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WMG / The Stanley Parable

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Stanley didn't turn off the mind control, he turned it on.
Think about it. You lose control of Stanley at this point, and the narrator seems to need to reaffirm that he is "making his own choices" a suspicious amount of times. Sounds like Suspiciously Specific Denial to me. And the path to there is all about following orders blindly.
  • Would that imply that the ending where he "turns on" the mind control is actually the narrator throwing a fit over the fact that it's been well and truly disabled?
    • Yes, yes it would.
    • Maybe 'Mind Control' actually means it gives people control over their own minds? The switches aren't flipped, the Narrator just misled Stanley about what the machine did. So turning it off is like turning off Free Will in The Sims. Now, the Narrator has complete control over his story.

Alternatively, you the player, has been using the mind control to control Stanley, and the reason you lose control is that Stanley has been released from your control.

1/3 - The Golden Ending is actually a good ending.
Because the narrator only acts as such. He's not Stanley's boss. He's the narrator. His aren't orders, they're more like hints. The story he wants to tell is that of Stanley's escape. Of course, Stanley has to cooperate, and the five bad endings are the result of Stan not doing so. The narrator is more like "trust me, only I know the way out" rather than "obey and you'll be free". Of course, the Fridge Horror of "without anyone to tell him how to feel, he was happy" remains (the sentence implies Stanley suffered for his entire life, faking his supposed happiness), but still, he has an opportunity to make his own, new life. Even if his past existence makes him unable to relate with other human beings at first, as soon as somebody notices it, he or she will help Stan with his issues eventually, and maybe his boss will get what he deserves.
And this leads us to the next WMG...
  • I love this theory. It turns it into a completely different deconstruction, and it makes sense. After all, what is the player but a force for chaos, death and cruelty in most games? Even here, if we just follow orders, Stanley gets to be happy. Our desire to explore, to see more of the game, to get the various endings, prolongs his suffering, and tortures him. But, if we just did as we were told, he'd be done and free. Imagine how it would feel to go through the most stressful part of your life over and over because some asshole was forcing you to, because they wanted to do it different ways, or they wanted to see it again, or most horrifying of all, they found it fun. The main ending is a happy ending, because Stanley is free. Not from The Narrator, but from us. From gamers. From being tortured for our fun. And that's how all games are. They're only free when we're done, and the longer we play, the more torture they go though. We lose control when turning off the mind control machine because the player is the mind controller. We are the monster forcing Stanley, and all game protagonists, through hell for our kicks.

2/3 - The bad endings aren't canon because...
... those were actually the fate suffered by everyone else in the building. The only one who escaped that fate was the one who deserved it the least: Stanley's boss.
Therefore, the narrator is...

3/3 - The narrator is Stanley's own mind.
Freeman's Mind jokes aside, well, yeah, it is. Because all the past years of Stan monitoring the other employees, their mistakes (see the previous "2/3" WMG) developed in Stan a strong common sense, eventually evolving into a voice in his head - the narrator. Said narrator told Stanley what to do in order to avoid the same mistakes made by the others, which is why the narrator calls Stan out on disobeying his instructions.Of course, playthroughs in which players go Off the Rails may be either be interpreted as a Violation of Common Sense or as Stanley simply forgetting what he learned by watching his former colleagues. Similarly, the narrator getting more and more upset (as well as the "room without textures", and everything that ensues) is a metaphor for Stanley going crazy due to his escape not going as planned.

Stanley proceeded to head home to his computer.
At which point, finding it impossible to entirely kick his habit of pressing buttons, he proceeded to dawdle on the internet rather than doing something useful with his time. Eventually, he ended up reading about himself, and, finally, decided to read theories regarding his experiences, ignoring that he clearly hadn't learned his lesson.

And Stanley was happy.

The HD Remix is actually a sequel.
The narrator mentions that he's going to "correct" the story in the trailers for it.

