Polygon's 2013 Game of the Year: Gone Home

Mushroomer25

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Understandable. I feel like people praise Gone Home for many of the same reasons people praise The Last of Us. Even if the game's story has been done before in other mediums, gaming has never seen anything of the type so well executed. Seeing these games succeed is ultimately good for the industry, as it encourages developers (both independent and AAA) to experiment with new ideas. Even if you make the argument that other games are more technically accomplished, they're not testing the boundaries in the same way. For a journalism outlet, it says a lot when your pick for GOTY goes beyond just being great, and makes a statement about the medium at large.
 

Shinta

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May 14, 2012
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For a journalism outlet, it says a lot when your pick for GOTY goes beyond just being great, and makes a statement about the medium at large.
That's exactly what people are afraid of though. Then it has literally nothing to do with what is actually the best game that year, and more to do with what statement the site wants to make.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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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.
Your claim is that Polygon is most likely to update game scores that most badly need an update post-release, and that this is evidence of an agenda other than updating reviews when they feel they need an update. I guess I just think parsimony dictates otherwise.

What's more likely is this: They review the game (and maybe the review is a sloppy job, or an iconoclastic perspective, or maybe it's consistent with all the other reviews out there), then the game is released. The post-release issues become obvious (either because it's an issue with scale post-launch or because further time with the game reveals the issues). Primarily with Battlefield and Sim City it was issues with server reliability. Readers read the review and say "Huh" because their experience isn't matching the review. The writers and editors say "Huh" because their experience isn't matching the review they just wrote. So they update. That's not an agenda, that's the stated purpose of the score updating policy.

I think probably the more controversial case is something like GTA4 or Civilization 5, where a review environment simply wouldn't identify the main post-release issue with the games. Or even Sim City, how immediately post-release the discussion was about the game functioning, but a year later the main discussion is mainly about how the game has no lasting appeal to begin with. That's probably the controversial case for a review update. Kotaku actually did update their SIm City review a year later to reflect this. Not sure if Polygon has. With Civ 5 I don't remember doing it but I do know Tom Chick did a 6 month teardown/followup. GTA4 most of the drive came from fans, and you could really see where the fan reception turned from "what an epic storyline" to "holy shit it's so joyless and there's nothing to do", and it was clearly that kind of post-game bore that reviewers missed.

Have they ever updates their Minecraft Xbox 360 score?
I believe that was before their update policy, but I'm not really sure why they would. I just checked their review, and they gave it a 7 while noting "Often for better and occasionally for worse, Minecraft XBLA is PC Minecraft with very little added and very little taken away. A few craftable items didn't make the leap, but by-and-large, it is the exact same game ported, with all that entails". The value in updating a Minecraft XBLA review would be if your initial review faulted it primarily on the ways it differed from the PC version, and as the game closed, you updated it to reflect that. Mostly their criticism of it appears to have been that the reviewer felt the game had gotten a little stale. I don't really agree--but I think that's the challenge of reviewing a game that has a rolling release over a 3 year period and what's new to one person is old and dated to another--but I don't see why that would make it a strong candidate for a review update.
 

adj_noun

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Oh, awesome. Playing Gone Home with my wife was one of the highlights of last year. Absolutely loved it.
 

VeryGooster

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I honestly felt learning about the characters themselves rather than their turbulent romance was a more interesting narrative. That doesn't mean I don't sympathize, but the entire tenure of being a teenager in the '90s "riot grrrl" scene was something I wanted a bit more of. I actually quite liked the gameplay itself because I enjoy exploring and the setting was pretty well done. Great music, too.

I honestly don't remember if it even made honorable mention in my GOTY list, though. I think it's well done overall, but not mind-blowing.
 

border

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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'.
And no zombie apocalypse movie is ever going to win a Best Picture Oscar. No science-fiction space opera is ever going to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Different mediums, different standards.
 

