The Stanley Parable Parable

This won’t take long, because everything that can be said about this game about games can be said fairly succinctly.

The most amazing thing about The Stanley Parable is just how clever, how aware of games it is. It’s almost at the point where talk about the game, where reviewing it in any way, is entirely meaningless. It knows what it is, it understands the tropes it works within, the constraints of game design, the attitude of players, the roles of people within this technological age, and is absolutely not shy about telling you, the player, exactly what they are.

The Stanley Parable is its own analysis, its own critique, and almost, its own review.

It’s not perfect, of course. There are two areas which could have seen improvement. The constant references to clichés around “wasting life” on computers/games, needing to go outside etcetera, are a little insulting.  This is an argument for the previous generation, not the current one. That said, this game is hyper-aware, so this could be commentary in and of itself, but it’s certainly not presented that way, seeming instead to look down on players for daring to enjoy games.

The second problem is that the game’s branching narrative structures and commentary are so good, one wants to see and hear them all, but each attempt, whether a “win” or “fail” state, means returning to the same introduction scene, and starting all over again. This gets tiring, even though the game itself is semi aware of how you’re playing it, and will occasionally alter the beginning sequence, running through the same corridor and hearing the the same commentary the tenth time in a row means only the most dedicated will see everything this game has to offer. But it wouldn’t be at all surprising to learn that this is intentional. It’s that type game.

Everyone interested in games needs to play The Stanley Parable. It is a masterpiece of game commentary through game design and humorous narrative. There is nothing else like it, and it’s brilliant.



~ by accurateobservation on September 14, 2014.

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