Wednesday, August 28, 2013

EXP Podcast #239: Gone Home Debrief

Hot off the heels of our "Homage to Homes," Jorge and I have made our way through Gone Home, a game whose entire point is to explore a house and its inhabitants. It's dedication to portraying everyday environments and ordinary people actually makes it unique amongst a landscape of fantasy and super powers. The care that The Fullbright Company gives to the game's environments and characters helped spark a wide ranging discussion. We cover topics ranging from teenage romance, punk music, and the folly of trying to become a Street Fighter champion, while leaving plenty of time to discuss the more subtle plot points. As always, we hope you make yourself at home and share your thoughts in the comments.

It's the first game from The Fullbright Company, and it stands out for a few reasons.

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Show notes:

- Runtime: 44 min 28 sec
- "Creative Restriction And The New Realism," by Matthew Burns, via Magical Realism
- Music by: Brad Sucks


  1. Yet another thoughtful podcast!

    Ian and I also greatly enjoyed this game and have been reflecting on it substantially since finishing it last weekend. Wonderful, as always, to hear your guys' take.

    I just had a few thoughts to add to your discussion:

    1) I can understand your comments on Katie and wishing you could explore a bit more of her "stuff," but for me, perhaps I am biased because I share her name, I quite liked that you couldn't open the boxes, but instead you could imagine that it could be your "stuff" in there. It definitely reminded me of going away for uni and coming home to find that my room was now a guest room and all of my belongings were in boxes.

    2) That being said, I do wish Katie spoke out loud. The woman who did her voice on the answering machine did such a good job and I think perhaps it would have worked nicely if instead of the written thoughts ("ewwww, Dad," etc.) if she actually said these things out loud, as well as perhaps calling out for her parents and sister. She was too mute and quiet for my liking. Although, of course, this is a very minor complaint.

    3) Confession: The first hour or so, I was definitely scared. I entered each room super slowly and always went straight for the light switch (which I left on in every room, much like I was a kid).

    4) I don't know if either of you found this, but there was definitely one "jump" scare moment. In the secret passage from the upstairs to the library, which has the different things written on the wall, you can find a little white cross and if you examine it the hanging light bulb above you will break, plunging you into darkness. It was super freaky, but highly enjoyable. If you missed it, definitely pop back in to check it out.

    Anyway, overall, a really moving and thoughtful story that so perfectly captured that 90s feel and what it was like to be a teenager. I know we will continue to talk about this as "one of those games." I agree it won't necessarily be for everyone, but I think there are little gems that will speak to a lot of people.

    Thanks for debriefing on it!

    - Katie

  2. Hey Katie! Churning through some old email and saw I had missed this comment.

    I never thought about the same-name aspect to the game, or even video games in general. I suppose it's a bit like creating your own avatar/naming your character, except that you didn't have to do it. Despite me having a really common name, I don't know if I've ever played a game where the protagonist is named "Scott." Maybe it would feel like the game was somehow targeted at me?

    I missed the jump scare moment you described, so I'll have to check it out. The game is just so great on undermining your expectations; everything turns out to be so "normal," which is both refreshing and touching. Games about actual people rather than galactic heroes are rare.