Mononoke

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Dec 26, 2012
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Understandable. I feel like people praise Gone Home for many of the same reasons people praise The Last of Us. Even if the game's story has been done before in other mediums, gaming has never seen anything of the type so well executed. Seeing these games succeed is ultimately good for the industry, as it encourages developers (both independent and AAA) to experiment with new ideas. Even if you make the argument that other games are more technically accomplished, they're not testing the boundaries in the same way. For a journalism outlet, it says a lot when your pick for GOTY goes beyond just being great, and makes a statement about the medium at large.
I agree that people praise the Last of Us's story because of how it's told (because the story isn't unique). However, the Last of Us has great gameplay. It doesn't just tell an amazing story, it seamelessy blends gameplay and story together. People keep forgetting that the Last of Us is an intense game to play. There were times in the game where I was down to my last bullet, and scrounging for ANYTHING meant getting to the next area. It was also a game where I actually used every single item in my inventory.

Gone Home's gameplay...is pretty much non-existent. It's a point and click game. Which is fine. But it really didn't match the story that was being told. So much emphasis is put on the atmosphere and house, and what gets you excited and through the first 40 minutes is the mystery that you are uncovering. But I figured out the plot 20 min in, so any kind of atmospheric trickery they used to make it seem like something else was going on, felt hollow. And then at a certain point when the game gives up, and you know what the story is 100% about, you are just going through the motions to get to the end. And by that point, the point and click stuff no longer cuts it.
 

Pyccko

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Well hey, cool. Really, I think Gone Home was my favorite game of last year. This is based pretty much on the fact that it's the only game I played last year that I actually found myself thinking about past the time the controller was in my hands. I had plenty of fun in the moment with others, but I dunno, GH just stayed in my mind.

But wait, this is Polygon I'm agreeing with, so I must be wrong.
 

crusnik

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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.

I would disagree on replayability, I replayed it multiple times with friends. Each time I got to share their reaction to the game with them, and that was pretty cool. In the same way that you could have a friend come over to watch TV, this game is a unique thing that I was able to share with friends.
 

NoirVisage

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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.
*Clapping* Well said, very well said, I've seen quite a few blind plat throughs, and the disappointment is pretty palpable from the let's player who just spent $20 on it.
 
Mar 16, 2006
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The more mainstream games get, the more you will see stuff like this. Whether that's good or bad depends on your own personal tastes. Personally, I don't really enjoy seeing games like this, or even TLOU elevated above something like The Wonderful 101, which is on another level in terms of craftsmanship. I also think it says a lot about the current state of game criticism.
 

Mushroomer25

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That's exactly what people are afraid of though. Then it has literally nothing to do with what is actually the best game that year, and more to do with what statement the site wants to make.
Polygon in particular has always seemed like a site more concerned with the big picture than any one individual game. Frankly, I wouldn't have been surprised to see them hand it out to SimCity or Battlefield 4 for "shaking the foundations of what it means to review a game". I don't think other outlets are going to be as conscious of what their pick "says" about gaming.
 

Tragicomedy

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Fun and interesting game. Not even in the wheelhouse of my favorite game last year, and I barely played any games.
 

akidnamededdy

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Understandable. I feel like people praise Gone Home for many of the same reasons people praise The Last of Us. Even if the game's story has been done before in other mediums, gaming has never seen anything of the type so well executed. Seeing these games succeed is ultimately good for the industry, as it encourages developers (both independent and AAA) to experiment with new ideas. Even if you make the argument that other games are more technically accomplished, they're not testing the boundaries in the same way. For a journalism outlet, it says a lot when your pick for GOTY goes beyond just being great, and makes a statement about the medium at large.
Does it really test any boundaries, though? The story basically amounts to "look, lesbians!" It doesn't really say anything new or compelling about anything, and the gameplay aspect isn't exactly groundbreaking either, let alone well-executed (technical issues mentioned earlier).

