Critical Play: Mysteries

The game that so decided to ply for the critical play is Gone Home. Gone home is an exploratory simulation video game developed and published by The Fulbright Company. The video game can be played on numerous platforms – such as Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, iOS, and Linux, for example – however, I played the game on a macOS. The primary targeted audience of Gone Home is players who are at least 15 years old.

At the start of the game, I was playing from the perspective of Katie, a young woman who came from studying abroad in Europe and noticed her family was nowhere to be found. She explores her home to unravel the cause of her family’s disappearance. We are told from a note that the game takes place on June 7, 1995, at 1:15 AM.

The type of fun that the game exhibits is narrative and discovery, as Katie explores the different places in her house. While there is no clear winning objective, the main premise of the game is for Katie to identify what happened to her family. The mechanics of the game involves Katie being able to walk around her house and interact with different objects such as opening doors or reading a letter, for instance. Essentially, she is trying to make sense of the different clues and puzzle pieces that she finds. These mechanics support the mystery as it allows the player to discover the house on their own with no guidance. In conjunction with the visual elements and auditory components of the game, the exploratory and mysterious nature of the game builds up suspense.

Playing the game, it was quite difficult to understand where exactly to start. I was walking around the house aimlessly opening different things with no sense of purpose. I think the game would be better if hints were provided to players or there were mini objectives that guided the user throughout their journey in unraveling the mystery of the disappearance of their family. Nonetheless, there were great things about Gone Home that I will definitely incorporate into my team’s game.

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