Stealth games have reached an odd point in their evolution as a genre. In most modern stealth games you play as a predator, skulking in the shadows only to set up the moment when you deploy your one-shot silenced handgun to the back of your prey’s skull or take them out with a quick, efficient neck stab. Recent titles like Splinter Cell Conviction have abandoned all pretense of de-powering the player, stating as their explicit goal the use of stealth mechanics to turn the protagonist into an alpha uber-badass. It can be hard to remember a time when stealth was about cowering in fear, when the enemy was the predator and you were the prey.
After a few hours being chased through the fields and fens of Big Robot’s open-world survival game you’ll remember that feeling all too well.
Last time I tried to basically use the same format as my book Let’s Reads, summarising the events of the episode scene-by-scene. As it turns out that doesn’t work too well in a TV show where there might be five different story lines running simultaneously and it ended up being really long and wordy. So this time I’m going for more of a summary approach, which will hopefully be shorter and more to the point. Let me know if you like it.
So just a few days ago I heaped praise all over Gone Home, because it’s awesome.
Then I made the mistake of checking to see what other people thought of it. Gamers, we need to have a talk.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be me getting into defensive fanboy mode (well okay, not entirely). The reaction to Gone Home illuminates a lot of the weird attitudes and quasi-mystical thinking that gamers engage in when evaluating games. We shall unpack them, together. In list form!
(minor spoilers for Gone Home will follow)