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‘The Beginner’s Guide’: Confessions of a game designer

To enjoy this game you have to let it surprise you, but to meaningfully write about it I will have to spoil the surprise. So, if you have not played it yet, stop reading this. What was clever, cold, and schematic in The Stanley Parable is stirring and emotional (deceivingly so) in Davey Wreden’s newest title. Both games share similar features. They’re first-person adventures in which a narrator/designer guides us through corridor-based scenarios that interrogate videogame conventions. Except this time the narrator is Wreden himself, who adds commentary to what he presents as the collected, unreleased, and often unfinished works of his former friend, Coda.

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‘Gone Home’ expands the territory of conventional videogame storytelling

As a teenager, I felt I would never age. Yet I also knew I would, and more than that, I could anticipate that when I did, everything would change. So I stood then, with confused ideas about time. The future would never arrive, yet it was also imminent. Now, my teenage years were horribly boring and sexless, so I was certainly looking forward to some sort of revolution. It was only a matter of emerging out the far side of high school, into the end of the world as I knew it. Life is a succession of points of no return, and if we find apocalyptic stories about crashing asteroids and alien invasions so absorbing, it might be because they exaggerate this fact. Popular fiction brims with characters who undergo processes of self-discovery while everything around them burns, from The Lord of the Rings to Akira. Watershed moments can be as monumental as they can be personal and private, and though graduating high school or parting with your family are not exactly comparable to a tidal wave, such commonplace events can inspire fear and trembling regardless.

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