Why you should play Gone Home

So I played Gone Home on Friday night and have been thinking about it ever since. It’s breathtaking.

It’s also hard to describe. It’s more an interactive story than a game. It calls itself a “story exploration game.” The story is presented to you in the form of a creepy old house, which you have to explore to discover what happened to your family.

You play Kaitlin Greenbriar, just home from a year-long gap year tour of Europe. Your family moved to a new house in the woods while you were away. Your taxi gets you home after midnight on June 7, 1995. You’re greeted by a sign on the door from your sister Amy apologizing for leaving you alone but warning you not to go looking around find out what happened.

So, of course, that’s exactly what you do.

Gone Home is really the story of Sam. As you uncover notes and letters, she’ll give you a voice-over giving you a bit more of her backstory.

I fell in love with Sam just a little bit.

And I really don’t want to say much more than that about the content of the game. Because it’s really best to go into it without pre-conceived notions about what it’s meant to be. I will say there are no guns or really any puzzles. You’re just exploring the house learning what happened to Amy and the rest of your family. And it’s utterly engrossing.

There’s a mystery to be solved, and as you start to put together the lives of the characters who comprise your family, you very much start to feel for them. You dread what you might discover, but you need to find it out anyway. Some of it is uncomfortable and some of it is utterly endearing. There are so many feels. I cried at the end.

I loved it. You should play it.

Gone home is $20 either through Steam or direct and DRM-free via their website. It runs on Windows, Mac and, of course, Ubuntu. It’s currently 10% off, but that sale is ending very soon.