I mean...if acknowledging that lesbians exist is pushing boundaries, then Mass Effect did that years ago.

That's exactly what people are afraid of though. Then it has literally nothing to do with what is actually the best game that year, and more to do with what statement the site wants to make.
Ding ding ding.
 

crusnik

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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.
For me it wasn't just the story, it was my experience with the game that was awesome. It wasn't my game of the year, but I can understand why someone else might feel it was.

And definitely, if you don't have the same priorities or expectations as Polygon, maybe the site isn't for you. And I think that's OK. I'd rather a site be consistent than try to be everything for everyone.
 

NoirVisage

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Sep 12, 2011
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That's exactly what people are afraid of though. Then it has literally nothing to do with what is actually the best game that year, and more to do with what statement the site wants to make.
That's a fear I've already come to terms with when I watched Geis explain his website on their expensive video by getting a new tattoo..because why not.
 

captainnapalm

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Oct 26, 2011
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Gone Home's gameplay...is pretty much non-existent. It's a point and click game. Which is fine.
Point & click games generally feature puzzles in the form of environment interaction, inventory and dialogues. So Gone Home barely qualifies as a proper point & click game.

It is literally just a visual novel, interactive fiction, so the narrative has to carry everything. And I don't think it was able to do that.
 

Mushroomer25

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I agree that people praise the Last of Us's story because of how it's told (because the story isn't unique). However, the Last of Us has great gameplay. It doesn't just tell an amazing story, it seamelessy blends gameplay and story together. People keep forgetting that the Last of Us is an intense game to play. There were times in the game where I was down to my last bullet, and scrounging for ANYTHING meant getting to the next area. It was also a game where I actually used every single item in my inventory.

Gone Home's gameplay...is pretty much non-existent. It's a point and click game. Which is fine. But it really didn't match the story that was being told. So much emphasis is put on the atmosphere and house, and what gets you excited and through the first 40 minutes is the mystery that you are uncovering. But I figured out the plot 20 min in, so any kind of atmospheric trickery they used to make it seem like something else was going on, felt hollow. And then at a certain point when the game gives up, and you know what the story is 100% about, you are just going through the motions to get to the end. And by that point, the point and click stuff no longer cuts it.
I feel like Gone Home is as good at merging "gameplay" with story as The Last of Us. (Note, I feel like The Last of Us suffers from some occasionally jarring ludonarrative dissonance, but that's beyond the point) Yes, you're just walking through a house. But the gameplay comes from what you discover in the environment, what things you pick up on, and how you link the story together. Failing to find every item about one character may paint them in a negative light, and shape your perception of the events.
As for the atmosphere, I agree that around the 2/3rds mark,
it becomes apparent there isn't a real supernatural element going on.
However, the last moment is exponentially more effective as a result of this.
When you first believe that the girl has committed suicide in the attic, it makes immediate sense. It fits with the expected narrative of a horror game, which the experience so intentionally resembles. Add in the possible fact that you could have been walking around the house this whole time with your sister dead in the attic the whole time, and it's a bone-chilling moment that sends you sprinting to the answers.
 

Globalisateur

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Nov 6, 2013
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Were are all the Microsoft games? I thought GAF said they had an Xbox bias.
As they weren't many Microsoft GOTY worthy games in 2013, they couldn't give their GOTY award to a SONY game (heresy!), that's why they gave it to a neutral PC game.

Don't worry, Polygon will certainly give their 2014 GOTY to Titanfall along with a 10/10 score.
 

3rdamention

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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.


Lucious Jackson was my favorite girl band ever. They were all 4 females. Too bad they broke up so soon. They were signed by the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal Label and straight tore it up in the mid 90's. Their music has aged very well and still sounds awesome today. I guess that dates myself, but they were sooogood.gif.
 

