How a podcast made me face my shame and finish Gone Home
Even though it’s hard for me to admit, I have a problem. I’m a consumerist when it comes to games (damn you Steam and PlayStation sales!), but fortunately this was noticed in time to keep my financial health under control. However, one thing happened recently that helped keep track of my backlog and I decided to share it.
Developed by The Fullbright Company, Gone Home was originally released for PC, Mac and Linux in 2013 and received a huge amount of praise. It even won some “Game of the Year” award, such as: Killscreen, Polygon and Paste Magazine just to name a few.
With such high praise, it was impossible to not pay attention, add it to my Steam Wishlist and wait for an impending huge discount so that I could play it. That eventually happened and as soon as I bought it, Gone Home was sent to one of the most uncharted places known to humanity, also known as my Steam Library.
A couple years passed — you’ve read that right, YEARS — and this title suddenly appeared again on my radar, as was announced it would be released on PS4 and Xbox One. “Hum, maybe if I buy it (again), I’ll finally play it my PS4, given that I’m more used to playing there than on my notebook ” I thought, clearly tricking myself to buy the same game on a different platform, just to have it forgotten again.
And so, a wild sudden feeling of shame appears!
For the record, playing on a PC and not on a console just feels weird. It’s probably due to the fact I always played on consoles while growing up. That combined with the fact that playing games on PC that was mostly used for homework and other non-fun activities kinda blocked the idea that this personal computer thingy could also be used to have fun with games. Heck, I was probably over 25 the first time I ever played World of Warcraft.
But I digress. This story took an interesting turn when Steve Gaynor, one of the co-founders of The Fullbright Company, appeared as a special guest on the Kinda Funny podcast in order to promote Gone Home’s release on consoles. Properly called the “Gone Home Cast“, this episode has more than two hours of length and it focus not only on the independent title, but on Gaynor’s professional journey. Before he joined 2K Marin to work on Minerva Den (a highly praised BioShock 2’s DLC), his professional venture forward that, funding Fullbright, releasing Gone Home and how everything else happened.
This was it. This was what would force me to (FINALLY) beat Gone Home. A more than two hours conversation about the career of this “Gaynor guy” as he talked about his experience in the games industry and why he left Irrational Games, while working alongside Ken Levine on BioShock Infinite (my 2013 Game of the Year. Dear The Last of Us, sorry but not sorry).
I just HAD to complete Gone Home before listening to this talk. And believe it or not, despite having to play it on PC, I was super hyped to do it. Specially because a couple weeks after the episode focused on this title went live, another Kinda Funny´s podcast was published with Steve Gaynor as a special guest where he talked a little about Fullbright’ next project, Tacoma (teaser trailer below).
One of the reasons I became fond of Kinda Funny is because of their relations (and interviews) with notorious game developers. It’s not uncommon to have special guests — eg. Shuhei Yoshida, Shannon Studstill, Keiji Inafune, etc — featured on it’s podcasts. For this reason, listening to PS I Love You XOXO (a PlayStation focused podcast) became one of my favorite weekly mundane activities. Unecessary to say that I highly recommend it. #Ohwait, I think I just did it! #LOL #YOLO #ThugLife
After I finished Gone Home—and agreed with all the praise it received just because wow, what an awesome experience it was — it was predictable that I started to search online for theories and thoughts of the community regarding some of the game’s mysteries and backstory.
This was when I came across with The Transgression — You Can Do Better, a thoughtful article written by Austin Walker (Editor @ Giant Bomb) and a mandatory must-read for those that finish Gone Home. Seriously, it’s worth your time.
Without any spoilers, the image above represents one of the highlights of my experience with this Gone Home. This happened (specially after reading Walker’s article) because it subtlety expanded so many levels of the story, as well as the dimensions of the characters’ relationships in such a way that I just became an instant fan of the way the devs at The Fullbright tell stories.
All of this happened after I listened to a podcast that compelled me to play a game I bought two years ago and never even played until that. I guess the bottom line of all of this for me (and maybe for you too?) is this:
Finish your games. You never know what good will come of it.