Let me save you some time...IGN gave this game a 9.5...
There's your arbitrary number to put a value to an experience. If you're looking for a little more, then yay!!!!!! Start with the very short video below.
One day...like, way down the road, after we deal with real issues (world hunger, gender equality, SPACE!) Schools will hopefully implement a little thing called "required playing". Or "required gaming"? Or, "required...games...you...should play"? Whatever the term they coin; Gone Home will be at the top of that list. Bold statement I know, but bare with me for a second. Gone Home is not a difficult game, there are no enemies and the controls are fairly basic. Game accessibility is maybe the single greatest enemy to the movement of gamers who want their art form to be taken seriously, that and Panda Bears.
Arrrrggghh!! I hate them soooo much!!!
Gone Home works because it is an accessible, yet engaging game. This draw comes from the ability to come to your own conclusions. In any other game, you'll usually find some sort of reinforcement to the actions you take. It might be an NPC radioing in "Good job solider, you found the rogue militia!", the moment you come across a group of dead bodies. The problem with this over-used mechanic is: A. How the hell does he know? and B. I could have come to that conclusion, given the chance to look around. Gone home gives you that chance. The game gives you a setting and lets you go from there. There's no hub with objectives, no set up. Just you the player and a single question: Where is Everybody?
Even the pizza didn't want to stick around
I don't want to share too much, given that this is a 2 hour game (Six minutes, if you know what you're looking for), but I can tell you that I turned on every light in that house and even jumped out of my chair once; knowing full well that there were no enemies in the game. I laughed at some of the writing I found. I came to some horrifying revelations about the previous resident of the mansion (hint, look in the safe in the basement). Maybe most importantly, I learned who each of the residents were as people, simply by examining their things.
Notes like these give a soul to the unseen characters of Gone Home
Games like Gone Home reveal possibilities for all genres of games. What if you were actually allowed to do some archaeology in games like Tomb Raider, or Uncharted? What if you had to thoroughly examine crime scenes as Batman? On their own these aren't the most alluring mechanics, but implementing them into already polished action adventure games could add a new level of depth rather than the "hand holding" feel these games rely upon.
"Hey Phil! Looks like someone was wearing a gas mask!"
Gone Home is a beautiful use of a medium that is far too often limited to killing things. If you want a story driven completely by your curiosity and a home to explore that feels all too real, then break into people's houses while they're at work. If committing a felony is not your thing, play Gone Home. There's only a 7% chance you'll be arrested.
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About Jake Plisskenone of us since 10:47 PM on 09.03.2013
Oprah once said the following about me "Can you see? You should really get a hair cut."
...after that day I knew exactly what I wanted to be. A critic of all things Oprah...sadly the market for that sort of career is flooded by stay at home dads, who feel "Oprah" doesn't address the masculine aspect of embracing life. What a bunch wieners.