“Gone Home” is “Myst” for the 21st Century

Remember “Myst?” It’s the game that made video gaming hot. Quiet, eerie, all about exploring a new environment.

Old-timers have been vocal about wanting a Myst-like game to play again, and now one is here. Quiet, eerie, all about exploring a new environment disguised as an old one.

Cuz, you know, we millennials don’t exactly embrace change, right? We loves us our homages, no?

Well, we here at TVWriter™ say no, but here’s an article with a whole nuther perspective:


by Becky Chambers

It’s just a house. That’s all the game is, a house full of receipts and cups and boxes of tissues. Mundane and ordinary. You can walk around the house. You can pick things up, turn them over. You can paw around drawers and cupboards. You are alone. You are unguided. You can take all the time you need.

There’s a lot to uncover in Gone Home, the inaugural title by indie studio The Fullbright Company. Love, loneliness, secrets, desperation, sexual identity, growing up, acting out — it’s all there, hidden under beds and shoved into closets. I saw my childhood in there, and my adulthood, too, and the messy, complicated things I feel toward my family. It left me feeling raw, and clean, and quiet.

It’s just a house. It made me cry.

The year is 1995, and twenty year old Katie has just returned home from a year abroad. Not that the house is a home she knows. Her parents moved while she was away, and the house is as unfamiliar to Katie as it is to the player — after all, you are one and the same. No one is there to greet you. The door is locked. The house is empty. The only acknowledgment you are given is a note written by your younger sister, Sam. She apologizes for not being there. She asks that you not go digging around for answers. She says she’ll see you again one day.

And that’s it. There’s no quest log, no directions, no arrow pointing you toward something of use. Gone Home hinges on the assumption that curiosity alone is enough to drive the player onward. It certainly was for me. The farther I went into the house, the more anxious I was to learn what had happened there. Why had no one been there waiting for me? Was Sam hurt? Were my parents hurt? Was I in danger? Was I really alone? A storm raged outside, drumming on the windows and making the TV spit static. As I tore through every shelf, checked under every pillow, I found myself hoping for Katie’s parents to walk through the door and offer some answers. I was desperate to find a family I had never met.

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We sampled the game, and in its way its quite well-written. It’s just…well, erm…

Goddammit, where’s the @#$! shooting!?