Gone Home

With the sheer amount of indie games on Steam it requires significant momentum for one of them to stand out and grab the attention of the media. Released in August by developer The Fullbright Company, Gone Home was able to do just that.

It tells the story of a daughter returning home from Europe to find her family home empty. Only by reading notes around the house is she able to determine where everyone is. In turn these notes trigger audio samples that deliver the primary narrative from the perspective of her sister. Unfortunately to obtain these samples there is no need for exploring, there are no puzzles, there are no choices, no critical thinking is required – the entire time you simply move from point A to point B and listen to the dialogue. Certainly at the start of the game you have the whole house to explore, but once you start finding relevant clues they lead you directly to your next point of interest. As a result I find it difficult to even call the overall experience a ‘game’. Rather an interactive short story.

Which makes we wonder how Valve even had the audacity to price this game at $19.99. That isn’t to say that value should directly relate to experience, but there must be some substance and the substance here just isn’t enough. I feel that pricing it under $5 would not only justify the experience, it would also encourage a much wider audience to enjoy the piece.

The highlight of the game is the story telling – a stale cliché in the world of video games. All too often we’re spun the same, tired tales that start to leave you unreceptive. With Gone Home however we are presented with a refreshing narrative, rich with realism. Enhanced by some excellent voice acting it makes for a captivating experience. Aside from the main story arc, certain notes around the house will give you an insight inside other family members, but they leave more questions than answers.

Mechanically I also felt that the game was awkward, and graphically it looked dated. However if you focus on the positives in Gone Home, you can really see that The Fullbright Company had some great ideas. If they could transfer this approach to an actual game with substance, then I’m confident that it would have some real potential.

{Game} Gone Home

{Plus} – voice acting – compelling and realistic storyline

{Minus} – too short – characters not fully realized – awkward controls – dated graphics

{Overall Rating} 0

{Player Comparison} Ville Leino (Buffalo Sabres). He was supposed to be good and he just…isn’t.

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