The whole game is about bullying and/or other forms of abuse.
Hey, Stanley was happy at his job that others would find "soul-ripping." The Narrator takes it upon himself to "help" Stanley, because he believes Stanley is being brainwashed and enslaved. If you disobey everything the Narrator says, a second narrator intervenes and calls the first one out, telling you that quitting the game entirely is the only way to beat the Narrator. She's right. However, disobeying the Narrator at any point will piss him off and trigger a HannibalLecture. The Narrator is supposed to be a godlike being who can warp reality for you, but in reality he's just a dick who is, in fact, brainwashing you. The "Golden Ending" is the result of your bending to his brainwashing and gaslighting, but you never find out just why your co-workers and boss are gone and what the machine is for. Stanley is only happy because the Narrator says he is, and the Narrator just bails on the story there. That's a blatant example of abuse and manipulation.
  • I just recently watched Jessica Jones and the British accent doesn't help me disagree.

The rooms in HD Remix will be mainly dev textures.
thisisthestoryofofof's videos feature rooms that have those textures. It could be possible that these are some sort of plot point and not... you know... dev things.

The new version of the Stanley Parable will, when begun, have a random chance of being a completely different yet oddly familiar game. The Narrator will completely flip out and beg the player to exit and try again.
The chances of this happening will be exactly one in

Stanley's been playing the "8 Game"
Among other things, since the game does involve pushing a button after all.

Stanley is Chilled Chaos
The Let's Play trailer zooms out to show that the monitor showing his gameplay is the same monitor as Employee 427.

The Narrator is the real Stanley, living in a fantasy world and descending into madness.
During the phone ending of the HD remix, we are shown the possibility that the entirety of the Stanley Parable and all paths (the fourth-wall-breaking ones included) are a figment of Stanley's imagination to escape his dead-end job and the prison of his unfree life by, for the first time, giving him choice. Therefore, it is entirely possible for the narrator to be Stanley telling this story to himself in his head, occasionally taunting his true self.

The Narrator is God and the Stanley Parable is a Real Parable
I'm surprised no one has thought of this: The Narrator is God, who has the power to manipulate the world and the people in it. Stanley is one of Gods "Playthings", and he wants to make a new Legendary Hero with Stanley. However, God, while he can be cruel sometimes, actually cares about the things he created, and gave Humans free will. In most of the bad endings, God doesn't realize that he's not necessary, and takes vengeance upon Stanley for doing the wrong thing. Sometimes another divine being intervenes and temporarily prevents God from hurting Stanley, though it is only temporary and Stanley ends up dying anyways. (Also, there are even beings more powerful then God if we take into account the "Confusion" ending in the HD Remake). But in the "True Good" ending, after showing Stanley a different world, and then Stanley escaping Gods clutches, God realizes that indeed he is not needed to intrude in everyone's life, and that he is willing to let Stanley live his life and be happy with the choices he has made, until God is needed again.

Thus, the moral of the story is: Humans have free will, and if they don't, they will try their hardest to get it, even if it's simply a false sense of freedom. Not only is that the moral, but it has another moral: That God, while he might be cruel, vengeful and (Sometimes downright) wrong, he still cares about you, and that while you might stray from his path, he doesn't hate you for it, and, in fact, encourages you to stray from his path. Thus, the Stanley Parable is a Parable.

  • It seems fairly clear to me that he DOES hate you. The constant mockery and generally bad result of straying off the path makes it obvious that showing free will is wrong in his eyes and that he's petty, manipulative and cruel. The "True Good" ending has you falling into another version of the world you start in after the narrator gets sick of you, a pretty apt metaphor for hell.
  • I think this theory has some real legs. The default response among apologists for the Christian god as to why evil exists in the world, if God is supposedly omnipotent and omnibenevolent, is that God granted us free will, including the freedom to do evil. This leads to problems, however, if most denominations of Christianity also hold that God will send a person to Hell if they do not a) accept Him as their saviour and b) act in keeping with his teachings. So we have free will, but it's really a Morton's Fork. This is rather in keeping with Stanley's relationship with the Narrator: he has "free will", but only insofar as he accepts that the Narrator is a benevolent force and does what he is told - whenever he veers off the path, the Narrator generally turns into the vengeful God of the Old Testament and punishes him. So the game could certainly be read as a critique of some of the more problematic aspects of Christian dogma.

