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04/27/2018 22:48:14 •••

The Worst Part of Hating This Game Is the Other People Hating It.

Let's get this out of the way right now: Gone Home is not a bad game because whir's da guns? Whir's da fightan?! Every game doesn't have to be an action game.

It is not a bad game because of its relative brevity. Plenty of shorter games can be good and memorable enough to justify their existence.

It isn't a bad game because it tries to be story-driven and tell a story about young queer love. I personally have no real interest in young queer love, but they don't have to make a game for me, personally, and story's as good a way to drive a game as any.

And, of course, it is a video game. Trying to pretend it isn't just shows how little you care about your argument, and your willingness to use "not really a game!" as shorthand for "game I don't like!"

Gone Home is a bad game because it relies on three things, and two of them don't work: characterization, romantic storytelling, and nostalgia bombing.

I was a kindergartner in 1995. I am firmly a child of the late 90's-early 00's, and I didn't grow up when this game takes place. All the cute little nods, the lovingly-crafted snapshots of a world so like our own and yet so different... it was doubtless mind-blowing for people who grew up then. But, even forewarned and forearmed, it just doesn't work for me. Even if the joke has been explained to you, you just won't find it funny.

Second, the romance. What can I say about it that hasn't already been said? The YMMV page has got plenty of examples. I just don't buy it. Maybe it'd be different if I were gay or heavily-invested in homosexual acceptance, but I'm not. To me, it's just a generic teenage love story about how parents just don't understand, and even there the game undermines itself by making the party we're supposed to root for into a couple of impulsive thieves.

I can't deny that the characterization is the best part of the game, and the well-drawn inhabitants of the house really do hit you pretty hard. But the rest of the game just doesn't work for me.

If you want to try it, you probably already have. Maybe you liked it more than I do. I just hope that you remember that everyone who hates this game isn't a pack of rageaholic shitheads whose opinions you can dismiss out of hand.

04/22/2015 00:00:00

I like this review a lot, because it moves the conversation onto the important things. After all the argument about whether a painting without a canvas is still a painting, it's nice to have someone actually talk about whether it looks good or not.

04/22/2015 00:00:00

SPOILER

I strongly disliked the ending, because when you think about it for five seconds, it's about a girl who ditches many great academic opportunities all in favour of a teen romance that'll fizzle in a year or two.

I'm okay otherwise with the rest of the game but it's not a patch on the same company's Minerva's Den. That DLC was a masterpiece of emotional storytelling.

10/31/2016 00:00:00

The ending pretty much violates all the themes of the rest of the story, which is why it doesn\'t work. It completely throws out Lonnie\'s characterization, and is not really a happy ending, but the game THINKS it is a happy ending for some reason.

That said, I think that suggesting that it isn\'t actually a game isn\'t exactly wrong; Dear Esther is not a video game, and while this is more game-like than Dear Esther, this is still only dubiously a video game. I\'d really call it a story with game-like elements; people looking for actual gameplay are apt to be disappointed.

04/14/2018 00:00:00

I don\'t know if you\'re \"supposed\" to root for Sam\'s decisions, particularly the implied theft of the electronics, since the only comments on Sam and Lonnie\'s relationship come from her parents, who apparently disapprove. If we were \"supposed\" to root for them, Katie would probably remark to herself, \"Yeah, Sam, I think you and Lonnie are a great couple, and I don\'t get why Mom and Dad don\'t see that.\" The way the game tells its story doesn\'t really offer any judgment on the characters or their actions- just hints about how they perceive others and others perceive them.

That said, after reading Sam\'s diary entries, I could understand how emotionally invested she was in Lonnie, and how, after spending days grappling with the despair of probably never seeing Lonnie again, Sam would drop everything and come find her after hearing that Lonnie wants to be with her. It may not be the right decision, but it\'s the choice Sam thinks will make her happy, so it\'s perhaps similar to her mother\'s affair with her coworker in those regards.

Overall, though, while I don\'t fully agree with this review, I find it much more reasonable than most of those written by other people who don\'t like the game.

04/27/2018 00:00:00

I agree with most of what you said, but the game\'s length is an actual issue... or moreover, the games length compared to it\'s price. The devs expect you to pay $20 for a game that is only a few hours, at most- it doesn\'t necessarily matter how good the game is if it just isn\'t economical to buy it.


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