June 7th, 1995. 1:15 AM You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something's not right. Where is everyone? And what's happened here? Unravel the mystery for yourself in Gone Home, a story exploration game from The Fullbright Company.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (11,496 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 15, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"Approach neither from the position of hype or hatred for maximum effect. Well-observed storytelling in a highly atmospheric and unconventional setting."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“Gone Home is the greatest video game love story ever told.”
The New York Times

“I never expected to see myself — or such a strong reflection of myself and my own life — in a video game.”
10/10 – Polygon

“Epic, personal and revelatory.”
5/5 – Giant Bomb

Commentary Mode now available!

Your copy of Gone Home now includes Developer Commentary Mode! More than an hour and a half of audio commentary from the developers of the game. Find it in the Modifiers menu when starting a new game! Enjoy!!

About This Game

June 7th, 1995. 1:15 AM

You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something's not right. Where is everyone? And what's happened here? Unravel the mystery for yourself in Gone Home, a story exploration game from The Fullbright Company.

Gone Home is an interactive exploration simulator. Interrogate every detail of a seemingly normal house to discover the story of the people who live there. Open any drawer and door. Pick up objects and examine them to discover clues. Uncover the events of one family's lives by investigating what they've left behind.

Go Home Again.

Key Features


  • A Personal Story: created by veterans of the BioShock series and the writer behind Minerva's Den, Gone Home offers the rich, nuanced details of one family's struggles to deal with uncertainty, heartache, and change.

  • An Immersive Place: return to the 1990s by visiting a home where every detail has been carefully recreated, and the sounds of a rainstorm outside wrap you in the experience.

  • No Combat, No Puzzles: Gone Home is a nonviolent and puzzle-free experience, inviting you to play at your own pace without getting attacked, stuck, or frustrated. This house wants you to explore it.

  • Fully Interactive Investigation: discover what's happened to the Greenbriars by examining a house full of the family's personal possessions, and the notes and letters they've left behind. Use your powers of observation to piece together a story that unfolds as you explore.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • WindowsXP SP2 or higher
    • 1.80GHz Processor
    • 2GB Memory
    • Video card with 512MB of VRAM
    • (NOTE: Intel HD Graphic 4000 NOT CURRENTLY SUPPORTED on Windows 8)
    • 2GB HDD space
    Minimum:
    • OS X v10.7 Lion or higher
    • 1.80GHz Processor
    • 2GB Memory
    • Video card with 512MB of VRAM
    • 2GB HDD space
    • glibc 2.11 or newer
    • 1.80GHz Processor
    • 2GB Memory
    • Video card with 512MB of VRAM
    • 2GB HDD space
Helpful customer reviews
1,438 of 1,938 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
*WARNING* This review contains spoilers

Oh boy, where do I start with this game? How about that it was an astronomically huge bait and switch?

The beginning of this game was interesting, had a great atomosphere, and kept me invested enough to want to solve this "games" so-called mystery. Then the development team decide to do a complete 180 near the end of the game and throw everything straight out the window. The ending did not pay off, plain and simple.

So back in the year 2013 this game was getting an incredible amount of praise from various video game review sites, which was my inital reason for playing it and even knowing it existed. After having played it though, I found out how overhyped this game truly was. It didn't even come close to what some of these critics were claiming it was. They acted as if it was something truly revolutionary and worthy of game of the year. It is by no means worthy of such a prestigious title. It's actually an insult to the gaming industry for it to even be considered for game of the year.

The only thing you do in this so-called "game" is walk throughout a house finding clues/specific items which when interacted with will then trigger voice recording from your "missing" sister. The voice recordings will give you a very small backstory on your sisters mindset and they will also give you a hint as to where you can find the next clue/item. This is what the entire game consists of and it became repetitious rather quickly. It got so repetitious to the point where the game became a chore to complete.

Before I go on to talk about what really bothered me with this game, let me give you a brief premise of the story. You play as Kaitlin Greenbriar who returns home to find her parents house empty. Her mom, dad, and sister are no where to be found. YOU and only YOU must find out what happened to her family.

Now that we're all caught up, let's talk about the games completely uninteresting uneventful ending. This is what really made me angry and is the reason I am writting this review. Obvious SPOILERS ahead. So it turns out Kaitlin's mom and dad happen to be on a camping trip while she decides to return home. So it's just a case of she's at the wrong place, at the wrong time. She probably should of called first before returning home unannounced, am I right?. Now what happened to her adorable little sister you may be wondering - Well, let's dive right into it. The entire reason her sister is no where to be found is because she decided to run away while your parents were on their camping trip due to a homosexual relationship in which they didn't approve of. Yes, she ran away with her girlfriend and decided to drop out of high school to live happily ever after in La La Land . What a great life descision.

I believe the ending is the entire reason the game got any recognition from the critics. It got the recognition because it tackles a controversial subject like homosexuality. Now I support equality to the fullest, that's not the problem here. The problem is the first half of this game hinted at paranormal themes and seemed as if it were going to go in a completely different direction then it acutally ended up going. It's pretty clear that the paranormal/mystery aspect of the game was used to bait consumers into buying this piece of trash. Had I known it was all a front for love story mumbo jumbo I wouldn't even touched this game. The game even had a damn Ouija board in it at one point for crying out loud. It not only had that but it also had a genuinely erie atmosphere with great ambient sounds that thickned it to the fullest extent. There were creeks, faint voices, and thunderstrkes that would all occur as you would walk throughout the house.