The Female Narrator is the Narrator's Narrator.
Her opening line describes what the Narrator says, so it's a reasonable conclusion.
  • What if she's the one who wrote the "Confusion" ending?

The real reason Stanley's coworkers are gone is...
  • They never existed in the first place.
  • The mind control malfunctioned. They were all still there, but he couldn't see them.
  • It was Saturday.
  • The mind control worked perfectly: Employee 427 was the only employee. Well, "employee" might not be the correct word, maybe lab rat...
Please note that the Countdown ending in HD Remix has this rather interesting quote:
What's that? You'd like to know where your co-workers are? A moment of solace before you're obliterated? Alright. I'm in a good mood, and you're going to die anyway. I'll tell you exactly what happened to them: I erased them. I turned off the machine; I set you free.

1/2 The Stanley Parable takes place in-
  • the Aperture Science complex but in a different set of test chambers, probably testing mind control and breakage of the fourth wall.
  • Leading us to the conclusion that...

2/2 The narrator is actually-
  • GLaDOS using a program which changes her voice. The Stanley Parable probably took place before she flooded the entire complex with neurotoxin, when test subjects other than Chell were actively testing (they were either killed or in stasis in the events of Portal).

The Confusion ending is caused by the Narrator misplacing the papers with his written story on it, combined with interference from a nearby hoodlum.
  • After going down the maintenance elevator, the Narrator desperately attempts to point Stanley back in the right direction, but as he does so, he rummages through the papers with the written story on it, as we can hear him rustling through the papers. As a result, after he restarts the story from the beginning, he discovers that two doors room now has many doors leading into a winding labyrinth, possibly because he misplaced the story papers while rummaging through them. With each restart, he tries to put the papers back in the correct order again during the loading screens, but ends up to no success, possibly due to a hoodlum interfering and slipping pages of his own into the story, such as the run down building, The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™, and the schedule board, until the Narrator discovers such schedule board and the hoodlum makes a break for in, finally returning the story to normal.

The Narrator and Stanley are part of a group of friends.
  • The Narrator is a god-like being, but instead of using his power to do godly things, he hangs out with a group of friends and goofs around and creates games to play with them. One such game is called The Stanley Parable. The events of the game are also just a game in-universe. The Narrator changes up the office to keep the game fresh and provides multiple endings since there are so many paths to go down. It's all just a game and none of it it serious, since the Narrator can just reset. All of the Narrator's emotions are just him playing his role well, and the Female Narrator is another person in the group of friends, while the Confusion Ending is another friend trying to create their own ending in the game. The only time the Narrator is serious is when you cheat and get locked in the Serious Room. While the Narrator and Stanley tease and joke around, they're just good friends. And all of them like to tease their game-reviewing friend, Raphael, even more.

The Narrator is the Stanley from the Phone ending.
When you try to leave the ending, he stops you in your tracks with the following line: "Sorry, but you're in my story now."

The Escape-Pod ending is a Hope Spot; the Narrator is toying with Stanley
Could this be why the ending "glitched out" then sent Stanley back in his office?

taking a look at the game files reveals a warning sign that says essentially "NARRATOR AND PLAYER MUST BE PRESENT TOGETHER FOR ESCAPE POD TO WORK". So the Game itself is toying with you.

The Narrator manages to beat the Confusion ending.
When you arrive at the screen for the Confusion ending, the Narrator realizes that he's as much of a pawn as Stanley. He sees that there's supposed to be more after the next reset of the game, which culminates in his disappearance and Stanley's death. He doesn't want that to happen, and determines to stop it. The game resets, and the Narrator forgets the previous events, but the game does not proceed according to the Confusion ending.

The Narrator is a Umineko Sorcerer.
And the world/story is his game board. He's taken to tormenting/trolling pieces directly, and then restarting the story each time the piece-character reaches an 'end'. Stanley is the piece of his 'opponent' in the metaworld, namely the player. The unseen 'supernarrator' who controls the narrator is a Creator Witch like Featherine who is basically the author to the narrator, who already knows all the possible ways for things to happen in the story because she 'wrote' the narrator 'narrating' the story to the Stanly-piece.

