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On The Stanley Parable

I played the demo of this game and was intrigued and excited for such a concept.

The narrator is reminiscent of GlaDos, only male and not made out to be a machine. Based in the Half-Life 2 Source engine, the graphics were workable (although about 9 years old now). The game itself was pretty damn cool. The options, the meta-narrative, the commentary and subtle mind-games: all swell.

I liked the game and was thoroughly impressed with the design, the narration, the idea, the Deadpool-esque casual breaking of the 4th wall--nearly everything. I won't get into the descriptions of the various choices you can make and the interactions with the narrator they produce--the main review on GameInformer handles this well enough, but they are good.

The downside (and it is a rather large downside)--the game costs $15 bucks, and lasts only about an hour or two, even if you did all of the possible endings, of which I did about 90% of them. One of the endings requires over four hours on non-stop nonsense gaming involving pressing a button to keep a cardboard cutout of a baby from being pushed into a fire (and then dual-nonsense of preventing a cardboard cut-out of a puppy from falling into some piranhas, but I decided not to waste my time and simply watched this ending on YouTube. This game should have cost $5 bucks or less for the time the game actually lasts. Before the purchase, I was hopeful. After the purchase and after beating the game in it's entirety, I was pissed off at the cost/play ratio. Any other game of this length would have been a few dollars, not $15.

Knowing now how long the game lasts, I would not have purchased it. I would have waited a year or more until the costs decreased to about $5 bucks. But the game was fun, and compelling. Just not for $15 bucks. If it was three times longer, with three times the number of choices, then sweet. Ultimately, the choices are quite limited. I believe there are around 10-15 different endings, but some of them are so obscure I am baffled as to why (or how?) some players even managed to find them. Finding them requires the most illogical behaviors and almost-stupid amounts of re-starting the game (re-starting the game doesn't necessarily mean you lose progress--re-starting is a part of the game itself). 

 

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