The Stanley Parable isn’t a long game, nor is it really a game at all. I guess I would describe it as an experiment in game choice.
What originally started life as a mod for half life two has now been given a full make over with original graphics and new voice work. The result is a ok looking first person adventure game with no weapons, no NPCS and no jump button. However, the Stanley Parable doesn’t need these and it even mocks it’s own lack of these gaming norms as the whole game is there to challenge your conceptions throughout your experience.
The game revolves around Stanley, a lonely office worker who sits in his cubic office all day mindlessly pushing buttons he is told to. When one day, the commands suddenly stop he is forced to leave his cubicle and seek assistance only to find that the place is deserted.
This is where the fun begins… Or is it the confusion begins. From this point, the narrator recites your tale as you play it; leaving the office, looking around and leading you on your path to beat the game. When it gets interesting is when you are presented with choice and yet the narrator says which option to go for. I could take the door on the left as suggested but I fancy exploring the right hand door. As you enter the opposing door the narrator changes his dialogue. The more you go against the tale the more upset and even angry he becomes. Similarly, if you act before the dialogue had finished the narrator will comment on it. Each action has a carefully scripted reaction and each path will take you on a mind bending journey of broken conventions and amusing confusion.
I can’t go into specifics as this title really needs to be seen to be believed and the good thing is that after only an hours play I had see at least five different endings. It is not a long game but it will compel you to have just one more go to see where it might take you.
After retiring for the evening after playing for over an hour I felt the need to choose one of the outcomes as my preferred ‘conclusion’ to the game in order to make sense of it in my head. The game is so random yet so controlled it beautifully makes it point. The point being is that choice is games is an illusion and that each and every path you choose when playing a game has been crafted and planned. You are ultimately pressing preset buttons over and over that are fed to you from the computer.
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Thanks for reading…