Gone Home: one of best video game stories in some time
First-person adventure about a family gone missing brings emotional dynamics rarely found in games
What you need to know
The mystery-adventure video game Gone Home has been released in the UK. The game's creators worked on video game hit BioShock before setting up their own independent design studio The Fullbright Company in the US.
Set in June 1995 at a house in the Pacific Northwest, the story focuses on a teenage girl, Kaitlin Greenbriar, who returns home after travelling abroad to find her entire family has gone missing.
Gameplay in the first-person interactive story focuses on exploring an environment (Kaitlin's family home) to look for clues to piece together the reasons for the family's disappearance.
What the critics like
Here is proof that "video games do not require shooting or punching or jumping or action of any kind to create gripping fiction", says Chris Suellentrop in the New York Times. It won't rid the world of the thrills of killing zombies, but Gone Home has accomplished something significant: literary realism in a video game.
This "highly enjoyable, highly evocative" game has the kind of emotional dynamics we often encounter in books, TV and film, but almost never in games, says Daniel Nye Griffiths in Forbes. Considering a teenager is at the heart of the story, this novel-like game is excitingly grown-up.
Gone Home is a "remarkable first-person adventure that tells one of the finest video games stories in quite some time", says Marty Silva on IGN. Unravelling the complicated intricacies of the family, and the reasons your character left home, make this a poignant and powerful piece of storytelling.
What they don't like
The story in Gone Home is "engaging, but frustratingly slight", says Oli Welsh on Eurogamer. The Fullbright Company has built a fine house for intimate storytelling in games, but it hasn't found the story to live in it yet. ·