Okay, so, I like Gone Home a lot. I paid full price for it when it came out. I regret doing so; I think it was $15 or $20, and either way, that was a lot of money. $5 on a steam sale, or heck even like $7.50 is a good amount.
Gone Home is a really cool interactive experience which proves that there's tons of room for storytelling in video games. It's definitely one of the more important games of the past few years.
ALL OF THAT SAID
LEARNING ABOUT IT IN GAT120 IS FUCKING STUPID
Gone Home is perhaps the best game in this new budding genre of "walking simulators". Video games in general are in their infancy (or maybe toddlerhood?), and I think this is the problem that DigiPen has to deal with.
Incoming game design students are as follows, from my observations:
- a handful of people who want to design tabletop games
- many people who enjoy playing video games and have their own ideas for video games and want to make them but nutting up and doing programming is HAAAAARD (BSGDs are not part of this group)
- many people who enjoy playing video games and have had an idea for a game once or twice and they have rich (usually Redmond) parents who see DigiPen as a way of channeling their love of watching League of Legends matches into something productive and respectable, working in the tech industry like the parents do
- a handful of people who have a great mind for design and actually think about the design of the games they play and want to use this insight to design games of their own
- many people who enjoy games with good story and think that a game design degree will somehow help them get a job writing for games one day (some of these people overlap with the second group)
Here, BAGDers, I'll do your homework for you:
Gone Home is not a well-designed game. I'd even argue whether it's a game. It's an interactive experience where you move around and interact with stuff and watch the story unfolds. When you make it to the final area of the game, the game ends and the credits roll.
It's not a poorly-designed game; the stuff that you can interact with is laid out well and mostly believably. Sometimes you'll think to yourself "man, it's weird that like, clues that point to your mom (almost(? I can't remember, it's been awhile since I've played it)) had an affair are just littered around the house where anyone can find them." But the game does a decent job of making you turn that part of your brain off and just enjoy exploring the richly-realized game world.
The walk speed is fine. Picking stuff up is fine.
Like… what is there to talk about? There's almost no mechanics, and the ones that exist are totally fine (like I said, walking, picking stuff up). The environments are great, but that has nothing to do with game design.
Gone Home is a great interactive experience but should not be seen as an example of good game design, especially when you're taking GAT110 (whatever that even means anymore) and you have Holcomb classes coming up. I don't know what you're supposed to glean from it.
DigiPen's design program is fucking retarded.