(Pre-game): The phone call is very intriguing to players. And looking back right now, I find the phone call from Katie to her Mom offers a smooth and attractive introduction to the game. Also it is covers the main background story effectively and without procrastination. The three beeps right after the end of the call are really loud, or should I say, they are meant to be loud in order to foreshadow some alerting signs. So far so good, great transition to the actual game. Loving it…
(At the front door): It is 1:15 am. I’m at the front door of my house. Now the game has established its setting; it’s done in a quick fashion. Visually it is dark around me. Outside the door, the light is so dim that I could barely see. In fact, weak light makes me anxious. The sound effect corresponds to the gloomy feeling as well, with the extra disturbing rain and thunderstorm…I hear heavy footsteps by myself, which makes me even more nervous. I don’t quite know what I’m supposed to do at first. I checked the front door and then some corners. I opened the doors of the cupboard, and I found a key. This should lead me to the main entrance of the building…I like the design of this game. A first person narrative always makes me feel more closely connected to the character. It also gives a better look of the computer screen than the third person narrative. Players’ visions are cleaner and larger. It gives me a feeling that I’m in a detecting/searching game, something like a breakout room but definitely some horror breakout room. Will I see some bodies or some crimes? I have no idea. Let’s get inside and search the house…
This game has very intuitive control systems. I used WASD to move and right-click to pick up and inspect any object, and it was easy for me to get started. The first thing I noticed was the overall vibe of the surroundings. It was a stormy night and there is nobody at home to welcome the returning protagonist. The first thing I did was to turn on all the desk lamps and lights to make the surroundings easier to explore.
I noticed the music was not horrifying. Instead it gives off a warm yet sad vibe with strings instruments. From this I can conclude that this will not be a horror game but instead a mystery game about the protagonist’s family, likely her sibling, who left a note on the front porch about trying not to find her.
I found Sam’s backpack and her voice journal started playing as she wrote to the protagonist, her older sister about her first day in school and being identified as “the psycho house girl”. It certainly seemed like she did not enjoy her new high school experience.
I went into the protagonist’s father’s study as well as his library. It seems as if he is mostly concerned in three things: his work, the assassination of JFK, and, his daughter Sam. There were many journals and books in his rooms that showed his obsession about JFK. Above his work desk, there was a note saying, “check up with Sam” as well as a book on the library shelves about “Understanding Teenagers”.
The game opens up with a message the main character sent to his/her mom. The main character tells the mom that he/she got the ticket home from Europe. The main character also says that the arrival date is June 6th, that the flight is late, and that he/she will shuttle from the airport. The game then officially starts with, I am assuming, the main character on the porch about to enter his/her home. It is currently June 7th, 1995.
I am in a dark area right outside the front door to the house. My travel bag is on the ground. I try to enter through the front door but it is locked. I notice some sort of letter hanging on a wooden door. It’s a letter dedicated to me (my name is Katie) and the letter is telling me to not search for the missing writer of the message, Sam. Sam initially wrote that he doesn’t want Mom and Dad to know that he is not home, but it appears that Sam erased “Mom and Dad” and replaced it with “anyone”. I am getting the sense that this ominous letter might be a suicide letter because Sam wants to keep his disappearance so hidden. I then find the key to the front door in a wooden cabinet. I open the door to the lobby of the house. So far, I am feeling uneasy, as the entire interior of the house is barely illuminated and looks like it’s from the setting of a horror movie. To make it even creepier, the rain outside and frequent thunder makes me feel like I am about to enter a haunted house. As a side note, the items in my current inventory are my passport, my boarding pass, and obviously, the key.
When I was about to open the front door, I had the preconception that I was low to middle class because I purchased the cheapest available flight; however, the main lobby of the house was of grandeur. The first thing I see is the wide main staircase and just the immensity of my house. I then head left and see the bathroom. Just then, I hear a voice. It appears to be my narration of Sam’s journal. Sam says so much has changed. He says that I have been gone for a year. It appears that Sam had a difficult experience going through so many changes, like moving to this new house and moving to a new school. This probabilize my grim guess that Sam killed himself possibly from depression. I then turn the lights around the house including the closet and a nearby lamp. I find my family picture towards the left wing of the house. I also turn on this recording of a girl calling out for Sam; I’m not exactly sure if the girl calling for Sam is me. As I am walking through my house, I am raising a suspicion that I am the only person in the house.
