The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Go home, play Gone Home

For the first half hour of “Gone Home,” whenever I opened a door, walked down one of the Greenbriar manor’s dark hallways or overheard a muffled voice from a television that had been left on, I was more frightened than I want to admit.
“Gone Home” is a game about, well, coming home after a year overseas. The house is empty, and you discover why through your sister’s diary entries and any letters or notes scattered across the rooms.
There are no monsters in the closets, no death state, but the grounded, not-fantastical premise does nothing to alleviate the spookiness of a dark, vacant house.
Part of the unsettling nature of the “Gone Home” comes from the unlikely influence of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” on the co-founder of developer The Fullbright Company, Steve Gaynor. Lynch’s film isn’t the only atypical source of inspiration for the game: The main plot thread in “Gone Home” is a coming-of-age story – a common literary form but something yet to be fully explored in video games; the setting is the mid-1990s, with riot grrrl cassettes and Super Nintendo cartridges spread throughout the house; and a queer relationship is at the heart of the story, one treated with actual respect.
The game’s respect for its characters extends out its players. I was never able to fully shake my fear of the empty, stolid manor, but the developers avoid throwing out cheap jump scares. The easy, manipulative ending the plot appears to build up to is eschewed for something truly touching and worthy of tears.
“Gone Home” is exactly the kind of game I’d recommend to college students. You can play through it in a couple of hours, and it’ll run on most of the laptops I see around campus.
A chant from the game’s fictional band Girlscout stuck with me throughout the story: “I’m not your role model.”
In actuality, as The Fullbright Company shakes off so many expectations of what a game should and can be, they seem to be saying to potential developers that feel excluded from the medium, “We’ll be your role model.”

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Go home, play Gone Home