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YMMV / The Stanley Parable

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: There's quite a few for the Narrator in particular, as he behaves rather differently depending on Stanley's actions. Sometimes (as in the Confusion and Zendom endings), he seems to genuinely be on Stanley's side, while in others (like the Phone and Explosion endings) he acts as an antagonist, and in still others (like the Freedom or Insane endings), he has no direct interactions with Stanley at all and simply lives up to his namesake as the storyteller. It's rather telling that the narrator is at his most antagonistic when Stanley is either deliberately ignoring his directions (Phone ending) or trying to hijack the story (Explosion ending), while obeying the narrator generally results in favourable treatment. The one exception seems to be the Confusion ending, where, despite disobeying the narrator multiple times, before the first reset at least, he's very approving and favourable of Stanley. Is he an Omnipotent Jerk who delights in manipulating Stanley? A control-freak who cannot stand dissent? A creator who is trying to show off something he is excited about creating only to (potentially) be thwarted by an uncooperative partner who seems to be causing havoc For the Lulz? Such interpretation is largely left up to the player.
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  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The Freedom ending can be seen as an proposital example of this. Despite the ending title and Stanley getting free in the story, you can only get this ending by following all of The Narrator's orders. The last line from The Narrator is "Stanley was happy", but considering how unreliable he is, this is probably what he want Stanley to feel for his story, not how he is actually feeling. Moreover, there's also the fact that, like all the other endings, it takes you right back to beginning of the game.
  • Good Bad Bugs: The black "monolith" that initially appeared in during the Essence of Divine Art's message (which several people thought was a Shout-Out to the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey) is actually the puppy's door in the Baby Game not disappearing properly. When it was finally patched three years later since it covered some of the text, many players were surprised, thinking the "monolith" was the Divine Art.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
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    • A game about keeping a baby from killing themselves? Surely that could never be made for real.
    • An adventure game with online elements showing you how other players have played the game and what choices they made sounds ridiculous, but about a year later Telltale Games starting doing that with some of its episodic adventure games, like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Narrator, depending on which ending you get. The Confusion ending implies that he's not really in control at all and is just as controlled and trapped as Stanley.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • EIGHT! Explanation 
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    • OH, DID U GET THE BROOM CLOSET ENDING? THEB ROOM CLOSET ENDING WAS MY FAVRITE!1 XD Explanation 
      • I find this concerning. Explanation 
    • Stanley, this fern will be very important later in the story. Make sure you study it closely, and remember it carefully. You won't want to miss anything. Explanation 
    • Before he had even began to realize it, Stanley started to narrate in the style of the game.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Narrator is at his most villainous in two instances where he definitely crossed the line:
    • One instance where he crosses it is the Pawn ending, where he railroads Stanley into a nightmarishly depressing, psychologically abusive power trip. It starts with him tempting Stanley with the chance to see his loving wife, only to tell him that he has no wife, and that nobody loves him, and then it just keeps getting worse from there.
    • Another moment is when Stanley attempts to turn on the mind control facility only for the narrator to decide to trigger it into a nuclear explosion instead, repeatedly taunting Stanley as if there is a solution, even extending the duration just to taunt you even further. He outright admits he’s being sadistic near the end.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • While the introductory dialogue by the Narrator generally stays the same, with him commenting on the disappearance of Stanley's coworkers, there is a random chance that a different dialogue will play, catching many players off guard. One particularly notable line preys on the Nothing Is Scarier factor of the game:
    Narrator: Someone was following Stanley. He was sure of it. If he checked over his shoulder now, he would shortly catch them. It was only a matter of time.
    • By the same vein as the above, when wandering in the main office area, there is a small chance that the player can spot another person walking by, in a game with no other characters, when passing room 425. Because the model is actually the same one as Stanley's, it's implied that this may be another version of Stanley who is taking a different path in the game and existing concurrently with the playable one.
  • That One Achievement: The HD version goes to town on parodying this. The top three "impossible" achievements require you to spend an entire Tuesday playing the game, to not play the game for five years, and the final one is completely impossible to get. The first two can be acquired by adjusting your computer's date and time settings, the third seems to be handed out at random, if YouTube evidence is to be believednote .
    • The "Art" ending basically requires a script to get. You have to "play" the Baby Game for four hours. That is four literal hours of pressing a button over and over again to stop a baby from walking into a fire. And then to make matters worse, two hours into it, he adds a second button a bit away that stops a puppy from being lowered into a bucket of piranhas. So for the rest of the two hours, you have to run back and forth pressing both buttons with very little time to spare. Really, it isn't feasible unless you have a program to do it for you.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity:
    • Happens in the original mod if you get off of the elevator between the time when you push the button and when the elevator doors close.
    • You can get stuck in the Portal room, just like the Portal game. Unlike in Portal, the Narrator chastises you for doing so, making it also (a rare case of) Unwinnable by Design.
    • During the "Real Person" ending, you can jump out of the moving platform before the door closes, at which point there's no way to continue the story - one of the few rare cases of when Developers' Foresight does not apply. You do get a chance to closely examine the ground level of the storage room though, since the fall doesn't kill you this time.
    • In the monitor room in the HD Remix, it's possible to step onto one of the desks and jump off into the abyss. The game has no programmed response for that, and you simply stand at the bottom with no way out.
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