Saturday, 26 October 2013

Indie Gaming: The Stanley Parable (2013)

How do you go about writing a review, a blog post, a tale of your experience for something like The Stanley Parable? I'm not sure my writing can do it justice. It's a bizarre and wonderful creation, full of secrets, jokes and twists. I love it, it's one of the best games I've ever played, and yet I'm sure it would infuriate some people.
The End Is Never The End

I guess you could describe it as "meta", because it has a level of self-awareness and self-parody that can only be done with these sorts of small indie projects. I'm not sure it's the best description though, as it undersells the game, it undersells the experience of playing through it, and if you're anything like me you'll play through it a couple of dozen times or more.
Remember to make the right choice.

One of the advantages of the way it is structured means that you can replay it twice and get two quite different experiences. It's all a matter of choice, with the very key one being a choice between two doors. When Stanley reaches two doors, he takes the one on the left. But which one do you choose?
When Stanley reaches two doors, he takes the one on the left.

Lots of games have multiple endings, but they rarely go for them with such gusto. In The Stanley Parable it is quite possible to finish the game, get an "ending", within seconds of starting to play. There are ways you can attempt to "break" the game, and yet find out that the designers knew exactly what you might try and have another ending to draw attention to this. Of course the motto of The Stanley Parable is "The End Is Never The End", and the endings merely return you to Stanley's office, alone, with yet more choices to make.
Whatever you do, don't attempt to jump off the lift.

It's a great discussion game too, and I've actually spent time reading through posts on the Steam forums about it. People finding secrets and different endings, being rewarded for spending four hours pressing a button or something similar. Almost everyone playing is collaborating in this wider experiment - how many endings have you seen, how many secrets, have you got the unachievable achievement, have you cheated, can you cheat?
Tips for not getting fired: solid advice.

If you can't appreciate the game I guess I feel sorry for you, because I just find so much to enjoy about it. It probably helps that I really love the narration and the narrator, the only other character other than Stanley (if you can even regard Stanley as a character). I love the humour, I love the way the achievements work (even though there are a couple I'll never manage). It is as perfect as such a game can be, and quite unique in what it offers.
I think I'm supposed to take the red door.

Here are a few of my favourite moments.
I wouldn't ever lie to you, caution sign.

The Adventure Line. To be followed in order to get the full and proper experience that is intended. This time, everything will go according to plan.
Follow the line for carefully contsructed fun within acceptable limits!

The Broom Closet Ending.
There is no broom closet ending.

No, this isn't right at all

The Museum
This is the least interesting thing in the museum

The Leaderboard
Still got a way to go to get no.1!

And so much more... in summary I would definitely give this game 8.
Credit where credit is due.

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