Team Vernia

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The more mainstream games get, the more you will see stuff like this. Whether that's good or bad depends on your own personal tastes. Personally, I don't really enjoy seeing games like this, or even TLOU elevated above something like The Wonderful 101, which is on another level in terms of craftsmanship. I also think it says a lot about the current state of game criticism.
*single tear*

Love the avatar.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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That's exactly what people are afraid of though. Then it has literally nothing to do with what is actually the best game that year, and more to do with what statement the site wants to make.
I'm not sure why it can't be both. Someone can say "My favourite game this year is Dark Souls" while simultaneously saying "I want to send the message that the industry should not be afraid to make more games like Dark Souls (difficult, challenging, open-discovery based, inventive approach to multiplayer)".

I think when I look back on a year of TV or games or music or whatever, I see certain patterns and trends and I group the stuff I've experienced into different sorts of groups. It's not hard to see how The Sopranos, The Shield, and The Wire give way to Breaking Bad or Justified, while Low Winter Sun and Ray Donovan are desperate and failed attempts to recapture that spirit. Right? When someone says Breaking Bad is their show of the year, they mean it, but they also mean to point out that it exemplifies its cohort or the direction the industry has taken or the direction the industry will or should take in terms of the emphasis on anti-heroes or grit or whatever the thing they identify as being best about the show. A lot of praise for Breaking Bad contextualized it as "the end of the anti-hero era", "the last great show in the mould of the Sopranos", etc.

When someone picks a launch game, they're sending the message about the potential of what's to come, or if they pick a late-generation game they're saying "it all built to this".

Voting is a comparative thing. It's about experiencing a lot of different stuff, this year and in past years, and looking at what's to come, and fitting everything together. It's why a 13 year old comes out of some shitty movie of the week and says "That's the best movie I've ever seen", because he's immature and he doesn't know shit and has no perspective. And more experience gives him more perspective, to be able to compare things to other things over periods of time and across different countries and stuff.

So when someone says they loved Gone Home, what they mean is both that they loved Gone Home but also that they see it as something building on previous works (the connections to Minerva's Den are obvious, but also to classic PnC in terms of object interactivity, the way the themes match up with the emerging genre of sort of personal experience games but also the ongoing conversation about gender and sexual orientation and participation in the gaming community, the way this kind of game couldn't exist 5 years ago because the pricepoint / digital distribution / the fact that Gaynor is a refugee from sort of big development gone wrong). And maybe not everyone thinks about all of those things, but end-of-year voting is about having a conversation and telling a story about how things have changed and where they're still going.

The Last of Us is absolutely the culmination of a generation of work for Naughty Dog. The game very obviously builds on lessons from Uncharted, the theme I think builds on previous explorations of the setting, the level of grit and tone they were able to achieve obviously comes on the back of previous creative works (both games and non-games), the fact that they were able to get a game greenlit with a young girl as one of the protagonists
and a playable character
reflects trends in the industry. I think the partner AI builds on stuff. I think crafting builds on stuff that's popular, including the popularity of Minecraft. I think the length of the games steadily building from UC1 -> UC2 -> TLOU is pretty obvious. I think being able to turn off listen mode is a reflection of push-back against overly intrusive HUDs and a part of the narrative that started sort of with Assassin's Creed or Dead Space to have more integrated mechanics and UIs but then also with Demon's and Dark Souls to really want challenge and difficulty. I think the incorporation of RPG elements and stealth elements into an otherwise action game is a long time coming. This doesn't mean I think people voting for The Last of Us are being insincere, it means that I think beyond the work in a vacuum, some of the reason why people engage with stuff is because they compare it and see it as a part of a temporal order.

I feel pretty bad for someone who plays a game and at the end says "dem feels . gif :bow based game sogood GOTF GOAT can't wait to watch dat salt flo tho from dem mad doggiessss ownt!!!!" or whatever and that's literally the limits of their intellectual capacity to engage with what they just played. I mean, pretty clearly those kinds of people are out there. I'm glad even the hackiest and worst elements of the press try to thing longer-term and bigger-picture than that though.

