Polygon's 2013 Game of the Year: Gone Home

I don't even really think the message was bold. Maybe for a videogame, I guess, but
lesbian relationship drama
has been done to death in movies, books, TV, etc etc.

But sure, why not, Game of the Year, who the hell cares.
Yeah for a videogame I thought it was, other then that, it's a very forgettable experience. Doesn't hold a candle to any of my other top games or even close. I'd never play it again.
 

GravityMan

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Gone Home is a great game, so I can't complain about Polygon's choice.

It's not my personal GOTY (more like somewhere in the top 6-10 range)...over-reliance on the notes mechanic to tell the story, and some issues with performance brought the game down a bit.
 

Fox_Mulder

Rockefellers. Skull and Bones. Microsoft. Al Qaeda. A Cabal of Bankers. The melting point of steel. What do these things have in common? Wake up sheeple, the landfill wasn't even REAL!
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Polygon is the king of video game journalism
 

Interfectum

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Gone Home was a game that I very much enjoyed, but this just seems like they're trying to make a statement based on the "progressiveness" of the game and it's willingness to tackle complex subject matter not typically seen in games.

I respect and appreciate what the game was going for, but GOTY that does not make.
You summed up exactly how I feel.

It's a neat game with a progressive narrative but come on... GOTY? No.
 

MiamiWesker

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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.
I find it extremely hard to believe that a group of people who I assume have been playing games their whole life, who love gaming so much that it's their profession could all sit around and come to a consensus that Gone Home is the best game of the year. It means most do not value gameplay at all. It means they rather be told a story of a topic not covered in gaming than actual enjoy a great gaming experience.

Can people enjoy Gone Home, yes. But if it's chosen as a GOTY it means your priorities in what you want out of a game has changed, and if all you want is an interesting story that is fine but I want more than that from any site I visit.
 

Brazil

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Good on them for having an opinion that I'm perfectly happy laughing about.

I liked Gone Home for the two hours during which I played it, but, honestly, it's nothing special. It has a cool narrative and it is immersive, but I'd never touch it again and it had no impact on me beyond that single day.
 

balohna

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Last year I read a book on the Riot Grrl movement and since then I've discovered so many bands with female singers that I love.

I dunno about this game really, but I know that's part of the story. Hopefully it'll turn some of you onto some great music.
Yeah I know Heavens to Betsy is featured in it so I'm kind of curious. Corin Tucker was in that band, before Sleater-Kinney, and I fucking love Sleater-Kinney. Like, a lot.

Heavens to Betsy aren't as good to me, but I'm hoping Gone Home will turn people on to Sleater-Kinney. That and Portlandia.
 

akidnamededdy

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Yeah for a videogame I thought it was, other then that, it's a very forgettable experience. Doesn't hold a candle to any of my other top games or even close. I'd never play it again.
See, this is a big part of picking a game of the year for me, and I'm sure it is for a lot of people. When I think of personal past GOTY winners, they're all games I would still sit down and play again today, even if they don't necessarily have any traditional replay value.

I dunno. They're free to give their award to whatever they like, of course, but it does smack a bit of "Polygon being Polygon."
 

mrpeabody

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Wasn't that long ago that indie games were completely off the radar, even on PC. They got zero coverage in the media.

Then Steam happened, and Minecraft, and Kickstarter. Now in 2013 alone we had Gone Home, Antichamber, Stanley Parable, Papers Please, Don't Starve, and Rogue Legacy. These games are great, they're visible, and people are buying them.

From a creativity point of view, it's a great time to be a gamer.
 

Shinta

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I find it extremely hard to believe that a group of people who I assume have been playing games their whole life, who love gaming so much that it's their profession could all sit around and come to a consensus that Gone Home is the best game of the year. It means most do not value gameplay at all. It means they rather be told a story of a topic not covered in gaming than actual enjoy a great gaming experience.

Can people enjoy Gone Home, yes. But if it's chosen as a GOTY it means your priorities in what you want out of a game has changed, and if all you want is an interesting story that is fine but I want more than that from any site I visit.
I feel the exact same way.
 

