanted to go with an indie game, though. Guacamelee being probably my pick. Or Spelunky.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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I think Gone Home and The Last of Us are both pretty similar actually, just on slightly different levels on the same scale.

A lot of people think its odd to give Gone Home the GOTY award because its so unbelievably minimal, by design, that it has basically no gameplay. That's not very far from how I feel about The Last of Us, which is praised precisely for its emphasis on minimalism as opposed to detailed and in depth gameplay systems.

Its pretty much the exact same thing we see with games like Journey, that have very little gameplay, or The Walking Dead, which has even less.

Its very, very, very popular right now to worship minimalism. They've been sweeping the GOTY awards for 3 years now.

Personally, I respect the evolution of detailed gameplay systems and while I may like some things these games do stylistically, they sacrifice way too much gameplay for the sake of that minimalist style for me to consider them the very best examples of a game this year. I can't truly enjoy any of them to that extent, and I think far better games were made for the last 3 years, in every year.

They have the right to pick whatever game they want though, but I disagree with their choice, as it really represents a fundamental shift away from emphasis on gameplay systems. It presents the player with far less actual game, but praises it like it was more. I think its totally fine to even like these games, and to compliment the different direction too. I enjoyed Journey for one play through. But personally, I just see so many better examples of gameplay each year that get completely ignored.

On some level you almost have to wonder if these people enjoy gameplay. Maybe the older 30+ audience is going to be characterized by short 4 hour games with extremely limited gameplay? With more demands in real life, maybe this is what they enjoy now?

I just hope that sites don't start to look down on pure gameplay, and consider it unsophisticated, and simplistic. I think its the main thing this medium does well that is unique. But with Journey, The Walking Dead, Gone Home, and The Last of Us sweeping awards, I don't see the trend slowing down any time soon.
That's a damn fine post, it almost makes too much sense for this thread.

One reviewer reviewed the game and listed his issues with the game, which are in my mind fairly reasonable even if you disagree. The other editors disagreed with that reviewer's judgment and voted for the game at some level of their GOTY list, leading to its placement here.

The criteria used for each were:
http://www.polygon.com/game/the-last-of-us/3040 <-- here's the original review which you can read
http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/14/5305024/polygons-games-of-the-year-2013-4-tie-last-of-us <-- here's the editorial consensus putting it on the GOTY list.

This isn't rocket science. There's no deeper puzzle. There's no conspiracy. There's no secret club conspiring to undermine the greatness of based naughty gods. It's just that their reviewer who originally played the game had some issues with it that the voting editorial team as a whole did not.



They review DLC separately because it's separate content. They update game reviews when base game content changes (through ongoing updates that change the game or through issues with multiplayer services after launch. There's no secret agenda in updating review scores. When they do, which is rarely, they explain why they update the scores.


It's amazing that people have constructed this elaborate narrative. What do you think these people do in their offices all day? Do you think there's a creepy flowchart with box arts and baphomet signs and burning candles and written in blood "DEATH TO GOOD GAMES LONG LIVE HIPSTERS" or something?
Hey, another one!
 
Feb 12, 2010
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I'm not a member of Polygon's staff, but my game of the year is different then the one they chose. Though the list is subjective and might inform me about other very good games that exist, I take it as a personal offense that their choice differs from mine and will mock them for it.
 
Mar 4, 2013
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Well its short enough and easy / no work so its probably one of the few al these guys have even played through.

yeah the game tells an ordinary story but it also does it in an ordinary boring way. Its an interesting experiment but lol at goty.
 
Aug 8, 2010
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I can't believe ND fans still get worked up when a game other than TLOU wins GOTY...

Anyways, a game to add to my wish list. This game plus Brothers and The Stanley Parable got too many nominations to not be looked at by everyone.
 
May 27, 2011
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Austin, TX
I think Gone Home and The Last of Us are both pretty similar actually, just on slightly different levels on the same scale.

A lot of people think its odd to give Gone Home the GOTY award because its so unbelievably minimal, by design, that it has basically no gameplay. That's not very far from how I feel about The Last of Us, which is praised precisely for its emphasis on minimalism as opposed to detailed and in depth gameplay systems.

Its pretty much the exact same thing we see with games like Journey, that have very little gameplay, or The Walking Dead, which has even less.

Its very, very, very popular right now to worship minimalism. They've been sweeping the GOTY awards for 3 years now.

Personally, I respect the evolution of detailed gameplay systems and while I may like some things these games do stylistically, they sacrifice way too much gameplay for the sake of that minimalist style for me to consider them the very best examples of a game this year. I can't truly enjoy any of them to that extent, and I think far better games were made for the last 3 years, in every year.

They have the right to pick whatever game they want though, but I disagree with their choice, as it really represents a fundamental shift away from emphasis on gameplay systems. It presents the player with far less actual game, but praises it like it was more. I think its totally fine to even like these games, and to compliment the different direction too. I enjoyed Journey for one play through. But personally, I just see so many better examples of gameplay each year that get completely ignored.