Does it really test any boundaries, though? The story basically amounts to "look, lesbians!" It doesn't really say anything new or compelling about anything, and the gameplay aspect isn't exactly groundbreaking either, let alone well-executed (technical issues mentioned earlier).

I mean...if acknowledging that lesbians exist is pushing boundaries, then Mass Effect did that years ago.
That's not really what the story is at all and there's more to storytelling than plot. If you don't like the game that's fine, but it seems more like you didn't quite understand it.
 

Xater

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Eh Gone Home did nothing for me. It was just as uninteresting as Dear Esther. The ind of story they tell is commendable but that's about it. When it comes to this style of game the Stanley parable is way better. Game and narrative actually worked hand in hand in that game. Gone home just felt like a virtual museum tour.
 

border

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Does it really test any boundaries, though? The story basically amounts to "look, lesbians!"
There's like at least 3-4 separate plot threads in the game. And that the one you're talking about is a good deal more than "acknowledging the existence of
lesbians
."
 

Mushroomer25

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Does it really test any boundaries, though? The story basically amounts to "look, lesbians!" It doesn't really say anything new or compelling about anything, and the gameplay aspect isn't exactly groundbreaking either, let alone well-executed (technical issues mentioned earlier).

I mean...if acknowledging that lesbians exist is pushing boundaries, then Mass Effect did that years ago.
It plays upon the player's expectations of what the experience is going to be. It's leveraging the rise in popularity of PC horror games like Amnesia & Slender, emulates those mechanics to establish a tone - then bases a narrative twist off of your expectations.

I think the biggest shame about Gone Home, and why critics are more keen to it than fans, is that expectation is absolutely everything. Most gamers had Gone Home spoiled for them in the first week of release. If you go into it thinking "I've heard about this, it's a lesbian teen love story." - the game isn't able to build those expectations. However, if you go in blind - you become transfixed into the bluff.
 

Mzo

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Point & click games generally feature puzzles in the form of environment interaction, inventory and dialogues. So Gone Home barely qualifies as a proper point & click game.

It is literally just a visual novel, interactive fiction, so the narrative has to carry everything. And I don't think it was able to do that.
Now that I think about it, it's actually a really fancy hidden object game.
.
 

Gbraga

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I think people saying it lasts 1 hour or all it has for it is the
lesbian relationship
are missing a lot. Probably wouldn't change how good they think the game is, but they're being unfair with some of the stuff the game does offer.

You can finish it in one hour because the game won't force all of its narrative in your face, you can think it's all about the spoiler I mentioned, but you can also explore more and find out about rather interesting themes and passages of those characters' lives.

I agree that people praise the Last of Us's story because of how it's told (because the story isn't unique). However, the Last of Us has great gameplay. It doesn't just tell an amazing story, it seamelessy blends gameplay and story together. People keep forgetting that the Last of Us is an intense game to play. There were times in the game where I was down to my last bullet, and scrounging for ANYTHING meant getting to the next area. It was also a game where I actually used every single item in my inventory.
And then you play it on Survivor and find out that Ellie hands you medkits and bullets out of her ass when you don't have any and there goes your illusion of survival gameplay.

I really, REALLY wish I didn't play it on survivor, in this case ignorance is indeed bliss.
 

Mzo

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It plays upon the player's expectations of what the experience is going to be. It's leveraging the rise in popularity of PC horror games like Amnesia & Slender, emulates those mechanics to establish a tone - then bases a narrative twist off of your expectations.

I think the biggest shame about Gone Home, and why critics are more keen to it than fans, is that expectation is absolutely everything. Most gamers had Gone Home spoiled for them in the first week of release. If you go into it thinking "I've heard about this, it's a lesbian teen love story." - the game isn't able to build those expectations. However, if you go in blind - you become transfixed into the bluff.
I completely agree with this, and wrote something similar back on the first page.

