Gone Home review - difficult video game cases
GTA V impressed a lot of people - I'm one of them and gave the game the maximum rating. But not only the work of the Rockstar studio has received impressive reviews recently. Similar praises were addressed to a completely different production: Gone Home . The title of The Fullbright Company studio is something like an adventure game, similar in genre to such games as Dear Esther or Proteus , and thus giving up classic gameplay in favor of exploration. Gone Home gained fame also due to the unusual theme in games - a moral story about an ordinary girl.
We decided to come back to this proposal to see if Gone Home is indeed making a revolution in narrative and is a bold direction for games .
Gone Home begins on the porch of an American house that, as it quickly turns out, has been abandoned by its residents. In the game, we play the role of Katie Greenbriar, a girl returning to her family after her trip to Europe. We immediately discover that something is wrong - a note from her sister Sam hangs on the door, containing an enigmatic and clearly hastily sketched message. Where are Katie's relatives? The answer to this is provided by letters, documents, postcards and journal fragments discovered in subsequent rooms. From the gameplay side, Gone Home is something like a book whose chapters are scattered around the area . As items can be picked up, turned, and then dropped, after completing the game, the Greenbriar house looks like it has been broken into - there are rubbish thrown out everywhere. Until it begs a joke that in the Gone Home sequel we will have to clean up all this mess.
Gone Home positively surprised me with the presence of a few elements of typical adventure games . I was concerned that the game would only handle empty spaces and readable messages. Meanwhile, in the production of The Fullbright Company studio, we have a substitute for looking for clues, passages and keys. A substitute, because the whole thing can be completed in just an hour or two. In such a short time, I managed to catch the moments of weariness with the narrative used. Discovering secrets in private letters is fun the first time, the second, even the fifth. However, with the fifteenth sheet, you only think about getting to the end and having this "interactive experience" behind you .
More extensive contact with the world abandoned by people, i.e. the ability to open doors and cabinets, is important in that it helps to create the impression of crossing the privacy threshold. And that's what The Fullbright Company production is all about - it's an intimate journey into the world of your own family's secrets. In that sense, Gone Home has great moments, such as the scene where the heroine refuses to complete one of the notes left by her sister . Why? Because she describes her first sexual experiences in it. I have some doubts about the construction of the narrative, because the relationship between us, the protagonist and the other characters (who is spying on whom?) Is very complex. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that this title does indeed directly address a few topics absent from the gaming world.
What exactly do we learn about the Greenbriar state? Be warned that there is no need to do without minor spoilers . Let's start with the fact that nothing too unusual happened in this family, which is already of some value. There is no question of paranormal phenomena or monsters here. Gone Home talks about fairly down-to-earth things that most of us know from autopsy . So we have a father, an unfulfilled writer obsessed with a certain historical event, who earns money by piecing together boring equipment reviews. There is a mother who is probably responding to her husband's coldness in someone else's arms. And the aforementioned Sam, a younger sister who fights for her happiness in the world of social norms and ideologies that define the framework of correct behavior.
The game does not try to force these threads. We learn about the overarching story of ourselves in a linear way. The rest, explaining, for example, why the parents are not at home and where they really went, we have to find out for ourselves . Here, Gone Home gives only hints and leaves room for interpretation. I'm talking about it because the game has some mysteries and understatements. The darkest one has to do with Oscar, Mr. Greenbriar's uncle, who once owned the house that was the scene. Oscar has done something wrong in the past, and although it is never explained outright, you can guess what's going on.
Sam remains the main character, and her topic is her relationship with her friend Lonnie and the rest of her peers. In short, Sam disagrees with certain preconceived norms and looks for his own way. The game takes up issues that are not often present in games, e.g. feminism or, to some extent, the fight against patriarchy. I reassure you that Gone Home does not have the hallmarks of a manifesto . This is a light approach to both topics that shouldn't scare anyone away. The authors focus on telling a personal story. First of all, we read Sam's emotions and accompany her in overcoming her fear of rejecting the then unjust and artificial social norms. I would be lying if I wrote that I did not support her or that I did not care about her fate. Gone Home bought me, although not one hundred percent .
Doubts about the story boil down to the fact that, unfortunately, it is infantile . I can understand this because we are finally reading the story outlined by a teenager from the perspective of her little older sister. It is hard to expect any exaggerated excesses or strong scenes straight from the novels of Philippe Besson. Sam's story, however, quickly shows features of something we already know and which has been reworked dozens of times by pop culture. Gone Home varies between a truly poignant story and the emotionality of the golden years of Ich Troje. "Not the worst, but still" family-like "melodrama, the thought came back to me often . Perhaps the point is that the story serves something like a happy ending, it does not deprive you of hope that it will get better. It made me wonder if The Fullbright Company was simply about a teenage rebellion and running away from home.