On some level you almost have to wonder if these people enjoy gameplay. Maybe the older 30+ audience is going to be characterized by short 4 hour games with extremely limited gameplay? With more demands in real life, maybe this is what they enjoy now?

I just hope that sites don't start to look down on pure gameplay, and consider it unsophisticated, and simplistic. I think its the main thing this medium does well that is unique. But with Journey, The Walking Dead, Gone Home, and The Last of Us sweeping awards, I don't see the trend slowing down any time soon.
This is an amazing post and I couldn't agree more. It's like you are channeling my exact feelings these past few years. I loved TLOU and enjoyed Gone Home, but I do crave more complex experiences, which many games this year have delivered but been somewhat overlooked.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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They wanted to differentiate themselves (because they are different hurr durr) with choosing an unusual game but they ended up choosing a shitty game... yep sounds just like Polygon.
You think they didn't really like Gone Home, they just deliberately set out to pick a game no one else would* and just randomly picked a game they actually didn't like, but they went with it anyone just to deny Joel Banderas a win? This seems pretty insane.

* plenty of other people did in the press (not necessarily as #10, but in contention) and on GAF (and it'll be in my top 10)

Couldn't an alternate explanation be that the kind of writers attracted to working at Polygon have an approach to games that meshes well with games built around empathetic/emotional, personal, emancipatory, expressive type experiences? I mean, if you disagree you disagree, that's cool.

But it's like if someone picks Geometry Wars as game of the generation. You could accuse them of having a secret agenda to undermine gaming and too cool for school and hipster to the power of ten I bet you wear leggings instead of pants!!!!! ... or you can recognize that that person probably prizes twitch reflexes, sort of zen-in-the-zone gaming, arcade experiences, score attack, and that logically flowing from the things they like, Geometry Wars is a pretty good fit.

And then if someone else picks, say, Mario Kart because they are approaching it from someone with young kids and they found that nights that used to be spent with everyone doing individual things are now spent as a family and there's so much content you can actually keep playing that long and it reminded the person of their own experience playing Mario Kart as a kid and never being able to beat 150cc... you could accuse them of being a delusional idiot propping up Big Nintendo, or you could assume that the reasoning they're giving you explicitly in their text represents the kind of experience they were looking for and so the game delivered for them.

Gone Home isn't my game of the year. Neither is The Last of Us. And I don't think the text in the A Link Between Worlds summary at all jives with my own experience of the game, which I mentioned in this thread. But I assume that when people vote for them, it's because it's the games they liked. Not because they're trying to posture and look cool.
 

BennyBlanco

aka IMurRIVAL69
Dec 9, 2012
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imagine the shitstorm that would've ensued if they gave it to TLOU after giving it a 7.5

i don't read their website but why does so much of gaf hate them? chris plante and gies are kind of insufferable but the editorials seem alright from what i've seen.
 
Jun 3, 2013
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This is an amazing post and I couldn't agree more. It's like you are channeling my exact feelings these past few years. I loved TLOU and enjoyed Gone Home, but I do crave more complex experiences, which many games this year have delivered but been somewhat overlooked.
Made me think of Metal Gear Rising, absolutely amazing 3rd person action combat, haven't heard many people talk shit about it, but hardly anyone mentioned it in any of the GOTY discussions/pieces I've seen this year. Gameplay takes a backseat to being artsy I guess. Shinta's post is 100% on the money.
 
Nov 10, 2010
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Made me think of Metal Gear Rising, absolutely amazing 3rd person action combat, haven't heard many people talk shit about it, but hardly anyone mentioned it in any of the GOTY discussions/pieces I've seen this year. Gameplay takes a backseat to being artsy I guess. Shinta's post is 100% on the money.
camera is a legit issue and there are many corners noticeably cut with the rushed/messed up dev cycle this game had. Still pretty fun!

I'm just glad Zelda is winning or on many goty lists. Games with pure solid gameplay running at 60fps on goty lists is a bit rare these days.
 
Jun 11, 2012
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I just hope that sites don't start to look down on pure gameplay, and consider it unsophisticated, and simplistic. I think its the main thing this medium does well that is unique. But with Journey, The Walking Dead, Gone Home, and The Last of Us sweeping awards, I don't see the trend slowing down any time soon.
PC Gamer chose Spelunky as their game of the year. Not everyone here was amused.
 
Gone Home for me was a bit of an underwhelming experience. I went into the game thinking it was a horror game and at first I really liked the atmosphere but I believe the story really let the game down and offered no sense of closure for me at all. I hoped all the way to the end that there was something sinister acting behind the scenes but all I got was the story of some young bisexual girl struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.

As a Scotsman I found no depth or substance in the story and can in no way relate to the stupid young girl portrayed in the game with all her minor and unrealistic problems. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for story based games such as the very pretentious Gone Home but a game like this has to offer more to be considered game of the year material and I just don't think it deserves the kind of plaudits it has received.