The best part is that anyone who is first hearing about this game from the GOTY list is fucked. The giant red text in the middle of the article completely strips the game of the small power it had.
 

border

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I completely agree with this, and wrote something similar back on the first page.

The best part is that anyone who is first hearing about this game from the GOTY list is fucked. The giant red text in the middle of the article completely strips the game of the small power it had.
I don't think the game's effectiveness is in its "twist". I don't think the Fullbright Company believes that either. They spoiled the game before it was even released. When they boycotted PAX they basically said "Gone Home
deals with LGBT issues
so we don't want to be associated with that bigot that runs Penny Arcade."
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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Eh Gone Home did nothing for me. It was just as uninteresting as Dear Esther. The ind of story they tell is commendable but that's about it. When it comes to this style of game the Stanley parable is way better.
I would say that they're all pretty different beasts. Dear Esther is very conceptual and abstract in part because one of the major themes it's tackling is uncertainty and ambiguity. The authors described it as "the collapse of meaning", which I think fits. It's an audiovisual experience, almost more like a guided museum tour. I think it's mostly, from a player perspective, about sort of quietly contemplating some of the things that come up, the visual symbols, the interpersonal themes. I think it's a lot like a museum in that there's no one meaning, you're sort of supposed to converse with yourself about it. Museum exhibit

The Stanley Parable is a very funny and reflexive commentary on choice and tedium and turning dull rote, repetitive, procedural stuff into a game while also turning gaming into a dull, rote, repetitive, procedural thing. It's very meta-referential, it's very surreal, and there's not really much to follow. It's cheeky, it's got an attitude. It's got tons of endings, it's about replaying and mining the content and in many cases sort of trying to rely on your knowledge of the conventions of games to subvert or break with what you're being asked to do. Game about games

Gone Home is neither in that it's very literal, it's not abstract, but it's mostly character sketches and mise-en-scene stuff. It's about establishing a place and a time and actors. I think it's designed to make you think about the ways in which maybe you connect with the things that are going on (are your parents together? did they have rough patches? do you have siblings? are you the black sheep or are they? what were you doing in the mid-90s?). The object interactivity is obviously the major thing, and to me at least it made me think of my experience sort of entering a new space or returning to a space I've been in before and noticing something different or wondering about the story behind some piece of art or some object or maybe I know the story and I'm replaying it in my head. I think the tone is meant to be sort of offputting and confusing, but it's all explained well. I think it's definitely supposed to be the most human of the three. Feminist, expressive, zine, chapbook culture

I guess all of them literally involve just moving a character through space and none have fail states per se and they're all broadly story or adventure games, but they all differ pretty strongly to me. Like, as much as Prince of Persia (Classic) differs from Mario in approach despite them both being platformers. Or the way that cubism and Impressionism are both art movements, or the way that Office Space and Koyanisqaatsi are both films.
 
Oct 11, 2009
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I liked Gone Home quite a bit, but the game has essentially zero gameplay mechanics. If I was prone to being flippant, I might call it a "drawer-opening simulator." Hell, it's on my top 10 list for the year, but at like 8.

That being said, the moment I finished it I thought "well that's going to be Polygon's game of the year." It was too focused on a prominent social issue for Polygon not to jump on it. Not too concerned about it, though, it's a good game that deserves recognition.
 

NoirVisage

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Sep 12, 2011
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Lucious Jackson was my favorite girl band ever. They were all 4 females. Too bad they broke up so soon. They were signed by the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal Label and straight tore it up in the mid 90's. Their music has aged very well and still sounds awesome today. I guess that dates myself, but they were sooogood.gif.
Naked eye and Ladyfingers were some of my favorite songs from any group in that era, I'm going to hunt some of their albums down and see what other hidden gems lay within.
 

Senor Kami

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Jan 29, 2013
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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.
True, but look at every opinion piece Polygon does. Listen to Arthur on Rebel FM saying that any game where a minority is attacked is racists and any situation where a woman is harmed (even if self-harm or harmed by a woman) is misogyny. A coming out of the closet game was bound to win. There never should have been any doubt about this.
 