Hallway (left wing):
I walk down the hallway. I open things here and there. Nothing particularly eye-catching. As I proceed down the hallway, I go into a room on the right. It looks like an office space. On a chair I pick up an interesting book regarding the killing of JFK. There is another room connected to that room I was just in. The new room seems like the house library. On a table, I inspect a magazine and I get frightened from the magazine cover of a person staring right into me. I go back to the hallway and I go further down it. I am walking down the hallway, about to turn the corner on the right when I hear a man’s voice. There is a room on the far left of the hallway. The TV on the room is on. It is the source of the male voice. Upon inspecting the TV, I read that there is or was a severe weather warning. I then realize the disorderly state of the room and make the connection that possibly my family were scuffling around the house to get their most important things and fled due to the weather, which explains my family’s absence. However, this doesn’t connect to Sam’s beginning message. I am confused. I walk to the end of the left wing to see that the door at the end of the hallway is locked. I walk back to the main lobby.
I decide to walk up the staircase to the 2nd floor. I turn left and go down another hallway. There is a room with a sign that says radiation hazard on the door. I go into the room and wander around what seems to be a kid’s room. I am guessing this is Sam’s room. In the room is another TV that is essentially out of service. I think the bad weather conditions cut out cable. I then go into a bathroom right next to the room I was just in and listen to another segment from Sam’s journal. The narrator’s voice says Sam was dyeing his friend’s hair, Lonnie (she), and Sam and Lonnie felt a moment of intimacy. I then assume that the narrator of the journal is Sam and that she is a girl. I then enter my parents’ room and find a postcard sent by me. The back of the postcard is the picture of Big Ben. I think I stayed in London for an entire year. At the end of the hallway of the 2nd floor, the entire end of the hallway is illuminated by a red light. I immediately run away.
I continue to wander around the house but don’t find anything noteworthy. My guess of the entire situation is that Sam fell into depression after being unable to adjust to her new living environment and ran away or committed suicide, after which the parents searched for Sam all over and outside the house which was why the interior of the house was so disorderly. However, I am pretty uncertain that is the case. I feel like something a lot more sinister occurred within the household.
Here I am to begin the exploration in the game, gone home. Coming first to a player’s mind is a story line that illustrates the daughter, Katie, in a family was traveling back from Europe at the airport and calling her mom. The opening of the story gives little clue but leaves enough space for players to imagine what would happen afterwards. Then, a few minutes later, the screen switched from the airport scene to a house, leaving a dark room for player to freely explore. I firstly noticed that at a rainy night, the house without any people present looked fairly scary and mysterious. The weird atmosphere made me wonder where are the other family members. Turning around and searching for more clues, I noticed that there was a note left by Sam on the door and the door was locked. I read through the note, learning that Sam intended to make me not worried under the current situation. Then I moved around and found that there was a key hidden inside a drawer under an item. That moment marked my excitement and progression for the storyline.
Then I utilized the key and opened the door, coming to another room with access of different rooms. I looked at all the available items left in the house, and gradually explored the layout of the house. There was a sound coming from Sam at some moments and recalling her experience. The depressing music accompanying with the game as it went on intensifies the mysterious effect the designer wanted to display. With all the clues I discovered by myself, I was afraid that the sequence of the story I randomly followed would disrupt my understanding of the entire story. However, it is one of the most interesting features of this game. It gives players enough space to explore freely, no matter what sequence they follow. It is similar to finding out the missing pieces of a puzzle and putting them together gradually to look at the whole picture. The design and freedom the game contains are definitely the highlights for this product.
As I went on the story and unlocked different rooms inside the house, I eventually learned that the sister of Katie, was falling in love with her classmate, Lonnie, and her life was changed dramatically. As for their mom, whose husband was trapped in his depression, she met a nice ranger, Rick, who showed interest in her. Meanwhile, their dad and mom had a talk afterwards and wanted to give their marriage another try by joining a camp. All the mysteries were gradually revealed. The story line is interesting and full of surprise.
