Gone Home: Escaping From Escapism

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Now I don’t usually prefix posts with giant spoiler warnings but Gone Home is a special case. So if you have at least a passing interest in playing it without any preconceptions don’t read this. That being said if you’re reading this header you’re more than likely to have finished the game or at least have no existing interest in playing it. I’ll try not to rely on names so you might be able to read this and remain relatively unspoiled.

We’ve become accustomed to immersive escapism in our games, so much so that it’s often rare to find a game that even tries to mimic our own reality. We’re so used to artifice that anything resembling our real world is a completely alien in a game space. Not to say we don’t explore issues and topics that surround our real life through escapism but those issues we do explore are greatly muted thanks to their fantastical nature. Rarely have games tried to break this mold, we tend to be more comfortable with wizards and super soldiers dealing with emotional and social issues rather than anyone that resembles a real person doing the same. We’ve shied away from ourselves and while I’ll admit my morning routine isn’t very exciting and certainly wouldn’t make up a grandiose adventure there’s still lots of interesting aspects to my life and millions of others that are left completely unexplored in the medium of games. The way we operate socially and culturally are hardly touched upon by games, you’re more likely to find a game displaying the life of a fictional, ennobled murdering machine learning to love his beefy companions in a professional way than a game about a single mother struggling with unpaid debts. Perhaps we’re just too squeamish though, blood and gore is fine to deal with because once we turn off that game it’s gone from our lives. However stories about financial and social problems are very real part of our world so it’s easy to see why that brief moment of escape from it all is so attractive. So preamble had let’s talk about Gone Home, a game that’s willing to bring up the hard stuff, and yes, it’s not wrapped in metaphor or fancy, it’s just a story about a home and a family, that’s it. Shocking I know. 

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