Wednesday, January 22, 2014

First Impressions: The Stanley Parable


The Stanley Parable is full of moments that make me say: 'This is the greatest game I have ever played.'

On the other hand, I've also had many moments where I've thought: 'Maybe this game isn't all its cracked up to be.' Fortunately, shortly after thinking that, I am usually rewarded with something clever and delightful.  

The best quote I ever heard about the Stanley Parable was "I'd describe the Stanley Parable to you, but that would be spoiling it."   This is true.  Please feel free read on, acknowledging that every detail may spoil the game a little bit for you.  Perhaps you should play it first.

I do think there is enough interesting content in the Stanley Parable that it would be tough to spoil completely. However, I've enjoyed playing so much that I would like to preserve the newness of experience for others.  Please come back after you have played the game.

The Original Stanley Parable
Here's a link to download the original Stanley Parable.  Turns out the version I've been playing is a 2013 update to the game.  I'll draw comparisons after playing through this one.  In the meantime, perhaps you'd like to play this, completely free to download version of the game?

Moving on, have you played it yet?  You really shouldn't be reading this if you haven't.  

The Stanley Parable is easily the most 'meta' game I have ever played. The narration is fantastic, isn't it?  You know, because you've played the game before, like I asked you to.

I love the way the narrator messes with the player, but even more, I love the way that sometimes I can mess with the narrator through the choices I make.  It's pretty great.  Love the broom closet!

Some obvious (to me) comparisons are Groundhog day for repetition, Portal for oppositional narrator and underbelly of gaming, Bastion for smart narrator and Thomas was Alone for British Narrator and inclusion of the name of the main character in the title.  I'm sure there are more comparisons I should make, but I just haven't got the time right now.  Onto the next paragraph.

I have found two approaches to playing this game so far, first: to save at every choice, and to avoid restarting the game.  second:  to restart the game frequently or to play through after any of the auto-restarts.

Essentially, the Stanley Parable is a choose your own adventure book, as a video game.  The design, writing, performance use of sound and visuals are all top knotch.  Fantastic game, Bravo!


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