Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Gone Home

6:00 PM on 10.01.2013 // Dale North

Seriously, go home

I'm not out to start an academic debate on what makes a game a game, but I'd hope you'd at least agree that games don't need reflex-based mechanics to be entertaining. You won't need reflexes of any kind to enjoy Gone Home

Despite having no action, conflict, or even visible characters, Gone Home manages to be one of the most enjoyable and emotional gaming experiences I've had in 2013. Narrative wins out in a big way. 

Gone Home (PC)
Developer: The Fullbright Company
Publisher: The Fullbright Company
Released: August 15, 2013
MSRP: $19.99

Gone Home lets you uncover its story for yourself, at your own pace. But that's not to say that there's a lack of pacing; Gone Home has some of the best pacing I've ever experienced in a videogame. It's just that you have to find that pace first. 

In Gone Home you play as Kaitlin, a student returning home from world travels to see her family. Too bad nobody is home. Walking around your empty home, first-person exploration style, you'll find objects that uncover bits of your family's past. Scrawled memos, pictures, old pop quizzes from school, maps, worn magazines -- all would be mundane things you'd pay no attention to in any other game, but in Gone Home they're the sole focus.

But that's it as far as gameplay goes. You can walk around (don't bother putting your pinky on the shift button as there's no way to run), pick up objects, examine them, and put them down. No jumping or shooting, and certainly no loadouts or stats. Just walking, reading, and the occasional mix-tape listening.

What's neat about coming home to find that nobody's there is that it ties in beautifully with the story The Fullbright Company has set out to tell. At first, you're not going to have any idea what you're looking at when you find it. The game offers nothing in the way of introductions, and outside some found photographs, you'll never actually see your family members. Patience is required. You just have to continue to be curious, knowing that your exploration of the Greenbriar house will eventually pay off.  

If you have it, patience is paid off many times over. You could run through Gone Home and 'finish' it in an hour or a little more. But you'd probably miss out on a lot of the experience, and definitely miss out on the little details that make this world and story so interesting. You'd miss out on the strangely voyeuristic pull that has you digging through drawers and cupboards to find anything to pour over. You'd miss out on just how much care and detail they've packed into this world.

Those that have patience will uncover a nice love story through these objects, notes, and clues. These things you come across aren't necessarily photorealistic, but with the way they're laid out in this home they somehow feel real. Familiar. They gradually work to make you feel like you once lived and belonged in this home. 

Those with even more time will go back into the world again to find that every object they encountered the first time now has so much more meaning. They'll find that every note has new depth, and that there's even more of an underlying story behind the main one. In this way, Gone Home is just as rewarding as any game built around skill-based mechanics out there. 

Surprisingly, the game's story has little to do with the player. It's more about her sister, Samantha. I'd like to steer clear of details so that players can uncover them for themselves, but I will say that you'll see how Samantha grows up and falls in love. That said, you will learn a bit more about yourself as well as your parents. And you'll learn why no one is there when you return home from your world travels, too. 

For me, the icing on the cake is that Gone Home has so many calls and references to the 1990s. There are countless references to our childhoods in the game, assuming that you're about my age. Things you'll remember, like VHS tapes, SNES carts, used Playboy magazines, and more work alongside the excellent writing and dialogue to make you feel like you're experiencing something you should be remembering. I don't know if The Fullbright Company set out to do that, but if they did, I'll take my hat off to their work here. Even though I stopped playing Gone Home weeks ago, that familiar feeling I felt playing it still lingers. 

While Gone Home won me over, I don't think it's for everyone. Those who lack the aforementioned patience requirement will not enjoy having to look at every item in the house to uncover story elements and meet flag requirements. Likewise, those that would plow through a game to discover its story resolution are going to find Gone Home lacking as there really isn't one. Finally, gamers needing some kind of action in their games will not find it here.

Gone Home is incredibly short, and has no action to speak of. You'll never see a character's face, and you'll never earn a score on a leaderboard. No online, no multiplayer, no DLC. And in the end, the story isn't even as mysterious as it initially sounds to be. There's a couple of scares, a few laughs, and a fair bit of sexiness, but nothing in the way of conflict.

It's just a wonderfully crafted, well-paced story about a family. And that's really it. There's not much else out there like it. It may not sound like much on paper, but Gone Home had such an impact on me that I'll be thinking about this game for years to come. 



Gone Home - Reviewed by Dale North
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DaleNorth Tips
I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Gone Home

  Mar 06

Gone Home canceled for consoles

Majesco and Midnight City woes end relationship with Fullbright

  Dec 31

Humble Store Winter Sale Encore is on now

Guacamelee!, Monaco, Gone Home, and more

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

Thankful it's ov

Half - Life 3 FINALLY 100% confirmed...maybe.

Surprisingly... I'm *really* enjoying Fallout 4!!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

My Month in Games - November 2015

Cblogs of 11/28/15 - Lonely Thanksgiving, Gatchaman Crowds, and more

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Have you ever purchased a game only to regret it later and then sell it/give it away, only to even later regret selling it and wind up purchasing it again?
gajknight avatargajknight
A decadent staircase adorned in gold rises into infinite darkness. Writhing beings beyond comprehension lurk in the shadows, their mere presence encroaching on the edges of human understanding. A blood moon glows . I am losing my mind. I need more eyes...
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
We need to be implanted with microchips because I'd really like to know how much time I've spent playing different video games my entire life.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Today's agenda: job-hunting and startup of a second playthrough of either Phantom Dust or Front Mission 4. I can't decide. I'm on a sixth-gen kick.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If there are rainbows in Xenoblade Chronicles X, Reyn must be in it as well. You can't have a rainbow without Reyn, baby!
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I really hope Xenoblade become it's own franchise, it has way too much potential to simply being reduced to 2 games.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Touchable Holograms? When this eventually matures and hits market, almost all our regulars will vanish for weeks.
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Xenoblade Chronicles Wii for €10? Sure, Nintendo, don't mind if I do!
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Super Smash Bros. 4 has too much content. So much so I almost don't want a sequel. I honestly hope that NX gets a "Super Smash Bros. For NX" port rather than a new installment. It could be a GOTY edition and come with all of the DLC.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Flegma avatarFlegma
Bought my first full-priced physical 3DS game ever - New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward. I'll try to write a post on the previous game at some point before doing the same with NSB2.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
How do you guys manage to buy all these games at day 1 with such huge backlogs?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys if I were to do a thing, how many of you would watch my thing because I was thinking of doing a thing but I dunno if people really like that kinda thing so I just wanted to know if you liked that thing because I'm thinking of doing a thing, you know?
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Bayonetta 2 is 40% off in the EU Nintendo eShop today. If you have a WiiU and don't have this game you are a horrible person and I want nothing to do with you. You can amend your errors by buying it. Xenoblade Wii is also 50% off as well.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Protag shipping is best shipping. [img][/img]
El Dango avatarEl Dango
My dreams are really weird and scary, so I hope it's okay if I let them be dreams.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Finally played the last two Shantae games. Risky's Revenge wasn't bad, but Pirate's Curse was damn good.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Memo to self: spend your time cleaning before wasting ten or so hours on a cblog you'll end up just scrapping because you're incompetent and incapable of writing on the subject.
Is there an occupation out there for people who want to give up and not worry about shit for a while until they can recompose themselves before going back into society?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -