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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Midnight City
Developed By: The FullBright Company
Genre: Simulation
Players: 1
Release Date: January 13, 2016
Rated: M for Mature (Sexual Themes, Strong Language & Drug Reference)
Screenshots: Link
Xbox Live: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

February 8, 2016 - Gone Home is a unique experience that hit the market back in 2013 for PC. At the time of release, I didnít see a reason why I needed to play the game is it didnít suite my tastesÖ or so I thought. After experiencing titles like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Gone To The Rapture on the PS4, I thought to myself that I should go back and play Gone Home. Finding out that the game was receiving a console release and I feel more comfortable with a controller in my hand, I decided to pick it up on PS4. Once again Iím amazed by the level of quality and immersion these titles types of games bring and Gone Home is easily one of the best bit-size experiences to hit the console.

After a year of touring in Europe, Katie Greenbriar returns to her familyís home in Portland, Oregon only to find that no oneís there. Whatís interesting about the place is despite the fact that her mom, dad and sister (Sam) are nowhere to be found, doors and floorboards throughout the house give off a creaking sound suggesting someone is present within the house. Couple that with all the lights within the house are off and the raging thunderstorm going on outside; the atmosphere is set what seems like a traumatic event has occurred within the house. Anyone familiar with horror games will know what Iím talking about. The building of tension and wondering whatís lurking around the corner or behind that closed door. Having extensive knowledge of horror games and movies, I found myself always approaching a dark area or closed door with extreme caution. At times I find myself laughing at how much of a wuss I am with regards to these areas. What I love about this game is that then tension is always there, so you will get use to it and acted normally and thatís when the game gets you.

As you explore the house looking for any clues as to the whereabouts of your family, youíll come across several tidbits scattered throughout the house. Letters, invoices, posters, notes and postcards all shed some light of what happened while you were away. Key pieces of information; once uncovered, treats you to a beautifully narrated past of the family; Sam in particular. You learn of stories about marriage, parenting, work and so forth. Depending on the background of the player, Gone Home will resonate in different ways. For myself, being an older sibling I know a thing or two about leaving the flock only to find out that time has passed and so much has happened without your involvement. While some of it is for the better, there are events in life that you wish you could redo or at least be there for their happenings. And itís because of this relationship with the Katie, that my experience with Gone Home is one of importance and is symbolic.

Whatís unique and interesting about the game design in Gone Home is the fact that itís embedded with human nature and tendencies cues. What I mean by that is when you first enter the house, you have three options for paths you can take to explore the house. You have the stairs leading to the second floor, a closed door to your right and a well-placed open door to your left. While some will undoubtedly go upstairs or check the closed door first, majority of players will gravitate to the faintly distant sound and open door on the left as it seems the most welcoming and simply because if something is indeed chasing you throughout the house, its easier to get to the entrance from downstairs than upstairs. Taking it a step further, when exploring a dark noisy house that youíve never been in, you tend to be on guard the whole time, which is normal. I found myself turning on each and every light and exploring the room fully before moving on. Not because thatís how the game was designed to be played, but because of my personal paranoia about dark houses. But leave it to the developer to make a joke out of my misery. Upon ascending the stairs to the second floor and making that first right turn, you come across a cork board with several notes posted on it. The one that caught my attention immediately was the one that read: ďSam, stop leaving the lights on youíre just as bad as your sister.Ē I immediately started laughing at myself because I did exactly what the note was talking about without even realizing it.

Visually, Gone Home is well put together. The game is realistically put together in a way that makes the environment seem dense and at home with itself. While some areas will seem a bit bland on the design front, itís worth noting that itís about the experience and not how much stuff you can cram in a room or hallway. Each room tells a story and gives a unique perspective to its inhabitants and the family as a whole.

Depending on how you approach Gone Home and how much of a wuss you are, the experience can be completed within a couple of hours. While it does seem like a short experience, itís one full of rich content waiting to be discovered. You wonít realize how much time actually passed by because of your intent on discovering whereís the family. For those who have to 100% the game, it will require a couple of playthroughs and sharp wits as the game will require something of your skill set in order to achieve your goal.

What keeps you enthralled in the experience that is Gone Home is that you are Katie. Human nature and tendencies dictate that majority of people will approach this game from the standpoint that I need to find out what happened to my family. Itís because of this immediate connection and the carefully designed gameplay mechanics that Gone Home comes to life in ways that AAA titles sometimes lack.


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