Heck, there's even a recurring theme about how much the narrator and 'Stanley' need one another, how the need to trust one another. After all, without love it cannot be seen.

The Real Person Ending is the true ending
Aside from the fact that this is the only ending where the credits roll, this is the only ending in which it can be considered that you defeated the Narrator. The player disobeys him to the point where the game breaks completely, leaving Stanley as a lifeless husk, thus depriving the Narrator of a story to narrate.

It is possible to stop the Countdown bomb from going off.
The Countdown ending isn't entirely unwinnable. True to the Narrator's word, none of the buttons in the room can stop the bomb, and escape is not possible. The true way to prevent the bomb from exploding? You have to press the OFF button instead of the ON button at the mind control machine.
  • Either that, or you just quit the game. Or even better, don't even start playing the game in the first place.

Stanley works for Aperture Science.
First off, who else but Aperture would have Stanley do the job he does? While they do work alongside rather advanced AI, is it really too difficult to imagine them having a human doing a job where all he has to do is push seemingly random buttons on a keyboard for reasons that remain unexplained?

Second, the signs on the wall, such as the "gravity is in effect" or the "do not lie" ones, seem (to me at least) like they would fit in perfectly with what goes on in Aperture Science. Things like the No OSHA Compliance going on with the cargo lift also fit in.

Third, you can get placed in the first chamber of Portal. If that happens, the only way to progress is by falling down into the elevator shaft, after which you land near the HL2 mod version of Stanley's office. The reason i consider this proof is because in-universe, it is the actual Aperture Science you get sent to, not just a copy of the map.

Lastly, the game is based on the Portal 2 build of the Source engine. This allows the game to automatically place portals to convey the non-euclidean spaces and other kinds of things, which it does. Whether it's the Narrator actually placing portals or the building is just an Eldritch Location, i have no idea, but those are actually portals.

The canon sequence of events is the Confusion ending, followed by the Madness ending.
Because that is the only sequence that explains everything you see happening. Stanley's frustrating, repetitive job causes him to descend into madness, so he first starts hallucinating that everybody has disappeared, then he starts hearing a voice in his head. At first he tries to prove that he is still in control, by disobeying the voice he hears (when in reality, he is just wandering aimlessly through the office building), then his nervous breakdown get worse. He starts getting deja-vus, where he hallucinates to find himself in increasingly distorted versions of his office and its surroundings, and at one point he even hears music in his head, as he hallucinates a pervasive yellow line painted on floors, ceilings and walls. Then, in a moment of semi-lucidity, he realizes that what he is perceiving is not reality. At first, he believes that he is experiencing a lucid dream, so he attempts to control his perceptions by conjuring up a starry expanse. He understands that he is not dreaming when he realizes that he is still feeling the walls and floor around himself. That is when he understands the truth: he has gone completely insane. At that moment he starts screaming, apparently running around an endless sequence of rooms. However, those are just a hallucination: he actually left the office building and is now running around in the street outside. Oblivious to his real surroundings and still believing to be inside an Eldritch Location that vaguely reminds him of his workplace, he is run over by a car and killed. One of his colleagues, Mariella, notices his body, but she does not stop because her work commitments are more important to her. The end.

The Narrator is Wheatley, and the Female Narrator is GLaDOS.
The Narrator obviously wants Stanley to follow his predetermined path, but seems to be incredibly incompetent at forcing him to do so — just as incompetent as Wheatley is at railroading Chell in Portal 2. It takes a while for him to even realize Stanley can make choices that go Off the Rails, and at some points, forgets his own script by messing up the papers, messes up level geometry, conjures up nonsense pseudo-philosophy in an attempt to look profound, and so on. In the Games ending, he tries to entertain Stanley with a "game" just as inept as his ridiculously easy test chamber in Portal 2, then accidentally drops him into Chell's test track. The Museum ending is the point when GLaDOS regains control of Aperture Science and decides she had enough, interrupting Stanley's test. (It also explains why the Female Narrator panics after Stanley gets back on the moving platform: she doesn't want to lose the only other human test subject she has besides Chell.)

