It’s that time of the year, the time that some people look forward to, and others dread. I’m talking about returning home for the holidays. You know, catching up with your family and spending time with the people you grew up with. Imagine if after a long flight home, you arrive at your family’s house to find a note taped to the door that vaguely explains that all of your family is gone, with no real explanation as to where they went or why they’re gone.
It’s like a reverse Home Alone.
This situation is also the premise for the Fullbright Company’s 2013 indie release Gone Home. You play as Kaitlin Greenbriar, a young college student who has just returned from a trip abroad, and finds herself in this same situation. Except, in Gone Home, it’s 1995 and you don’t have the luxury of pulling out a phone to instantly reach out to any of those missing family members. Instead, Gone Home uses the vacant Greenbriar residence as a narrative vessel filled with all sorts of clues that provide context to what’s happened to your family since you’ve been away. As you progress through the game, you manage to get a strong sense of who the Greenbriars are purely through the notes left in their rooms, the books on their shelves, the VHS recordings in their TV room, and countless other items. The further you dive into the corridors of the Greenbriar house, the more you gain a sense of attachment to its missing inhabitants.
Immersion and ambiance are the forte of The Fullbright Company, as its a developer composed of veterans from 2K Marin–the studio behind Bioshock 2. Clearly their experience in working on the iconic Bioshock city, Rapture, transferred over into the development of Gone Home as the game’s environment completely immerses you into June 1995–a time that now seems both recent and foreign.
Interested in diving into a charming, intriguing, mystery that centers on the ever popular Holiday topic “what have you been up to?”?
Then give Gone Home a shot.