Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There’s nothing more frightening than an unopened door.” That statement is best demonstrated in the PC game “Gone Home.”
The story opens on a stormy evening of June 1995. A young woman named Kaitlin Greenbriar comes home after spending a year abroad.
Expecting a warm welcome from her family, Kaitlin instead finds a note from her sister, Samantha, telling her not to search for the answers of her whereabouts. Upon entering, Kaitlin realizes not even her parents are home. In order to find out why her family has disappeared, she must investigate the house for clues.
The player takes the role of Kaitlin, who can interact with objects found throughout the house. The items are used as clues to uncover what has happened to Kaitlin’s family while she’s been away.
The story in this game is outstanding.
By searching the family’s newly acquired house, trash, pictures, books, journals, and other environmental clues, the player discovers the family has had a very rough year.
The atmosphere creates worthwhile suspense too. Imagine how terrifying it would have been to be Clarice Starling in “Silence of the Lambs” as she searched Buffalo Bill’s house. “Gone Home” is pretty much the same experience.
The amount of character depth in this game is rare.
By searching the family’s belongings, the player is able to analyze their decisions and discover why they are the way they are. Movies can do this too but with limitations.
Video games normally take countless hours to complete. Depending on how long the player wants to investigate the house, this game could take only three hours to finish. Controls make it easy for anyone to use too.
“Gone Home” is available to download for $19.99 at http://store.steampowered.com. More than a melancholic story, this game is an important achievement. “Gone Home” is a rare experience. It proves video games are finally starting to head in the right direction.