Stanley cannot move on his own when (and because) the mind control machine is in effect.
The mind control machine compels Stanley to do one of two things: press the buttons, or sit and wait for instructions when there are no buttons to press. The player, who takes over Stanley's body at the beginning of the game, is the only reason he can move and act at all — which is what allows him to defy and disable the mind control machine as long as the player, controlling Stanley, follows the Narrator's instructions to the letter. The Freedom ending is thus the good ending, where Stanley regains free will and breaks out of everyone's control, including the player's. The Real Person ending is thus the ultimate bad ending, where the player loses control of Stanley but he doesn't regain free will, resulting in him being stuck forever in front of the two doors.

The Stanley Parable is a book.
The game is named for the novel it takes place in. The Narrator is the author, and you, the player, are not Stanley, but rather a being who controls him. The Narrator plans to have Stanley venture about the complex before switching off mind control and finding freedom; a happy ending. Your going Off the Rails is an editor or other party changing the story to better suit what they believe to be 'correct'. Should you irritate the Narrator enough, he outright murders Stanley, much how Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. Alternatively, he can give up trying to control the main character and leave him entirely to your control, relinquishing his original vision.

Stanley is in The Matrix or some other virtual reality.

The Player is controlling Employee 432, not Stanley.
There are only three times you see the Stanley model:

1. The Intro segment.2. The end of the Not Stanley ending.3. An easter egg where somebody passes by a window.

Since in the Not Stanley ending and the intro you aren't in control of Stanley, this means the only time you see Stanley during normal gameplay is when it's a different person.This means that it's probably someone else who you control. The only other notable Employee is 432, so he would be the most likely candidate. If we assume Employee 432 is the Player, he is a special case. This is why he is monitored so closely, and why he seemingly has free will even under mind control. We can also assume his name is Chris, since there is a note on a whiteboard that says "Get Chris out of the broom closet!", which is something the player can irritate the Narrator by doing.

Just as the Narrator's personality and motives change in each playthrough, the same is true of Stanley.
Through each different route taken by the player, a different side of the Narrator is shown and different motives are revealed. In some endings, he truly just wants to tell his story and is even friendly to Stanley (Confusion), while in others he displays a more sadistic personality and wants to kill Stanley no matter what (Futile). The same can be said of Stanley; some endings require that the player listen to the Narrator and follow his instructions (Freedom), while others require that he thwart the Narrator at every turn, even when he is being kind to Stanley (Stop Moving). Stanley himself is the one who desires to kill himself to spite the Narrator, or to accompany the Narrator on his journey with The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™; the player is simply guiding him through the choices he already wants to make.

The Narrator is Stanley's boss who made sure he was safe before he even started toying with Stanley.
This is how he knows everything, he has all the monitoring panels.

Stanley is in fact a younger Stan Pines.
After Stanley Pines got kicked out of his house, he worked for the company where he pushed buttons as Employee 427, escaped The Narrator, and then went on to build the Mystery Shack in Gravity Falls.

The Narrator feels bad for Stanley and his pathetically simple life.
He's watched Stanley for a long time and has felt bad that Stanley has devoted his life to his job. Not once has Stanley wanted to do anything with his life. One day, the Narrator decided that enough was enough and that Stanley should finally start living his life. He decided to give Stanley the choice to stop living under someone else's control.

The "Real Person" reveals that Stanley isn't a real human.
Stanley is designed to make the correct choice. When you start make the wrong choices (going through the right door, ignoring the door on the left and unplugging the phone), you start acting completely independent, which is something that Stanley is incapable of doing himself.