SwiftDeath

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Polygon Games of the Year said:
10. Tearaway - 9.5/10
9. Kentucky Route Zero - No review that I could find - ?/10
8. Super Mario 3D World - 9/10
7. GTAV - 9.5/10
6. Brothers A Tale of Two Sons - 9/10
5. The Last of Us - 7.5/10
4. Bioshock Infinite - 10/10
3. Towerfall - No review that I could find - ?/10
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds - 9.5/10
1. Gone Home - 10/10
I don't know what's more odd: the fact that a game with a review score of 7.5 beat 4 games with up to 20% higher review scores on their GOTY selection or that 2 of the games on there don't even have reviews and thus must have been considered not worthy of their time to review

Oh polygon at least you're consistently inconsistent
 

border

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I find it extremely hard to believe that a group of people who I assume have been playing games their whole life, who love gaming so much that it's their profession could all sit around and come to a consensus that Gone Home is the best game of the year. It means most do not value gameplay at all. It means they rather be told a story of a topic not covered in gaming than actual enjoy a great gaming experience.
Did people cry and whine this much when The Walking Dead started winning awards?
 

AkuMifune

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I think 'neat' is probably the best adjective that could be ascribed to Gone Home.
Yeah. Even 'intriguing' is pushing it.

Personally it fell flat on me in the final stretch and left a bad taste in my mouth. I suppose now it's clear that game is about subverting expectations as much as it is providing a personal low-key narrative, but I don't think subverting expectations is successful when the developers themselves have built the expectations for the player so thoroughly. If you do that and then subvert them it's not clever, it's cheap.

And of course they would pick this. They always try so hard to prove something they steer directly into pathetic.
 

Nymphae

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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.
They are perceived as pompous hipsters by most of Gaf it seems. My guess is that it has a lot to do with the MS funded documentary they produced to promote themselves. If you watch the documentary, they come off as incredibly self-important, I mean they called the doc "Press Reset", as in, games journalism is fucked up and we're going to reset things. There is a vibe of arrogance that they give off that I think Gaf does not appreciate.

Also, they employ Arthur Gies.
 

mattiewheels

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Its a good choice because its one of the truest "role playing" game I've ever played. It also transmits ideas to you in a way that's only possible in video games, no cutscenes like movies or long expositional passages like literature. Its pretty fucking important.
 

Data West

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I will say that I think Gone Home has a lot of 'crossover appeal'. I think it's the kind of game that, despite it's intricacies, you could introduce to someone who doesn't play games, and they would figure it out. It's less game than most adventure games, but that might be a good thing for some people. I think it's a game I could show my grandmother, and she would give it a chance.

I don't want there to be a bunch of 'Gone Home' clones, but I do think there should be a market for these small stories, completely narrative driven games. Gone Home has puzzles like an Adventure game, but they rarely feel 'video gamey' they feel like something grounded in reality that the average person could figure out just because they've had a similar experience in their life.

I guess I'd just like to see a few more games that basically give you a breathing world but don't try to be a game. I don't know what you call them, but it'd be nice to not have to blow up zombies or solve lockpick puzzles and replace that with more interactive environments. But as something else, not as a 'THIS IS THE ONLY KIND OF GAME I WANT TO PLAY'
 

Zemm

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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.
When has a skill based game ever been game of the year? Back in 1999 with Quake 3/Unreal Tournament?
 

King_Moc

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Not sure how much you guys pay for movie theaters but its not unusual to pay around $15 to see a movie in north america.

I think when it comes to games like these that rely heavily on story, $15 isn't too unreasonable. ( although, admidably i waited for a sale first :p )
How much does the average movie cost to make? This would have cost far, far less.
 

epmode

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People that create distinctions between games and "non-games" are as tiresome as those who endlessly categorize music into ridiculously specific sub-genres.
 

snap0212

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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.
They choose to update some game reviews when content changes. The execution of this otherwise good idea is a complete joke. It’s not hard to believe there’s a secret agenda when the changed review score is usually attached to a game that sticks out for being a controversial one (Sim City, Battlefield 4). It might not be about favorites, but it can definitely feel like hits-gathering reviews are the only priority.