This product gives me a totally new angle to look at games in general. A good game is never only produced for entertainment, but also for space learning, detection, and any other sorts of challenges. A game, such as Gone Home, could be filled with emotions and lives if it is well designed. Good game is definitely also a form of literature that is worth appreciating.
This is one of the scenes in the game. It is worth mentioning that all the details in the game, including visual and auditory effects, all intensify the main scary theme of the story. The details in the game is pretty delicate and worth appreciating.
I’ve started live blogging while playing through Gone Home! I have just gotten past the opening of the game and found the key to unlocking the house. Here’s the assignment page.
The game starts off with a dark screen and an audio message the protagonist leaves for her family, saying that she is returning from her trip and will arrive late. The character then starts the game in the front porch, along with the tutorial for different actions, you find out that the protagonist went on a trip to Europe when you open up the backpack and find a passport and flight ticket. The first “stage/scene” is the dark porch with no lights and in the background, with a somewhat creepy mood as you hear heavy rain pouring down. The door is initially locked, and you find a note from Sam saying something about not being able to meet her until someday, which first sets up for the mystery the game will be based around.
I have come to a stop after completely exploring the left wing of house on the first floor (other than the locked basement at the end of the hallway). Through this process, the protagonist finds notes from her younger sister telling her about how her situation at the new high school. Through looking over documents found on the floor and the father’s cabinet, we also learn that this house was inherited from the father’s uncle, and it seems like he has gone crazy before dying and passing his possessions to the father, which is why the student at school call Sam the girl who lives in the psycho house. The father is a writer of books and reviews but through letters from editors we know that his books are not selling, and reviews aren’t liked by the editor, overall in quite a slump. Also, through listening to the recording of the telephone, we learn that Sam seems to have gone missing before our voice message of arriving late to home. Some notes Sam leaves for us about keeping secret what we find in the attic also sets up for upcoming content of the game while giving us a goal of where we might want to look next. The creators so far have been setting up tension for the players with the empty house, continue rain with occasional thunder, as well notes from the sister.
I have now completed the game. The play through took a lot longer than I have expected. There were a lot of things to look for while playing and I had to look up guides at several points while progressing through the game. Instead of the horror I have thought this game might incorporate, it simply told a love story of Sam and her girlfriend Lonnie as I looked searched through the house and found notes and journals left by Sam. There were a lot of clues I had to look out for and even look online sometimes when I have gotten stuck. While playing this game, I realized that you are free to search around areas you have unlocked but there are always “story locked” areas that you will not be able to access. This means that even if you know where certain secret passages are, you cannot access them prior to having found certain story related items. This makes sure that players are getting the full story in proper order but at the same time I found it sometimes frustrating when I have somehow either gone ahead or missed something in certain rooms and need to return and look for clues/items again.
I thought this was a pretty well-made game overall. There were a lot of details relating to the family and the story players find while exploring the house and going through the objects. This way of storytelling through interaction with objects require the players to actively look for clues and think about how they might relate to the main plot as the explore the game.
As the main character, me, walks onto the porch of this house, I immediately start to get chills up my back. It feels as though the neighbor from Hello neighbor decided to become an architect in American foursquare style housing. Who the heck is Sam? The sisters’ letters give great insight to us as we get some background that they just moved in and everyone in the nearby school refers to her sister as the scary house girl. The father is seen to have some job issues at the magazine company, maybe his lack of performance is correlated to the stress of the ominous house. The TV guide circled the show title X-files as probably a reference to their mysterious disappearance. The everlasting weather report also has to do with the mayhem. There are so many books littered around the house trying to help the younger sister fit in.
The older senior Lonnie is cool, I am going to guess that she gets together with the younger sister.
OMG, they do get together. Unsurprisingly the mom was a gold digger and started having an affair once the dad couldn’t pay the bills. That’s why they are living here in the first place because Oscar is a family friend. The parents are so up their own a**es that they do not approve of their homosexual daughter, figures. OH!!!!!!, Sam is the sister and runs away to be with Lonnie.
I just got in the basement and I understand that the dad has been here as a kid since he got the house from Oscar, but is Oscar a pedophile? Unfortunately, I think I was right with his own sister though.
