Hello there, AmbiGaming readers!
LightningEllen here and happy to be babbling on the Goddess of Wisdom’s wonderful website. One of the few writing gigs I try to take very seriously, eh.
In February of this year (it’s March already… just had to take that in for second… wow) I had the pleasure of playing a neat little game I had heard so many good things about: Gone Home! I’ll leave out the part about how it was for failed plan for me to beat four games in February… because that’s another story for another post on another website, probably.
Anyway, Gone Home more than lived up to the epic story experience that the fine folks on the internet had promised. And to be honest, I had no idea what I was expecting before I jumped into this game world. That’s also the best way to experience this particular video game narrative masterpiece so:
SPOILER WARNING if you haven’t played Gone Home yet. Read no more and go check it out! It’s a short but incredibly memorable experience, that’s for sure.
Alright. If anything from now on spoils the game for you, that’s on you for not heeding my clearly presented spoiler warning above. I’m now totally guilt free if that happens to you. Seriously. It’s best to know nothing about it prior to a playthrough…
In Gone Home, you pick up the first-person role of Katie the world-travelling sister who comes home to a disturbingly empty house. Unsure of where the heck her little sister, Sam, and parents are, you begin exploring the house in typical walking simulator fashion. You slowly sift though documents, interact with the usual ’90s household objects, and listen to narrated journal entries from Sam, all in an effort to uncover what in the name of the Maker is going on here. And hopefully not get attacked by any horrible monsters along the way, because damn, the neighbourhood “psycho house” house sure gives off hella spooky vibes.
I honestly wasn’t sure if this was a horror game or not right up until the very end. The developers are sneaky and continuously throw out red herring horror elements to keep you guessing. Sadly, the only horrific monster living in this house is named homophobia, which is actually one of the most disgusting real life creatures out there. I’d like to think that creature has a lot less power in today’s society, but it’s still out there being a, well, ass to innocent people who are simply in love with each other. Why is that such a bad thing to those intolerant monsters out there? There is nothing that makes me angrier than seeing people get abused for being true to who they are.
So yes, no traditional bump-in-the-night monsters in this horror house. It turns out Sam had fallen madly in love with a badass girl named Lonnie, had a falling out with her intolerant parents, almost lost Lonnie forever, but then ran off with her so they could be together in peace. Before the credits roll, Sam apologizes to Katie in letter form for having to do this, and she promises they will see each other again… someday. It was a bittersweet moment that almost made me cry. I pictured Sam and Lonnie living happily ever after together and showing up to say “Hi!” to Katie one day, but who knows what other demons Lonnie and Sam will have to face out in the cruel less tolerant ’90s world? I like to think true love always wins. I really do.
For my own complicated romantic reasons, I’m pretty “meh” or “ugh” about most romance stories I see in media. If I don’t feel an emotional bond between the characters a creator is saying are in love, I’m gonna hate it. Mindless and cliched sexy time action just doesn’t click with me at all. Yada yada yada… and you know what? I really cared about the relationship between Sam and Lonnie, even though you never actually meet them in the game. That says A LOT about how masterfully the developers spun this story.
The only glimpse of Sam in the game comes in the form of documents, left behind objects, and as I mentioned above, narrated-by-Sam journal entries you stumble across while rummaging through the house. And wow… those were more than enough of a trigger for me to become emotionally invested in the romance story between Sam and her girl. Hearing Sam honestly explain how she felt about Lonnie while telling the story of how their love evolved was just… so freaking beautiful… sniffs.
Besides showing off the wonderful love thing, the delightful documents in Gone Home painted a lucid picture of Sam’s sweet and sarcastic soul. She totally seems like one of the coolest video game characters I’ve never actually met in a game. From her enjoyment of video games to her entertaining creative writings, I’d like to think Sam would make an awesome friend if I ever met her.
Here are some of my favourite windows into Sam’s physically absent character. The little details in these documents shine brighter than gems.
Ah, stupid school assignments are the worst. Sam creatively turned a boring ol’ sex ed assignment into a gripping narrative about Essa surviving in war torn Poland and living to reproduce another day. Shame on that teacher for stifling creativity! And yep, school aged me did similar things on assignments.
Video game are for life, yo. You’ll come across lovely SNES cartridges and a note detailing how to execute Chun Li’s moves effectively. Woot for the Lightning Kick!
We learn all about Lonnie through Sam’s heartfelt descriptions and notes passed back and forth between the pair. It was very cool to see that Lonnie had military aspirations, even though that career plan didn’t exactly work out.
Ah, those horror red herrings… Was there actually a ghost haunting the “psycho house”? Unlikely, but reading Sam’s Sighting Journal was entertainingly spooky.
More of those awesome notes and fantastic doodles! These make Sam and Lonnie seem like real teenagers. All the more aww!!
This looks so badass and Google tells me it’s an actual comic. Hm.
You just can’t help but cheer for Sam! She’s a real character with real thoughts and real feelings. How she experiences love is just a wonderful part of who she is, despite the stupid intolerance she has to endure over something so magical.
Video games like this play a critical role in showing the masses that there is more than one valid way for adults to love each other, and ALL forms of true love are beautiful and brilliant beasts to celebrate. Who cares if you’re physically attracted to the opposite sex, the same sex, both sexes, or no sex at all? As far as I’m concerned, there will never be enough representation in media until we can turn this cruel world of ours into the ever-loving place I wish it was.
What about you, internet? Did you play Gone Home? Are you as big of a Sam fangirl as I am? Do you think this world will ever be a decent place for everyone to live in? Lemme know in the comments section thingy below!
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