Have they ever updates their Minecraft Xbox 360 score?
 

Maxxan

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It's an awesome game. That being said, it often feels like Polygon wants to be different for the sake of being different.
 

Miletius

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Did people cry and whine this much when The Walking Dead started winning awards?
Not right away, but definitely after it had a strong showing. Even as a person who values gameplay very highly it's always strange to hear people self define titles as "non-games" because they don't meet a certain threshold in the mind's eye. It's a very narrow and divisive attitude, and you're missing out on a lot when you do.

At any rate, congrats to Gone Home. I really need to play this game.
 

SwiftDeath

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People that create distinctions between games and "non-games" are as tiresome as those who endlessly categorize music into ridiculously specific sub-genres.
Hey don't you judge me on my love of New Zealand guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duos! FOTC will become the 3rd most popular group if I have anything to say about it
 

border

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I don't even really think the message was bold. Maybe for a videogame, I guess, but
lesbian relationship drama
has been done to death in movies, books, TV, etc etc.
Is there a videogame story that hasn't been done to death in other media? It seems kind of dumb to discount the uniqueness of Gone Home's story just because the premise has been executed elsewhere.
 

Stumpokapow

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I don't know what's more odd: the fact that a game with a review score of 7.5 beat 4 games with up to 20% higher review scores on their GOTY selection or that 2 of the games on there don't even have reviews and thus must have been considered not worthy of their time to review
Towerfall isn't on there because they haven't been doing Ouya reviews and the game's PC and PS releases haven't happened yet, but presumably someone played it at the office on Ouya and everyone got hooked. Kentucky Route Zero isn't on there because it's an episodic game that isn't done releasing and presumably they're handling that fact differently for an individual review basis than a GOTY basis. So in both cases it's a pretty logical extension of the weird way that platforms and releases are changing the way we interact with games. See also: GAF having to debate which years Minecraft and DOTA2 qualified for GOTY voting; the massive number of Kickstarter, episodic, and Early Access games. Brave new world.
 

Zemm

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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.
So I guess you lost all credibility in gaf after they gave goty to Journey and TWD? Why even post here in that case.
 

besada

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Is there a videogame story that hasn't been done to death in other media? It seems kind of dumb to discount the uniqueness of Gone Home's story just because the premise has been executed elsewhere.
The one where there's been some sort of apocalypse, and some gruff guy has to save some innocent child.

Totes fresh.
 

Zia

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Lovely choice. I had it right up there with "real games" such as Dota 2 and Spelunky on my own list. It's nice to be able to appreciate a large variety of games. : )
 

Ryuelli

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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.
As someone who likes casual, relaxing games - I hope we do.


I've yet to try Gone Home, but it's definitely on my list at this point. It seemed to come out of nowhere (or maybe I was just out of the loop...). My favorite game site (Polygon) and my favorite reviewer (Adam Sessler) both choose it as the GOTY, so maybe come next steam sale...
 

SwiftDeath

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Towerfall isn't on there because they haven't been doing Ouya reviews and the game's PC and PS releases haven't happened yet, but presumably someone played it at the office on Ouya and everyone got hooked. Kentucky Route Zero isn't on there because it's an episodic game that isn't done releasing and presumably they're handling that fact differently for an individual review basis than a GOTY basis. So in both cases it's a pretty logical extension of the weird way that platforms and releases are changing the way we interact with games. See also: GAF having to debate which years Minecraft and DOTA2 qualified for GOTY voting; the massive number of Kickstarter, episodic, and Early Access games. Brave new world.
Eh the ouya thing sounds a bit of a cop out. If there is a good game on Ouya why not review it? Platform is cheap and clearly someone owns one. Only reason I can come to is that it's not worth bothering because there's no money to be made on releasing a review for it but that doesn't sound like well-balanced journalism to me.

