Our newest writer, ROFLamingo, goes home to find all is not well…
*This review contains spoilers*
“Gone Home”, the latest title from The Fullbright Company, bills itself as “A Story Exploration Game”. I loaded up my Review Code version of this game to find out exactly what that means – and I was not disappointed. It is as boring as it sounds. The premise is that you are American, Katie Greenpoop, sister of Sam Greenpoop, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Greenpoop, returning from a post-degree jaunt to Europe, with the timeframe being the mid-90s. You leave a phone message for your parents that you are coming home, yet when you arrive, the house is empty.
The initial excitement and suspense that is generated is almost instantly lost. The graphics are fairly unattractive and lacking in detail. This is yet another game of “mouse over everything, pick up everything possible; scan each room left to right and look behind everything”. Except – with very few exceptions – picking up ordinary objects (like a cup, or a book) is pointless except to see if there is a note to read or some remnant of the past to examine.
It is reading these notes that progresses the story. Here you will quickly surmise that:
- You had some creepy uncle that used to own this massive house that no one would clean.
- Your father was too lazy to get a real job, so he writes shitty books. When that stopped working, he began drinking
- Your mom works for the Forestry Service, and was interested in having an affair with another forest ranger until her love interest got married, so she reluctantly stayed with your father
- Your sister’s love interest is a lesbian called Lonnie
It is number 4 that dominates the story. You wander from room to room, turning on the lights (this game could alternatively be titled “Light Switch Simulator”), and looking for the next scrap of paper, letter, school assignment etc. that indicates what your sister Samantha is feeling. And what she is wanting is the touch of the XX kind. Years ago this would have been titillating material, but ever since “I Kissed a Girl” received radio-play, teenage lesbian action is apparently a rite-of-passage to adulthood.
If you have read this far then you understand that I didn’t find this game very enjoyable. Once you realize that nothing sinister or exciting is going to happen, the urgency of looking around and turning on light switches fades and this becomes simply a story that could have been sent to you in a short letter. Absolutely nothing happens here at all – you come home to find your parents are at a couples counseling retreat, your sister is rescuing her girlfriend from the Army, and there’s forty bucks to order pizza with. The only reason the game took me three hours to play was that I couldn’t locate the combination to a safe (it turns out it is not necessary to open it anyways) and the house is fricking huge. The graphics are mundane, the story is even more boring than real life, and when you finish it, you will ask yourself – “who cares?”.
However, if you are a female between the ages of 14-20, and you are considering your best friend as your first potential scissor buddy, then this is the title for you. Talk about a niche market.