SolidSnakex

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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. I think this is some weird phases the industry is going through.
Well, in general if you look at the best selling or most played games they're pretty much always gameplay driven. Whether it be Moba's, Minecraft, or the Wii_ games. People only talk about them for their gameplay. For as much as some complain about CoD being so popular, it's a series that is popular specifically for its gameplay. I remember IW posting stats for the original MW and mentioning that 30% of players never even touch the single player. They just went straight to the multiplayer. So, i'd say most people really do value gameplay over all else.
 

Mushroomer25

Member
Jan 5, 2012
9,881
1
0
twitter.com
I don't think the game's effectiveness is in its "twist". I don't think the Fullbright Company believes that either. They spoiled the game before it was even released. When they boycotted PAX they basically said "Gone Home
deals with LGBT issues
so we don't want to be associated with that bigot that runs Penny Arcade."
There's a difference between saying "my game deals with LGBT issues", and
"the entire narrative crux of this horror game is actually based on a teenage relationship."
. If you don't think that Gone Home in any way plays into the expectations of
horror
, you likely missed entire large swaths of the experience
(ominous hints about the house being haunted in the first act, the lightbulb, the soundtrack, the occult room in the back, etc.).
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
3
0
I completely agree with this, and wrote something similar back on the first page.

The best part is that anyone who is first hearing about this game from the GOTY list is fucked. The giant red text in the middle of the article completely strips the game of the small power it had.
Given that one of the options you're presented with when you start the game is to get rid of the flickering lights and I believe tone down any kind of spooky music cues, I think it's fairly evident you're not going to be getting a game like Outlast or Slenderman or whatever and the developers aren't trying to mislead you to enhance the payoff of what you do get.
 

Hupsel

Member
Jul 23, 2012
1,571
0
0
Ehhh just an average experience. Games like Brothers, Gone Home and Journey, in my opinion, still need to be much better to have an emotional impact. I still think movies and tv shows are ahead when it comes to that. Its hard to have any kind of sympathy to a character when those games last 2-3 hours... and its 30 minutes of story and 2 hours of running around.
 

LordJim

Member
Apr 12, 2013
1,820
0
0
That's not really what the story is at all and there's more to storytelling than plot. If you don't like the game that's fine, but it seems more like you didn't quite understand it.
The way the narrative unfolds is nothing really new in adventure games.
The game really does not give you enough material to care about the characters and what happens to them even for Sam who gets more time in the spotlight. You really learn few things besides their issues. it does not really go deep in the territory to say that it examines the various issues present (father's traumatic past, daughter's sexual identity etc) in a way no other game dared. Games have dealt with serious human issues quite a few times.
Quality of writing is closer to a 2 hour dawson creek special.
And the game does not really take advantage of the strengths of the medium with a barebones 'wander around+audiologs' format.

There is not much for you to NOT understand about the game.
 

Mononoke

Banned
Dec 26, 2012
20,945
0
0
Los Angeles, CA
I feel like Gone Home is as good at merging "gameplay" with story as The Last of Us. (Note, I feel like The Last of Us suffers from some occasionally jarring ludonarrative dissonance, but that's beyond the point) Yes, you're just walking through a house. But the gameplay comes from what you discover in the environment, what things you pick up on, and how you link the story together. Failing to find every item about one character may paint them in a negative light, and shape your perception of the events.
As for the atmosphere, I agree that around the 2/3rds mark,
it becomes apparent there isn't a real supernatural element going on.
However, the last moment is exponentially more effective as a result of this.
When you first believe that the girl has committed suicide in the attic, it makes immediate sense. It fits with the expected narrative of a horror game, which the experience so intentionally resembles. Add in the possible fact that you could have been walking around the house this whole time with your sister dead in the attic the whole time, and it's a bone-chilling moment that sends you sprinting to the answers.
I just don't think the story justifies the gameplay. It's not interesting enough. As others have pointed out, the puzzles in this game are extremely lacking (they are petty much non-existent). So the the point and click style just becomes about solely moving the narrative forward. And that's fine. But ultimately at the point that I knew what the plot was, and the story itself stopped caring to continue the illusion something deeper was going on, I just thought it was a boring/trudge to the end.

