I have no idea how to classify this growing genre. I’ve started just labeling them “Interactive Narratives”, which gets the point across while sounding nice and pseudo-intellectual.
So, Gone Home is an “Interactive Narrative” game, which consists of you, as 20-year-old Katie, meandering through your not!childhood home after a year abroad. But as it’s 1995, none of your family had a Facebook page to let you know what the bloody hell went on during your European adventures. Spoilers: Family Drama! Weeeeeee!
To say more would spoil it. Gone Home is entirely
reliant on its plot and how invested you become in uncovering all the mundane (ie. in comparison of what games are usually about) snippets of your family’s life.
It’s unavoidably going to be compared to Dear Esther
, due to the lack of any real gameplay (other than choosing which direction to go) and the portioned out story. Gone Home
has more control and interactivity, sure, but it’s not an unreasonable comparison. To whit – I really liked Dear Esther
, and I really
liked Gone Home
And like Dear Esther
, I can see players splitting themselves down the middle - CoD players
” vs “Pretentious twats
”, which is a shame but hey, Internet. Still, as a pretentious Co D
-playing twat, I find myself thoroughly confused. Some of my best friends whose opinion I greatly respect would sooner drive a steak-knife into their goolies than sit through Gone Home
, while I’m looking forward to a replay. Odd to get yourself wound-up over it.
There are a few other items I have seen some take issue with – the price, for starters. $20.00 for, at most, 3 hours of gameplay (1.5 seems to be the average. I’m a dawdler) might be too much for some. There’s the aforementioned straddling the line between “game” and “movie with arrow buttons”. Also – there’s no twist, otherwordly or otherwise. Sorry. Apparently some were expecting to find Jacob Marley in the attic.
So in summary: I liked it a heck of a lot. You may not though. It’s that kind of game. I could go on, but I’ve just learnt how short 400 words really is.
NB. I should also mention I've no real personal experience with the elements of Sam’s story, Gone Home’s main hook, so I’m in no position to really judge it critically. I, for one, just found it to be a good, sweet story told exceptionally well.