Gone Home: Escaping From Escapism


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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So it’s been awhile, another month by the looks of things, I guess that’s my scheduled now. I never intend to leave this blog barren, after all why else would I bother paying for the terrible domain name? In all actuality I’ve suffered from a case of block that I’ve been treating with a large dose of procrastination, (to be taken twice daily).

I’ve been tackling with myself over what I want to do with this space. A part of me dreads the clinical regurgitation of uninteresting news that I seem to offer yet another part of myself knows that I have little time for anything more.

This all came about when I wanted to have a little look at Arcanum. I wanted to start this diary like novel playthrough thingy ma-jiggy. The premise being that the main character, who was once a intelligent upstanding gentleman is now crippled by an idiocy he suffered after devastating blow to his head, leaving his ability to communicate cogently completely shattered. The diary would be from his perspective, as he not only struggled with what the world demanded from him, but also his companions who merely saw him as nothing more than a bumbling fool.

It was designed to show the options and great schemes of player influence that the game allows, I.E having a low IQ makes you dumb, and everyone around you will see you as such. It’s a simple concept on paper but if you follow the game through with this method in mind you might realise the great depths of the games choices.

It was perhaps too grand a project for me to undertake given my current circumstances, and perhaps I realised this. I drifted away from the concept in favor for more, starchy, filler ideas.

Then I wanted to get all intellectual and talk about Protagonist in video games, define the line between a protagonist and the player themselves. Explore the crossover and value their flaws and favors. Yet that divulged into a rambling against the white male protagonist, as if we haven’t raged about that enough already?

Despite all this what can you expect? Well let me tell you, more opinionated riff raff! I’m finding my own style at the moment and having drifted along some different concepts I think I’ve found a more favorable taste that suits me. Stick around if you would and join me for the upcoming weeks will be far, far more populated.

P.S: Sorry for the whining.