Today I played “Gone Home” the player directed investigative game by the Fullbright Company. Before I started playing, I had no idea if it would be accessible to me. I had no idea what the plot was like, if it was a horror game or something else.
I knew nothing except that everyone I trust seems to fucking love it.
Well. Now so do I.
This is one of the most accessible video games I have ever played in my life, so I first want to say thank you to the creators, because I was able to play a relatively creepy game, and actually be able to ENJOY it rather than get frustrated.
I could read every single note, I could figure out where things were hiding, I was almost never in the dark, because I could turn on the lights. Zoom features allowed me to investigate things closely, and understand what they were.
In other words, both in visual and hearing issues it was perfect.
On top of that, unlike many games, nothing jumped out at me from the dark. There are no cheap jump scares, nothing that forces me to jump backwards in my chair terrifying both me and the cat. You see, even with my reading glasses I tend to sit with my face relatively close to the screen – maybe not so good for my single eyeball, but that’s just the way it is.
Game & Story:
This game is BEAUTIFUL. It is intimate, and at times creepy, the plot is written in such a way that you’re never quite sure what kind of game it is – and yes, it is a game. It is a game about learning about home. It is a game about finding out what has happened in your family since you’ve been gone. It’s a story everyone can relate to on one level or another.
The thing is, I can’t really tell you that much about the story, because I want you to find it out for yourself. But I found myself laughing, I found myself crying. I found myself nervous about what would lie around the next corner.
Oh yeah, and I played the whole thing in ONE afternoon. I couldn’t stop playing. I didn’t want it to stop. I wanted to learn more and more and more. There’s still one or two things which I couldn’t figure out (and I want to!) so I definitely will replay.
The fact is, even if you’ve found everything, even if you’ve read every note, picked up every object and been in every room, there is replay value, because the experience is exactly like going home. Even if it’s familiar, you’re still learning. What I truly appreciated about this game is that it says a lot about famillial relationships, and it says a lot about relationships period. It lets us ruminate upon basic human interactions in a way which I never have seen a game do before.
The last thing I will say about Gone Home (besides that you should go buy it RIGHT THE HELL NOW) is that it reminded me very much of the experience of Sleep No More, the interactive theatrical production by Punchdrunk based upon Rebecca and Macbeth.
Even when you’re surrounded by people at Sleep No More, it still feels like this game. You are alone. And you are curious.
Gone Home is an incredible artistic experience. It is a beautiful story of family, and it is a creepy investigation. It is sad, funny, and delightful.
5 stars, for sure.
Go home, and play.