These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Gone Home
Alternate Character Interpretation: Do Terry and Jan disapprove of Sam and Lonnie's relationship more because they don't believe in lesbianism (as Sam's account of her talk with them indicates) or more because they're afraid Lonnie is a bad influence on her (as their letter to her indicates)?
Also, are they in denial because they see her lesbianism as wrong, or is it a reflexive reaction where they don't want to acknowledge the truth? After all, one can say "Not That There's Anything Wrong with That" but still feel poleaxed when a close friend or family member comes out as gay/bi/lesbian. And it crosses a social stigma with a Hormone-Addled Teenager who was apparently acting rebellious since the move - so in their minds, it would be far easier to label it as "just a phase" than accept her word as truth.
Of course, if you figured out what was going on with Uncle Oscar, Terry's disapproval of homosexuality does take on an uncomfortable new dimension. And it means that Oscar's managed to (indirectly) wreck the lives of three generations of his own family.
Audience-Alienating Premise: Creepy house, mysteriously ransacked, nobody home at 1:30, and someone's terrified sobbing on the voicemail begging for your younger sister to answer the phone. And it's a story about young queer love. Suffice it to say that the dissonance of the beginning has made more than a few angry.
Cliché Storm/Tastes Like Diabetes: The harshest criticisms to the game put it in this light. Many argue that if they had flipped the gender of one of the characters, but left everything else intact, the game would have been bashed as a generic teenager love story with an unhealthy message (running away with your loved one when you're only 18. See Family-Unfriendly Aesop below). The sexuality angle does have some relevance to the overarching plot, though, as Terry has a very good reason to be uncomfortable with homosexuality, especially in a family member.
Critical Dissonance: Reviewers have given it almost universally glowing reviews, but the reaction among players has been considerably more mixed. This is primarily due to the price ($20 for at most 3 hours of gameplay), but also because some players found fault with some elements of the story, as several entries on these pages indicate.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Sam stealing (a lot) from her family to fund her elopement with Lonnie. So... romantic love is worth sacrificing your morals and sabotaging your family's financial state? And for the same reason, Sam abandoning her literary scholarship — a gateway to her dream career.
Fridge Horror: Several. Most of it dependent upon how cynical you happen to be about the characters, their motivations and where they stand at the end of the game.
Unknown Dimension Publishing seems less like an independent bookseller and more of a force encouraging Terry's delusions and stopping him from growing as a writer.
It's heavily implied that to help her and Lonnie in their new life, Sam ransacked the house and stole everything she could pawn, like the electronics and even jewelry.
Sam is 17 but still junior in high school; Lonnie's age is unknown but she's a senior, so probably 18, possibly 19. This technically constitutes statutory rape under Oregon's consent laws and Terry and Jan could pursue a case against Lonnie.
Also, assuming Lonnie is 18+ and Sam is 17, you can add some sort of kidnapping charge that could be brought up against her. Add that to her being AWOL (because she skipped out on Boot Camp after enlisting).
So who's name is the car in? Sam's or her parents? Most parents, when buying a car for a teenager, are prone to put the car under the parent's name (and put the child under the parent's insurance) because it is simply cheaper to do so. What does this mean for Sam? It means that not only is she guilty of stealing several items from the home, but it also means that she committed a felony: Grand Theft Auto unless the car really was registered under her name.
A reverse Chekhov's Gun is the Panasonic Laserdisc player that Terry is in the middle of writing a review for. The box for the player is in the den next to the TV. But there's no laserdisc player anywhere in the house. What's up with that? If you put 2 and 2 together, it turns out that Sam stole it (among other things) on her way out in order to sell it to help finance her life with Lonnie. According to Terry's review, that player retails for $999.99. And it's not his. We have to assume that the family is going to need to come up with $999.99 to replace it or Terry's pay-the-bills job is in in deep shit. By the way, that's the same as $1488.11 in 2012 dollars. Maybe Katie's next yearlong trip will be to a part time job?
Glurge: Lonnie's initial coming onto Sam is reciprocated, but still uncomfortable for Sam. The ending is more severe though, with Lonnie and Sam running away to be together, but not before Sam steals all the electronics in the house. It's worth noting Sam hadn't graduated yet either and ran away from her creative writing course that she was excited to be in. All to pursue a teenage romance that could be just as prone to burning out after a time of fiery passion as straight teenage romances are.
Terry finally finds acceptance as a writer... from a bunch of thinly veiled Conspiracy Theorist types who are probably insane.
Hype Backlash: Sort of inevitable considering how many people gave it high or perfect scores.
Internet Backlash: Oh yeah. A number of topics of discussion on the game include it's very high reviews and whether or not it deserves them, incredibly short length and if it's justifiable, it's sudden and very jarring descent into same-sex love and whether or not it handles said topic well, and perhaps the most talked about of all- is it even a game?
It's Short, so It Sucks : Two to three hours tops if you explore everything. One person on /v/ beat it in less time then it took to make a Hot Pocket.
It Was His Sled: The gay romance plotline is fairly well-known by this point.
Some of Sam and Lonnie's more interesting characteristics, such as Sam's creative writing and Lonnie's anti-authoritarianism become overwhelmed by their relationship. In the words of some critics, they stop being people and are just girlfriends.
Some people argue that the topic of homosexuality isn't as explored as it could have been, since apart from a couple of audio entries, it barely affects the plot or the character development.
What an Idiot: Jan and Terry go on a vacation to try to repair their marriage, when they know their elder daughter is due home soon, leaving their younger daughter home alone with her girlfriend that they don't approve of, right when said girlfriend is supposed to ship out and leave their daughter, possibly forever.