The themes expressed throughout this game aren’t jump scare worthy but so realistic that I am freaking out mentally from just some thoughts projected on a screen. This was truly an exciting game, but creepy nonetheless.
I have a attached a photo of the most obvious, look in me type of safes. It did not disappoint either, we found Oscar’s stash among other things. It showed us why something such as a house could have such a bad reputation. Its not the property’s lot, but the souls and lives that get shredded and torn through. This safe is a truth that needed to be uncovered, this hidden secret is not something to take lightly.
Just started the game, and am already not sure if I should have started so late at night. I’ve played Horror simulation games like Outlast before, and I want no part of that experience – but looking up game reviews I hope there is nothing like that!
Looking through Sam’s personal stuff, I feel like I’m violating the trust of someone I know, even though there are mysterious circumstances of why they are missing.
Saw what looked like blood in a bathtub – turned around and made sure every lamp I could come across was turned on before I investigate the bathtub further – really not in the mood for a jumpscare especially with the thunder going off in game.
Saw it was hair dye – but now Sam’s story about her girlfriend is causing me to get in my feelings, I will continue tomorrow
Continue Game 9-14-20
Just remembered how much not being able to sprint frustrates me.
Just realizing all the Bibles that are stacked up around the house, and am catching on to the controlled burn plotline – not sure how it figures in. But with the Bibles and the religious undertones of the house, and the possible intimate relationship between my sister Sam and her friend – I am guessing there might be a sad conclusion to why she left.
I am starting to think being a completionist is working a bit against me – I am really spending a lot of time reading soap labels and book covers. Also I am still not totally convinced there are no jumpscares because of the tone the thunderstorm sets in game.
Just saw an attic with ominous red lights around it – saving that for last!
Lonnie and Sam are so cute! I feel really conflicted because I am not totally over the horror game vibe – but I want to hear more of the Miss Fits and Captain Allegra!
Laughing at the hidden raunchy wildfire firefighting romance book the Mom hid away!
Escape from Ghost Mansion is not easing my discomort about the possibility of this being a horror game – and neither is the secret passage!
Just read the sign about Sam’s Darkroom – okay, maybe I was overreacting about the ominous attic.
Looking around at the study, learning more about the parents! I really relate to the “How to talk to my teen daughter?” psychology book that was left out – I think I am starting to get a good idea of whats going on.
Took a bit of a break – reading a report about how lights may randomly turn off is not great…
Just realized Boon County is in Oregon – surprisingly topical for the wildfires going on right now! Also, “psycho house girl” scares me again! Is this like the movie Sinister or Poltergeist?
That menstrual cycle assignment Sam wrote was HILARIOUS! Also, the 90’s nostalgia is quite overt – Street fighter, smoking outside the gas station, cassettes – I wasn’t born but I like it!
I think I might be stuck, I’ve walked around for a few minutes and I can’t find the key to open the door, the filing cabinet, or the attic!
Okay, took a break, but made it to the basement, they said “I love you”, so cute!!!
First, you can see the difference between the sisters when reading our character, Katie’s own sex-ed assignment – straightforward and boring – I like Sam way better. Terrence has daddy issues – that criticism was so harsh! Also, Lonnie shipping out makes me very sad that the young love has to end…
Ahhhhh the teenage angst really radiates off the game, especially as someone who had parents a lot like Sam’s – denying instead of confronting conflict.
Im choking up, I’ve never even seen either of these girls and I am so deeply invested in this story. I don’t want Lonnie to go!
Dang, there really are a LOT of secret passages in this house! I am happy to see that there are two writers in the household that are going to crises to find out who they really are!
MY GOD I HAVE GOOSEBUMPS! I can’t fathom how much this game was able to make me feel without having to talk to one human! There were definitely some subplots I paid more attention to than I should have – like the parents, but Sam’s story fills me with a melancholy joy, knowing that she is going to follow her love and just… drive. This game really made me think back on the romantic teen idea of just finding someone to love and following them to the ends of the Earth – because true love prevails. I think there is no other way to describe this game than “it hits you right in the feels!”
