It was Saturday morning and I was a bit under the weather and needed some diversion. Remembering I still had this little game, Gone Home, waiting for me, I decided to play it.
What followed was a few hours of me being transported back to a time when I was a teenager and the world was so different. I was completely immersed in this game and I didn’t want to leave this place. Gone Home stirred up a lot of emotions for me and it made me very happy and very grateful for something to connect so deeply.
Listening to the soothing sounds of the soundtrack, I decided to write this review.
What’s the game about?
Gone Home is a first person exploration game. The game mainly consists of exploring a mansion in Portland, Oregon, and examining common household objects within the home. Now I know it may not sound very exciting reading this. However, the developers have created something wonderful when you set foot in the actual game world.
It’s June 7th, 1995, and you are 21 year old Kaitlin Greenbriar. Your father writes home electronics reviews, your mom is a wildlife conservationist and you have a 18 year old sister, Samantha. The story starts with you arriving at your parents house after having spent a year abroad. There’s nobody home.
What follows is your journey inside the house, experiencing memories and finding out why nobody is home. You find journal entries, reviews, letters and more to help you discover what happened. You pick up various items to help your exploration and unlock new parts of the house, finding several secrets along the way that explain a lot about the story.
Why play this game?
The story setting and beautiful music make for a wonderful experience. It’s an experience where you arrive in this house and by the end of the game, it feels like home. The attention to detail is awesome and it makes everything feel more real. From videotapes with 2 movies on it to cassettes with playable music. Indeed, it is a home I would love to live in. Above all, the game really takes you back to 1995, bringing a feeling of those old days.
For me it was a very deep and personal journey as well. In fact, a few of the themes and secrets in the game hit home, hard. I can’t tell you exactly why, because the beauty of this game is in the discovery and fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together yourself. This is why I implore you to not look up anything on the details of the story – play this game, and experience the beauty of it for yourself.
This game shows that a game can be beautiful, immersive and gripping without the need for guns, violence, macho bullshit or being a time sinker. It took me two hours to complete the game and I have the urge to go back and walk around in the house some more. I want to go home.