|By date||Most helpful reviews||By my score||By metascore||By user score|
Average User Score: 5.4Aug 22, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Gone Home is a video game that is triumphs in tapping into the one thing we all seem to share an imagination gone wild in the face of uncertainity. It's an experience all of us likely had at some point in our lives you're home, alone, with the sounds of a creaky house settling, maybe with or without a nasty storm outside. Any sound, any shadow evokes a response of fear when, in reality, the logical side of your brain knows there is nothing there. Gone Home takes all of that and wraps it up into one fantastic package.
The setting of Gone Home immediately forces gamers back into that lonely situation just described. The raging storm coupled with a creaky old house that is immediately dubbed the "psycho house" immediately forces our minds to jump to the wildest of conclusions, much like any time you were home alone as a kid. Also, the fact that you're playing a video game certainly helps, as there are very few games that do not have some sort of fantastical moment associated with them.
And despite pouring everything on with the setting and entertainment medium, the developers keep trying to convey the same message over and over again: you're letting your imagination run wild, and there is typically a perfectly good explanation for everything. The bathtub is the perfect example of this. Who didn't see that and immediately think "Oh there it is! There's the first clue to this murder mystery!" when all it was was a hair dye job gone awry? And then there is the parent's messy room. You probably thought "Oh! They had to hurry out of here! See! Something nuts happened!" when, really, they're probably just lazy slobs. (How else can you explain a family who still has moving boxes in their entry hallway nine months after moving in?) Then we start seeing things about a possible affair, leading to "OF COURSE! THE DAD MURDERED THE MOM!" when of course they're just gone for the weekend. By this point, if you believed any of the occult stuff was going to go anywhere, well, I don't know what to tell you.
Of course, all of this doesn't really feel clear until making it to the attic. Personally, my heart was pounding as I raced to the attic, expecting full well to see something horrific b/c, well, it's a video game. Then, nothing. And it all made sense at that point. Of course! I let my imagination run wild! We all did! This game might as well have been called "Occam's Razor."
All the while, learning about the four family members is a fascinating character study that all of us can likely relate to personally. I would say all of us have experienced feelings of sibling jealously, not understanding our parents/kids, work frustration, relationship frustration, or living up to impossible expectations. This could be an entire other story.
Judging this game by the graphics or gameplay is, frankly, unfair. It shouldn't even be part of the grading scale on a game like this. Movie and music reviewers have had to learn this in the past, and video game reviewers are just starting to scratch the surface of it. When I evaluate a game, I ask myself "Did the developer achieve their goal? And was their goal one worth striving for?" In the case of Gone Home, I say yes.
Gone Home takes some of our most base expectations of the world around us and the video game medium and shines a light on them in a way most of us have never experienced. Sometimes, the simplest answer is the correct answer. No, that creaky floorboard isn't a murderer who crawled through the window. Stop letting your imagination get the best of you.… Expand