Wednesday, 6 June 2012

I visited the Design Museum's 'Designs of the Year 2012' exhibition in May. Some great creative work stood out amongst the likes of Alexander McQueen's wedding dress for Kate Middleton, in particular Davey Wreden's gaming experience 'The Stanley Parable', which happened to be very relevant to my narrative project. This mod utilises Half-Life 2′s Source Engine to create a 'metafictional quagmire' come 'mind-fuck en par with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or Albert Camus’ The Stranger.' This genius game breaks up linear storytelling and consequently disrupts immersion with the interference of the narrator.

"You start the game as employee 427, a belabored office worker, who one day finds everyone in his building has suddenly disappeared, and it’s up to you to uncover the mystery behind their disappearance. This is a game where simple decisions (Like do you take the door on your right or the door on your left?) ultimately determines your fate. There are no tutorials, no instructions beforehand, only the brilliant voice-over narration of British actor Kevan Brighting. 

“The whole point of the game is that there is no answer…The entirety of the game is realizing what the question is in the first place,” stated Wreden in an interview with Wired Magazine. What’s even more astounding is that 22-year-old Wreden had never designed a video game previously. The game constantly breaks the fourth wall and there’s no shortage of self-referential jokes to be had either, as the narrator constantly takes delight in reminding the player you’re very much playing a video game. Real gluttons for punishment will try to achieve all six alternate endings but in the end, the game raises more questions than it answers, which is entirely intentional, and depending on your level of open-mindedness you’ll either love or hate this game." - 

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