Over 3 years ago, Gone Home hit the PC market to rave reviews. I’ve always wanted to play it, having high hopes that it would make its way to the PS4 at some point. After a while, Fullbright started working on their next game, Tacoma, and no progress was reported about the console ports for Gone Home. I became sad at the fact that I may never get to play this game. Fortunately, Fullbright came to their senses and with some help from Midnight City, Gone Home : Console Edition was finally released on January 12th. I can’t wait to start playing this game!
Okay, time to play. While I won’t be necessarily spoiling Gone Home’s story, I will be including early character details from things I’ve found, mainly to keep track for my own memory. I would hope that whomever is reading this has already played Gone Home, but that is not always the case.
Here I go…
Gone Home takes place on June 7th, 1995, outside of a house. I’m assuming it’s my house. I don’t know. I push the touch pad, and open up the Items section to see my passport and my boarding pass. Okay, I’m playing as Kaitlin Greenbriar, who I overheard leaving a message for her parents as the game started. She said something about getting a late flight and that she’d find her own way home, that her parents didn’t have to pick her up. Boarding Pass shows that I had been traveling in Europe for a year. I departed from Amsterdam to Portland, and then transferred to Cincinatti. Now I’m home in Portland.
I’ve just started, but I gotta say, this game is freaky in how realistic it appears. In many ways, it reminds me of how BioShock’s atmosphere affected me. Then I remembered that three members of the Fullbright staff previously worked at 2K Marin on the Minerva’s Den DLC for BioShock 2.
I’m going around the house searching for clues and notes. Pretty soon, I start receiving journals from Kaitlin’s younger sister, Sam. The house is full of boxes; the family just moved to Portland, I guess. Sam made these journal entries for Kaitlin since she was traveling around Europe and hard to get a hold of.
Sam learns that her house is known by all the kids at school as the “Psycho house”. Apparently the previous owner, a man named Oscar Masan, died in the house. As it turns out, Mr. Masan bequeathed the home to his nephew, Mr. Greenbriar, in his Will.
The father, Terrence, seems to be obsessed with writing fictional thriller stories about JFK and a character named John Russell who saves him. It appears he’s having trouble finding a publisher, and is working freelance writing audio / visual equipment reviews. The Mother, Janice, works for the forestry service as the Senior Conservationist. She is supervising a controlled burn at a National Forest. A forest ranger (“Ranger Rick”) was transferred to aid Janice with the controlled burn. It appears that Janice and this “Ranger Rick” are having a secret fling. Between Terrence’s failed attempts at being an author, Janice’s possible affair, Kaitlin being gone most of the time, and Sam quickly approaching college, it would appear that this family is falling apart.
One room in the house is full of recordable VHS tapes. Some of the labels can be read, and it’s pretty good stuff; Robocop, Blade Runner, Top Gun, James Bond, etc. There’s also quite a few mentions of Street Fighter and Nintendo. Samantha loved Street Fighter and played a lot of video games at her old neighbor Daniel’s house. Well, really, she was just Daniel’s friend because he had all the good Nintendo games. I think we’ve all been guilty of doing that.
Samantha is also obsessed with this punk girl named Lonnie at school. She has pink hair, sometimes wears military clothes, and also loves Street Fighter. Sam tries to find ways to introduce herself, to have an excuse to talk to her. Lonnie and her friends play Street Fighter at the 7-11 everyday after school. One day, Sam plays Street Fighter at the 7-11 and Lonnie is there. She asks to see the “Psycho House”. Of course, Sam obliges. To Sam, Lonnie is someone who she can finally feel normal around. Lonnie even made her a mixtape!
I have to say that this house is enormous. It’s enormous! I’m constantly finding new rooms to explore and checking out hidden items that I didn’t find in the previous playthrough. The game basically entails walking around the huge house and and looking at items. Some items will include an audio diary from Sam about certain situations in her life.
Gone Home has a fairly simple 100% trophy completion rate. The only real challenging trophy requires beating the game in less than a minute, but once you know your way around the house, it’s not that hard. There’s very little room for error, however.
I can’t express enough at how happy I am just to be playing something new and different. Gone Home was a welcomed change. I really enjoyed exploring every nook and cranny of the house. Each time I played, I found something new. Gone Home also really nails what it’s like to live in a creepy old house. The story, however, didn’t really resonate with me. Without going into spoiler territory, the story deals with love for another person. Outside of my family, I can’t say that I’ve felt love in my life (yet). If I had experienced love, I probably would’ve enjoyed the story more because I would have understood what these characters were feeling. I highly recommend Gone Home, even if you haven’t experienced some of its themes.