The Narrator is Employee 432.
Employee 432:
  • Doesn't have a computer to press buttons, but does have writing tools (and a lot of pencil sharpeners). Some creative work, perhaps?
  • Has a daily performance review and a corridor full of peer reviews—if not one for every single other employee, then close to it.
  • Gets ignored by 431 when asking for a pencil.
  • Is allowed to have unscheduled emotions, because they're "a special case".
  • Became a liability at some point (the whiteboard says "What to do about 432?"), and was eventually fired.

The Narrator:

  • Knows all the deepest, darkest secrets of the building, i.e. the mind control facility.
  • Has access to the building and all its locks and doors.
  • Has a quick temper, resorts to name-calling and petulant behaviour when angry.
  • Speaks in perfect deadpan sarcasm about the wonders of the employee lounge.
  • Talks ominously about "erasing" all the other employees in the Countdown ending.
  • Notably, is most actively malicious to Stanley in the Countdown and Pawn endings. In Countdown, Stanley chooses to turn on the mind-control (and by extension, stay with his soul-sucking, terrible job); in Pawn, the Narrator talks bitterly at length about how Stanley's life is miserable because he has nothing outside work. The endings where he's nicest to Stanley—Confusion, Freedom and Zending—involve Stanley leaving work behind, either literally or symbolically (going off on an adventure with the Line™, staying in the starry dome room).

Maybe the Narrator got plugged into the mind control mainframe, same as GLaDOS (with the same results). Maybe he happened upon it as an employee and was fired for knowing too much. But if the Narrator is employee 432, that gives Freedom all the more urgency and depth: he's trying to get Stanley out of a workplace that treated him miserably in the past.

Stanley is a dead rat

A building seemingly designed for Mind Screw that may or may not be an Eldritch Location? Check. A Deadpan Snarker Narrator? Check. Stanley ended up working at a company built by the same guy who built the school. Louis keeps up with all his former students, even dead rats, so when he found out about the mind control he took it upon himself to rescue Stanley. Unfortunately, the "Groundhog Day" Loop that the game is drove Louis insane a few times - that's why he's a jerk to Stanley in several endings.

The Stanley Parable Demo is not an actual demo of The Stanley Parable, but rather the sequel of the game.
The Narrator seemed to remember things that we don't, including neverending stairs, catwalks, and an escape elevator. And at the end of it all, the player character- aka. "Number 28", is sent to the exact same office in the Parable. What if the visions the Narrator had apparently seen, had been glimpses of the real ending of The Stanley Parable? What if the demo takes place after the Narrator had succeeded in escaping Stanley, and yet was still trapped in his own job of guiding others through the parable towards freedom?

You are controlling a human video game player, no one else is human, and everything takes place in the alternate universe of The Stanley Parable "Making-Of Trailer".
In the Let's Play trailer, the Narrator seemed to think of simple frustration the gamer expresses while playing The Stanley Parable, as something that is an extremely big deal, and we are sadistically laughing at a great misery. And in the Making-Of Trailer, the process of making video games was shown as something that is extreme and life-taking, with the whole world revolving around video gaming. The Stanley Parable always seems to take itself, and the other video games extremely seriously, and the Narrator is shown to not be able to entirely understand being human. What if that world, where video games are important enough for many people to throw their lives, is where the Narrator came from?

This is a test of two friends trying to do a modern-themed Dn D game.
Anyone who's D Med a game will know what I'm talking about, what with the narrator normally getting annoyed at Stanley's insistence on disobeying their orders to find out 'what's down here?' or 'what's in that room?'. That's why the Narrator is sometimes at a loss and needs to check his notes and storyline to try to point them in the right direction, and why he often gets angry at Stanley going off the rails because it interrupts the story he had spent time setting up specifically for that character. It comes to a head in the Explosion ending, because Stanley gets to the planned end... but then ruins it right at the last moment.

In The Ultra Deluxe, there will be secret pathways and/or endings that can be found by walking through specific walls.
In the demo, the Narrator did say that walls you can walk through were still in development... What if the development was complete in this upgraded version?

If the Stanley Parable is a book, the Stanley Parable Adventure Line™ is the yellow marker that lines the important pats of the Story.
...Which somehow got corrupted during the Confusion ending, for some reason.

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