Gone Home
Gone Home rides the line between “game” and “visual novel”. If you were to judge it by its challenge, gameplay, interactivity, or length, it would come up very short. This should not deter you; it is an exceptionally powerful example of using the format of a game as a medium to tell a story.

 

It’s a first-person point-and-click adventure. You play the role of 20-year-old Katie, who has just come home from a year abroad to an unfamiliar (and apparently deserted) house in the mountains of Oregon. As you explore the house, you slowly piece together what’s been happening since you’ve been away and figure out why nobody in your family is there to welcome you back.

 

The environments are meticulously constructed and dense with information; every room is littered with small pieces of the overall puzzle, and items you find early on may only “click” later when you find out more about their context. The sound is rich and evocative, from the ambient noises to the voiceovers to the cassette tapes that form the delightfully nostalgic soundtrack.

 

My recommendations for this game are: avoid spoilers, budget a couple of hours, and play it alone, in a dark room, with headphones on. You might want a box of tissues too, just saying.

 

game: gone home

developer: the fullbright company

publisher: the fullbright company

release date: august 15, 2013

other games like it: myst (from cyan), amnesia: the dark descent (from frictional games)

author: samwise