Mid-week tidbit: The Stanley Parable

I would not normally post about video games here, but I so impressed with this one that I just had to mention it.

I had known about the game for several weeks, but it was not until I saw NintendoCapriSun’s “let’s play” of The Stanley Parable that I fell in love with it. The game has the right kind of wit and creative surrealism that I love.

In short, the player is put into the shoes of an employee named Stanley. One day, all of Stanley’s co-workers and his boss disappear. As you explore the office looking for other people and try to solve this mystery, the player’s actions will decide the ending to the game. Once the player reaches the end, the player is taken back to the beginning to try again. The diversity and amount of these endings are quite impressive, but these “playthroughs” are very short. Also quite impressive is that the beginning can change depending on the previous ending.

The narrator also makes the game. Without him, it would not be as good. The narrator will describe what the player is doing and what he expects the player to do. If the player does bizarre things, then the narrator will describe them and also interject his own explanation; for example, if the player stays in a closet too long, the narrator will speculate that the player, the person controlling Stanley, has died at their computer. If the player does not do what the narrator wants, then the narrator will get upset and start insulting the player.

It also has a touch of irony and allegory that I love. For instance, one might interpret some sort of social commentary about the workplace, since Stanley is just a drone pushing buttons at the computer and he is doing what he is told. However, consider that anyone playing video games is also sitting at their computer pushing buttons and doing what the game tells them to do. Naturally, we do that to finish the game, so maybe we are a little bit different.

Here is the official launch trailer:

Edit: I just realized that this is like a better version of Stranger than Fiction. huh.

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