Gone Home

Screenshot

First Impressions

Gone Home is about a girl named Kaitlin who has just arrived back home from Europe to visit her family; however, when she arrives, no one is home. The game sets around midnight during a thunderstorm where you have to explore the open house to gain knowledge about the whereabouts of your family. The initial setting of the game is quite fitting; the creaking of the ground and thunderstorm really brings a creepy feeling; the lighting effects give you an eery feeling too. The narrations during gameplay are inciteful and seem meaningful emotionally. The controls are extremely easy to pick up and play; there is no learning curve. If you are into a good mystery and want to feel like someone is watching you, go play this game!

 

Going Further

Playing Gone Home further revealed some important family concerns related to Kaitlin's sister Samantha. From the first few notes in the game, you learn that Samantha has left home and will not be back anytime soon. As you continue searching around the house, you notice that some doors are locked and cannot be accessed at this point in the game. Gone Home specifically tries not to reveal too much information to the player at once, which I believe is a great way to lead a player through a game. The primary way the developer does this is by having locked doors around the house such that the player has to explore the house for keys and notes. During the exploration, the player starts to learn Kaitlin’s family in more depth and the whereabouts of Samantha.

At a certain point within the game, you realize that Samantha fell in love with a girl named Lonnie. On a side note, I think it’s great that this story supports the LGBT community and the developers even had to cancel their showing at the PAX Prime in order to bring resolution. Not only do you realize quite a lot about the whereabouts of your sister, but you realize so many other aspects about your family. The player can easily spend a few extra hours on top of their original play time just exploring all other artifacts around the house. These other artifacts may just be filler, but it really adds to the believability and immersion of the game; for instance, I really felt like I was the daughter of this family! You end the game in the attic where you realize that your sister has left home to live a life with her lover Lonnie. The voice actors of the narrator are truly remarkable and really bring out the emotions during the ending of the game. As a player, I was left shedding a tear. For such a simple game, Gone Home delivers complex emotions.

- Brandon Clark