I think something like Gone Home would be much better with VR. Although even in VR, it's still lacking good puzzles. But I think this visual/narrative would work much better. As a mouse and keyboard game, it just wasn't cutting it for me. And honestly, I found the whole
riot grrrl and most of the 90s stuff to be very cliche. I really connected with Samantha and Lonnie at very basic human level. But thought they were extremely cliche in their characteristic.

I do however, appreciate you taking the time to reply why you think it's a good game. I think your view points are very valid. I wish I shared the same views, but ultimately it's not how I felt about this game after completing it. And to be clear, I'm not against point and click games like this. I'm not even against visual novel style games being considered games. But Gone Home to me, left me feeling sour. As a package, I just walked away not feeling satisfied.
 

akidnamededdy

Banned
Dec 6, 2011
6,854
1
0
That's not really what the story is at all and there's more to storytelling than plot. If you don't like the game that's fine, but it seems more like you didn't quite understand it.
There's like at least 3-4 separate plot threads in the game. And that the one you're talking about is a good deal more than "acknowledging the existence of
lesbians
."
It plays upon the player's expectations of what the experience is going to be. It's leveraging the rise in popularity of PC horror games like Amnesia & Slender, emulates those mechanics to establish a tone - then bases a narrative twist off of your expectations.

I think the biggest shame about Gone Home, and why critics are more keen to it than fans, is that expectation is absolutely everything. Most gamers had Gone Home spoiled for them in the first week of release. If you go into it thinking "I've heard about this, it's a lesbian teen love story." - the game isn't able to build those expectations. However, if you go in blind - you become transfixed into the bluff.
Ehhh. To be fair I did have that aspect of the plot spoiled for me before I played it. Expectations going in blind are probably a big part of the experience. Still, that plot point seems to be what fans and critics latch on to when they talk about the game's "progressive" nature--don't really see many people mentioning the
parents' troubled marriage
plot, for example.
 

NoirVisage

Banned
Sep 12, 2011
6,750
0
0
Given that one of the options you're presented with when you start the game is to get rid of the flickering lights and I believe tone down any kind of spooky music cues, I think it's fairly evident you're not going to be getting a game like Outlast or Slenderman or whatever and the developers aren't trying to mislead you to enhance the payoff of what you do get.
Not. Single let's player who saw those options came to that conclusion, they varied, but none thought
there would be absolutely no threat.
 

GamingIsDead

Member
Nov 5, 2013
595
0
0
Southern States.
A visual novel shouldn't be getting a goty award on gaming related website. It's a sad day to see that only the visual novels getting all the attention like the walking dead, wolf among us or beyond 2 souls, gone home when the rest of the real proper adventure games continue to be ignored.
 

NoirVisage

Banned
Sep 12, 2011
6,750
0
0
A visual novel shouldn't be getting a goty award on gaming related website. It's a sad day to see that only the visual novels getting all the attention like the walking dead, wolf among us or beyond 2 souls, gone home when the rest of the real proper adventure games continue to be ignored.
Everything from your av to your username to your statement just fits.
 

LordJim

Member
Apr 12, 2013
1,820
0
0
A visual novel shouldn't be getting a goty award on gaming related website. It's a sad day to see that only the visual novels getting all the attention like the walking dead, wolf among us or beyond 2 souls, gone home when the rest of the real proper adventure games continue to be ignored.
Most sites liked the new phoenix wright, didn't they?
Aside from silly comments like 'too much reading' from IGN