For Kentucky Route Zero, why not review up to whatever you have available especially if you're looking at it for a GOTY nomination? You can always add qualifiers to reviews and Polygon unlike other outlets are willing to change their review based on new developments.

I can understand somewhat why they wouldn't review kentucky route zero but see no good reason why you wouldn't review towerfall if you consider it a worthy game.
 

MiamiWesker

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So I guess you lost all credibility in gaf after they gave goty to Journey and TWD? Why even post here in that case.
There are still plenty of people with my mindset on this site but yeah that saddened me to see so many have their priorities in games shift.

But again then a thread comes around where it asks gameplay vs story and almost everyone chooses gameplay so it confuses me and gives me hope. I think this is some weird phases the industry is going through.
 

Shrike_Priest

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The story was nothing new, however, I think the way it was told was legitimately innovative. It took the "audio-log/diary"-mechanic to whole new heights.

I have no problem giving GOTY to a game that evolves gameplay concepts and is different compared to yet another platformer/shooter, regardless of how amazing they are.

Just like I was okay with IGN picking Journey last year, I'm fine with this. Both of them were games that had a big impact on the scene, were plenty talked about, and hopefully will expand the kind of things people can do in games from now on. And making gaming a bigger, more varied and fulfilling medium is worth getting awards and stuff from.

And no, I probably won't replay it, at least not in quite a while, but that doesn't really matter.
 

BennyBlanco

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People that create distinctions between games and "non-games" are as tiresome as those who endlessly categorize music into ridiculously specific sub-genres.
not really the same thing though.

if i went in blind and bought gone home for $20 in that post release frenzy when the journos were universally fellating it, i would've been pissed. there isn't much to it in the way of proper gameplay mechanics or any kind of replayability.

if i had a press steam account and got it for free i would probably feel differently about it, but as a $20 videogame it's not really a good proposition. i can understand why people like it, and i guess it's not for me, but there is definitely merit to calling this something other than a videogame.
 

Data West

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There are still plenty of people with my mindset on this site but yeah that saddened me to see so many have their priorities in games shift.

But again then a thread comes around where it asks gameplay vs story and almost everyone chooses gameplay so it confuses me and gives me hope.
Don't worry. Hotline Miami 2 - GOTY 2014
 

NoirVisage

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Gone Home was a game that I very much enjoyed, but this just seems like they're trying to make a statement based on the "progressiveness" of the game and it's willingness to tackle complex subject matter not typically seen in games.

I respect and appreciate what the game was going for, but GOTY that does not make.
I could never have said this as safely as you put it, no coincidence that the white knight site led by sir Geis has the same game of the year as one Sir Sessler.
 

akidnamededdy

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Is there a videogame story that hasn't been done to death in other media? It seems kind of dumb to discount the uniqueness of Gone Home's story just because the premise has been executed elsewhere.
Diddy Kong Racing!

Nah you have a point, but I mean. Gone Home's story isn't unique. It's unique to the medium. Which, yes, is worth something in and of itself, I'll give you that, but Game of the Year? Seems a little silly.

But hey, it's their site.
 

captainnapalm

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Oct 26, 2011
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I played Gone Home, and even as a big fan of adventure games, I would not give it high praise.

I get that a story that's really just about a budding relationship might seem deeper and more meaningful and therefore more worthy of praise, but it's not really. No film or novel would ever get recognition just by going 'look, lesbian relationship'. You still need to do or say something interesting about the world and relationships if you want that subject to be literally all your story is about, and Gone Home did not do that.

I won't even get in to the fact that the game baits you with a feeling of genuine suspense, and then totally fails to deliver.
 

Mononoke

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Gone Home was a game that I very much enjoyed, but this just seems like they're trying to make a statement based on the "progressiveness" of the game and it's willingness to tackle complex subject matter not typically seen in games.

I respect and appreciate what the game was going for, but GOTY that does not make.
Pretty much this, except I didn't even enjoy the game that much. I figured out what the story was about 20 min in or so. And I just found the game to be tedious once I knew what I was working towards.