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Gone Home is an emphatic example of a developer showcasing how games as a medium can be more than they are often perceived or designed to be.
Not because it's mechanics are superb, simple and clumsy as they are. Nor because it crafts a grand and extensive world, instead content to set itself entirely within a normal home somewhere during the mid 90's. It's noteworthy almost for the fact that it's so ordinary and simplistic, intended not as an epic adventure, an adrenaline pumping blockbuster, or a deep and intricate journey to build up your character before the final battle.
Gone Home is merely the story of a family, flawed and broken in places but held together by an intrinsic bond they're unable or unwilling to break, and thus are forced to come to terms with their own internal issues or watch as their world begins to fall apart around them.
In this you are little more than an onlooker; an intruder even. Rifling through drawers, reading through letters and diaries; looking in places people aren't supposed to be looking and the private affairs contained within. It creates an almost uncomfortable intimacy between you and these characters, who despite being nothing but fictional creations feel very real and relatable.
And that is where Gone Home's "boring" premise proves its brilliance. In creating such an unremarkable setting it presents itself with an opportunity to tell a story that feels almost biographical, centering largely around a teenage girl on a personal journey of self discovery as she makes her way through adolescences with a familiar naivety and passion. It's a narrative that exists almost more for discussion and contemplation than simply a piece of fiction to be taken in and then discarded like so much other enjoyable yet shallow entertainment we absorb, nuanced and deeply personal and demanding of further dissection and analysis than I'm likely capable of providing.
And not everyone is going to appreciate it for what it is, writing it off as "not a game", overhyped, and no doubt "pretentious" and "preachy", and that's fine. Gone Home isn't a game designed for the larger gaming audience; the people who would rather play an online match with some friends or ponder over stat choices than spend time discussing a narrative that's so close to home (pun not intended) and fulled by larger societal issues and contexts.
Gone Home is here as more of an example that games have the ability to exist as more than a bundle of flashy mechanics and visuals; that they can inspire topics of debate and interest beyond their immediate selves as a more thoughtful voice amid so much noise. I hope its not the only one I'll be hearing in the future.