The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable

Choice. It is all about choice. Our choices make a difference. The differences make us all unique. We are defined by our choices. This is particularly true when thinking about computer games. We choose which games to play. We choose how to play the games. Our choices are aided by narrative tools. Nothing can go wrong. Everything will be fine. EVERYTHING.

The Stanley Parable is a game that is playing with the concept of choices in computer games. It is a first-person exploration game where we enter the story as Stanley. He is employee 427 in a large company. His work consists of sitting in room 427 looking at a computer screen which is instructing him which buttons to press on his keyboard, and how long to keep those buttons pressed. Suddenly he realises that his screen is blank, and it seems that all his colleagues have suddenly disappeared. Stanley starts looking for them around the offices and the corridors, accompanied by a narrator commentating on his actions.

The Stanley Parable is a deeply pretentious game pretending to be whimsical or, much more probable, a fundamentally whimsical game pretending to be pretentious. I like this kind of ambivalence, underlined by the narrator’s continual balancing on the line between nonsense and thoughtfulness. The gameplay itself is simple, consisting of moving around and interacting with objects, but that is not the point here. The point is to reflect on the concept of choice. Or, maybe, just to enjoy the game as a slightly interactive story with some clever commentary.

I had fun playing the game. I am just trying to hide it behind some pseudo-pretentious drivel.

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