I am beginning to play through the game, “Gone Home,” from the request of my English professor, David Morgen. https://eng101f20.davidmorgen.org/quests/side-quests/side-quest-3-liveblogging-gone-home/. From what I can, the opening phone call makes the main character out to be a young girl who got to be on her own for the first time in a faraway place and has newfound confidence in her self by showing her trying to be independent, thus not wanting her mom to pick her up from the airport. However, the grim music and moody lighting of the start give a quick indication of the game genre. Upon arrival, the dark atmosphere, combined with the slow walking pace and heavy rainfall, gives off a mysterious and grim tone to the game. The note on the door with the names mom dad crossed out to show the main character’s oddities as she searches for her family and piece together whatever she possibly can.
I have started the game. My first impression with this game is that it is an open world game, kind of like Grand Theft Auto, but obviously with no violence. I admit that at first I didn’t know how to enter the house so I had to look it up.
I have just entered the house. First, I love that the visuals are immaculate and consistent. The overall theme is dreadful, scary, and quiet. This theme was conveyed very successfully through the wallpapers, the house wooden structures, the dim lightings, the dark colors, and the creepy bathroom on the ground floor.
I am now making my way to the left wing of the house. I am thoroughly impressed at the amount of details the authors put in. The handwritten notes are super realistic. Object arrangements are appropriate as well. The fact that I could grab an object and throw it down the floor or anywhere else gives me the feeling of being home alone, which is true.
The story line and the clues are difficult to follow but that is appropriate since it mirrors real life. I have collected 3 journals now from Sam. I like her soothing and innocent yet depressing voice as it complements the theme of the house and game.
I am going up the stairs. Seems like the same pattern would occur throughout the whole game. My prediction is that we will be able to find Sam after collecting all the voice recorders and having visited the full map.
Overall, Gone Home’s mysterious theme succeeded in making me crave for more after playing the game. I always felt like there was something missing or about to happen while playing the game. Even though it was dead quiet for the most part, the suspense was all there. I felt like every little detail counts and when put together it would become a huge surprise or substantive to the story line.
Just started playing Gone Home. The opening screen shows a house in the forest during the night. The opening music is very ominous, so I speculate that this game is going to be very tense.
Opening sequence: I was honestly pretty scared during the opening sequence. I could still hear the ominous music playing over the rain and occasional thunder which raised my heartbeat. There were also a few occasions where I heard the door creak, the wind gets louder, and the lights flicker from the inside of the room. The use of an audio message from the first-person narrator to her mom was a good way to establish character. It was nice how I could attribute a voice and personality to the character. I spent a few minutes looking around the front porch for more items, but I only found the key. I think the rest of the game will also be scary for me, although the sound of rain and thunder will be softer inside the house.
In the main room: The first thing I did was go to the bathroom because it was the closest room. There was not much there. I also looked through the right closet, but I didn’t find anything. On a desk, to the left of the stairwell, I found a note claiming that my neighbor daniel was weird, and wanted our house back. There was also a message left on the phone desperately asking for Sam. I will most likely go left to see what I can find before going up the stairs.
I checked the first drawer and found an obituary for the man that most likely owned this house before. In the closet next to it, I found a list and a journal entry implying that Sam might be depressed.
Inside the TV room: There was no door to this room, and the TV was on, so that really creeped me out. I looked through the room and there was another journal entry from Samyalking about making friends. Our dad, Terry, seems to be an editor of some kind. He also seems to be obsessed with JFK. I will go to the room next.
Secret room: I went into the secret room and it was really weird at first. I thought it must have been from Oscar, but it ended up being from Sam too. There was a strange red light in one of the rooms, I will check that out next.
Honestly, this really scared me. It was really unexpected. I was afraid to turn over the picture, but I was pretty sure that it would be Oscar because Sam claimed that the house was owned by a psycho. I am interested to see what’s in the attic, although I have a feeling it will be a dead body.
In the secret entrance, I picked up the crucifix and dropped it, and immediately the lights turned off. I immediately turned away and covered my head. I was almost too scared to continue the game, but my fascination drove me on.
End: I finished the game. Honestly, I am kind of disappointed. I am glad Sam is ok and happy, but I was really hoping there were some freaky things going on like Oscar’s ghost haunting the house. I think the game did an excellent job of subverting our expectations and placing things like red paint and scary games in order to build a false sense of fear. I enjoyed my time playing this game.