Yes, videogames. Sometimes I get into them. Granted, this is a rare thing. I think the last videogame I actually completed was Myst. That was twenty fucking years ago.
But anyway, I like to read about videogames more than I like to play them, and yesterday I read about a game called Gone Home and it sounded like something I’d dig (it’s pretty similar to Myst, actually). In fact, it sounded like a video game version of an idea I’d come up with myself a few years back, and wrote up in this story called The Secret House Idea which I published on my website back in 2009. Here’s a bit of it:
As you furnish [the house] you begin to create an imaginary family who lived there. You designate rooms for certain people. The parents would probably have the largest bedroom, and maybe there’s a room for a son and a daughter. Or maybe a broken family lived there, like some deadbeat parent who never was around, and the kid just took over the place, inviting all of his friends to stay there and trashing the place. Then again, maybe he cared for it, and made it into a private teenage paradise.
So now you’ve created a living space for these people. The next step is understanding who they are. You have to create an entire life for them – letters, diaries, old telephone bills, recipe books…everything. You have to create this family out of thin air.
Once you had it all created, all laid out, you could invite people there. Or, you could just leave the door unlocked and let people find it.
The house would be stuck in time, as if the occupants left one afternoon and never returned.
They could snoop through the detritus of this imagined life, pick and prod through these people’s things and get to know them, create this grand story that you’ve conceived only through what you’ve left behind, these certain clues, pieces to the puzzle.
It’s actually kind of insane how much Gone Home matches up with my idea, which I don’t say to pat myself on the back (well, not too much) but more to express to you how much this game appealed to me on a basic level. It’s not an intense game by any means – I met its objective within a couple of hours – but it’s pretty singular in the way that it creates a world and allows you to explore it. Highly recommended!