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Gone Home

January 4, 2014

I don’t often play video games because of the whole vertigo thing, but I asked for Gone Home for Christmas because 1) a friend with great taste mentioned it on Facebook, 2) it was on sale, and 3) it didn’t sound like the kind of game that would make me sick.

Also, I knew it was set in 1995, which is like one of my all-time favorite years thanks to the flannel*, and the great music that came out**, and that I finally got out of high school but hadn’t yet bombed at college the first time and gotten knocked up.

For future reference: Not used to playing games on a PC?  Don’t have a newer video card?  Yeah, dizziness WILL happen, probably no matter what the game, but there is a LOT of walking and looking around, which means moving moving moving.  So maybe it wasn’t the best choice, but I LOVED it.

My daughter sat on the couch and we FREAKED OURSELVES OUT through the whole thing.  It’s quite the mystery.  You are just returning to your family’s home, which is new to you because you were in Europe when they moved, and there’s a cryptic note on the door from your sister.  The door is locked and maybe no one’s home.

The game play is simple: look EVERYWHERE around the house, and eventually you will find the bits and pieces of people’s regular lives that explain what’s going on.  However, you also get narration in the form of your sister’s diary/letters to you, which is pretty much the only thing that bothers me about this game, since you are not actively finding the diary or parts of it; they’re just coming to you at key parts.  I really wish that had lined up better but, honestly, it wouldn’t have worked in a narrative sense, because then you’d find them at different times, etc.  My kid and I guessed a key part of the mystery right off the bat, but certainly not the rest of it, and there were a lot of things that can throw you off here and there–it’s not misdirection, it’s just how human beings can see part of something and jump to conclusions.  Which is what makes this game great.

Also, the house is totally freaking creepy so there were times I was like, “Hubs, you do it” but he refused.

The game play is not very long, a few hours for people who have no idea what they’re doing, and so I’m glad we waited until it was on sale, because the replay value is less replay-the-story and more replay-the-wandering-around-looking-at-stuff-cuz-I-know-I-missed-things.  Like, I can tell you stuff I know I missed (one of the combinations) and stuff I THINK I missed (Oscar stuff) and stuff that was in screenshots when I read reviews that I don’t remember seeing.  Also, don’t read reviews of this game, especially negative ones, because you can get way spoiled.  The negative reviewers are making a valid point but that point can really tell you too much about a game that works best by just buying it and playing it. Better to go in with nothing.

Now we’re watching my husband play The Walking Dead game, which my daughter got him for Christmas.  It is way way way way less shooty than I was expecting, and I love it.  And also, I didn’t know that there are characters from the comic in it.  Sweet!  Glenn.  Now my daughter wants to read the comic, which I guess is way better than wanting to watch the show, from what I’ve heard.  I’ve talked to people who love the show and they’re like “Oh yeah, there are NO good female characters–well, this one.  And then that other one is kinda okay, but mostly they’re just awful.”

I was such a jerk to people at the library though, because they’d asked if I’d seen it, and I was all, “I read the book, thanks.”


*The only thing I like about post-grunge fashion is women’s cut t-shirts.  Oh, and that I could get away with cat’s eye glasses if I had the face shape for them.

**Belly put out King, which was such a stronger album than Star and NO ONE SEEMED TO NOTICED, what a bunch of idiots

Garbage put out Garbage, although I admit it took me a couple of months to warm up to them–had to listen to them in a darkened room instead of on daytime radio

Hum put out You’d Prefer an Astronaut, which is one of my all-time favorites

Poe put out Hello and I’m seriously sick of following her on the internet and getting nothing

Radiohead put out The Bends and my God, I know I like bands best when they’re at their most poppy, but that is one amazing album

Tricky put out Maxinquaye AND guested on Whale’s We Care

Ruby came out with Salt Peter AND was in a Mountain Dew commercial

AND think of the soundtracks: The Crow, Mortal Kombat, Nowhere, Mallrats, and that Saturday Morning Cartoon CD, oh, and Chris Isaak gave us both “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” and “Somebody’s Crying” SO THERE

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 15, 2014 9:38 pm

    Yes, Ultima IV had most of these problems as well, but there the game was simpler and smaller. Did I enjoy my time with Ultima V? Definitely. Will I be coming back to it? Probably, but not anytime soon. I would rather play Ultima Underworld or VI (with the Nuvie port) instead, they aged much more gracefully. I might try playing the game solo next time, that would cut down on the downtime a lot, but I don’t know if the game would be too difficulty then. Well, there’s an idea for an interesting challenge.

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