Back in 2013, when I was working as a producer for a very famous free-to-play mobile publisher, my guts started telling me (more like pressuring me, as only guts know how to) it was time to move on to what I loved most: telling stories.
Besides starting to get involved in talks about a project I am currently working on, that was also the same year when Gone Home was launched.
I was immediately drawn to the promo image (the one above) that gave away traces of mystery/occult/retro/artsy art direction. Then, after a few searches, I came across a few reviews in popular web games press sites and got to see the first gameplay screenshots, and even a short gameplay video.
What the f*ck did I just watch? How come something with such an appealing (at least for me) promo art had turned out to be a first person game with graphics that seemed a bit dated (apologies for being completely honest) and did not show any of the atmosphere I was craving for?
Somehow the press and the public were praising it like maniacs. So I decided to give it a shot, someday, when time would allow. I ended up not playing the game at the time, but apparently all of my videogame-guru-friends did and that was a pain because no one cared if I had played it: they just shoved all the important info down my throat, like a BDSM slave being force-fed spoilers while on the rack.
I hate it when that happens. Nonetheless that did not impact my curiosity to play the game. I read what I could about it, while at the same time I was trying to avoid any more unwanted, spoiler-filled information. I really wanted to play the game.
Then I guess “life happened”. For some reason I kept postponing it. Days became months, and months… well let’s just say it was almost two years after launch that I actually played the game, but I will get to that shortly (I promise).
The year after the game’s launch, I went (as I do every year, with the exception of 2015 – with great sorrow) to the best games conference in the world and I knew I that I was going to attend a talk by Steve Gaynor from Fullbright. That thought grew in me (again) the desire to finally play the game.
I went to the talk without ever playing the game, but I seemed to know all about it by then. What it was about, plot twists and weird ways players found to finish the game (aka speedruns). I felt as passionate about it as any other fan that had played it, an already considered the game a brilliant piece of art.
I must say that I had never been in a games talk by anyone as passionate about his/her creation as Steve’s. I could have sworn that, at the end of the talk, his eyes had that special specular reflection, the one you can only have when you are about to shed a tear. I truly understood why Gone Home had the success it was having (and still has): it had been made with passionate love.
Now I was really mad about playing the game! I congratulated Steve (would have loved to have a few drinks with you but Mike took you away immediately after, acting like a freaking bodyguard in a ‘security compromised’ situation) and said to myself that when I got back home I would finally play the game.
Guess what: “Life Happened: The Return!”.
Then, after quitting my job to become a indie/freelancer/consultant/ games adventurer, spending months bootstrapping my career and flying to distant and exotic lands showcasing game design as a tool for empowering youth, I finally played the game, like today, Julian date 15144.
And I finished the game in the same day (granted, it is not that big). And I only wish I had done it sooner!
Gone Home pushes all the boundaries on what storytelling games should be all about. It presents you a solid narrative, with multiple hints throughout the game, that always show you a different side to the story, a possible subplot or even some genius interactivity moments where you are, at the very least, grow a big smile on your face (I even got a nice big scare at one point).
Overall, and in a no-spoilers mood, this is a game about unconditional love, freedom and breaking free from social shackles.
This is the sort of game that everyone should play at least once in their lifetime. This is a game for you to show your children, your parents and your loved ones.
This is a game that makes me feel good for doing what I do, for standing on the shoulders of giants.
6 Replies to “Gone Home (or why I love being in the videogames industry)”
Great, now I want to play it!
Happy to read this bit of you, this little narrative of yours 🙂
It is always great to find meaning and validation in the dreams we follow, specially when someone else seems to have followed the same dream with success.
I am hoping to see an amazing experience coming form your own project, and will keep on following your steps and your growth.
Thanks a lot my friend. I am also happy to see you doing stuff, going places and living the life you want to have. Best of lucks to you too. Big hug.
Wow it must be one hell of a game, I surely have to play it now
Yeah! It is! I strongly recommend it. Thanks for reading 🙂
Awesome article! Now I need to play that game 😛 Dam you.
You should! Thanks for reading 🙂