Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable was recently released to much critical acclaim and I have finally gotten around to playing it. It was a wonderfully unique and unexpected experience, that plays very much like a interactive film more then any traditional gaming genre.

It is currently a Half Life 2 mod but is already being remade, with no word yet as to what form the finished product will take. Not that it really warrants a remake, the quality and polish is already quite fantastic; And while I am sure all developers always have some great ideas that don't make it into their finished projects, The Stanley Parable feels quite like a whole game, even if it is quite short.

 The game is divided into six endings, all distinct, with varying amounts of overlapping journey between them and even quite a bit of contradiction (but with all of them being considered canonical). The game was made to be played at least a few times with multiple endings encountered and it should only take an hour or two to see all of them.

The entire game is delightfully meta, narrated by the smooth voiced and very talented Kevan Brighting, and themed around choice. For almost the entire time playing the narrator will be talking and it is he that really sets the scene, advances the plot, and provides the desire and force to act. He is everything, the rest of the game is quite minimalistic. The graphics are good, but are not supposed to dazzle or take the attention away from the plot, and the interaction is quite minimal. The crux of the game is that all the choices you make matter, not only in the immediate future but for the rest of the playthrough.

In short, the game is basically perfect at what it tries to do and is ridiculously fun to play. It will not be for everyone, but for the people who enjoy it, it will surely leave an impression.

My mini-review of The Stanley Parable.

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