I'm just so disappointed about the direction the devolpers decided go because very few video games have as great of an atmosphere as this one did during the first half of the game. This game really could have turned out to be a truly great horror/mystery title. However, the developers decided to throw that great atmosphere out the window with this love story bullcrap. I would also like to point out that just because a game chooses to tackle a controversal subject does not make it revolutionary or something of good quality. I'm talking to you video game critics

I personally believe this game isn't worth buying by any means whatsoever. It definitly isn't worth the $20 price tag that's for damn sure. To be completely blunt, I'm not even sure something like this can even be considered a game. Walking simulator fits it better.

TL;DR (Contains spoilers): This game is extremely repetitious, the main characters mom and dad are not actually missing but are on a camping trip, and main characters sister is a full blown lesbian who dropped out of high school to run away and live happily ever after with her girlfriend while their parents were on said camping trip.
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489 of 712 people (69%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
I know this is a storyline-based game, so I'm going to review it as one (no ''omg there is no gameplay its just walking and listening to ur character 2/10'').

The ambiance is quite good. Also lots of nostalgic stuff for 90s kids, i guess.
The storyline, however, is thin, and not very interesting.
This game would maybe be an okay buy if it was cheaper (5 - 10 euro would be alright). But 20 euros for this? Especially considering the game can be finished in 2 hours, It's best if you skip this one.

5/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
338 of 501 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 22
This game is the reason i don't trust games journalist review scores anymore
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
364 of 549 people (66%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
Gone Home is... okay. There's nothing particularly terrible about it, but it's hardly this amazing, revelatory experience that it's been portrayed as in the media. It's just a very short, straightforward game of exploration, in which a fairly simple story of teenage love and rebellion is fed to you through bits and pieces of notes and spoken journal entries you find while exploring a large, abandoned house. But this game does absolutely nothing innovative, unlike the pre-release hype proclaimed. There have been hundreds of games with more compelling stories, and this game introduces no original mechanics. I took my time and explored the entire house, and I beat the game in three sessions totalling 81 minutes.

Again, it's not bad, it's just an utter ripoff for $20. I got it in a large Humble Bundle package, paying about a dollar for it, and it's decent value at that price, but there's no way I'd pay more than five bucks, and even that is stretching it. I'd be ♥♥♥♥♥♥ if I'd paid full retail for it. You can find many many games that will be far more engrossing, more entertaining, and just plain longer at this price point.
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190 of 301 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
Games for a very long time have been about fun, enjoyment, a leisurly pass time that people use to escape the harshness of reality, or to acheive something great and experience something unique to them. Recently, though, a lot of game journalists and critics have started to talk about the need for less violent, less action-heavy, and more original games focusing on things we've never seen in games. As a result, games like Gone Home were created to fill the niche people have been looking for. What should have been (and would have been) bottom-of-the-bin indie story games have since become critically acclaimed classics. I'm not one to bash any game, since the creation of more unique games is never a bad thing, but to praise this game among others in the same genre who did it better, is ridiculous.

This game was basically the almagamation of the perfect parts to create a game that appeals to exactly everything critics were looking for at the time; 2 parts visual novel, 1 part taboo story, and 99 parts contrived. The phrase "oscar-bait" really comes to mind when I think of Gone Home, almost as if it were a paint-by-numbers on how to create a game critics will love for that year. It delivers nothing we haven't seen already, while delivering it in a way that we've seen more than a handful of times, but it was released at just the right time and played by just the right people to get it major acclaim from journalists and critics, something alot of the other games in this genre didn't get.

"Gameplay"

Gone Home is an interesting beast in that it delivers all of it's gameplay in a way that we've seen before, and is still not interesting in this format either. There is no gameplay other than picking up letters, cassette tapes, random household items, and keys (to name a few) and observing them or adding them to your inventory to advance the plot. While observing these objects, you can read the text on a note, or rotate the objects to observe all sides a la L.A. Noire, and sometimes find information like lock combinations and secret locations on the map. In that respect, the game does the minimal investigation very well, but then it faulters over it by placing a million objects in the game that serve no purpose. Since the game has no direct way of really determining what is important, it's just as likely that a three ring binder could have valuable information than a book with some information on it. You could spend a lot of time picking things up hoping to get something important only to find out that everything is pointless to interact with, and only a few key elements are there for any real reason.

Ultimately, it's a game that lacks any real interaction, and real mechanical substance, and leaves the player feeling as though they're not being engaged and have 0 agency in the game world they're a part of. All of these facts can be a great way to present an interesting story to the player, one they have no control over and have to experience no matter what decisions they make. Sadly, though, the game doesn't take that opportunity and just creates a bunch of hoops the player has to jump through to experience the rest of the narrative. You have to work for the narrative by way of abitrary hoops, but the game hands you the solutions, then you can continue and "experience" the rest of the narrative. Had they simply added some challenge, some actual thought, something like piecing together clues instead of just having the clues handed to you, there would be a very interesting mechanic in the game that would have really pushed this closer to being a game than a "jump through the hoop to advance the plot" story.

Atmosphere and Story

Gone Home is something that got stuck between being a movie and being a book. As a movie, it would've been terrible since it has nothing of substance for the person to experience other than seeing the character experience something. As a book, it has very little build up and is nothing more than just reading about someone reading some notes with very little internal dialogue and character devleopment outside of the few audio/text logs given by the sister. It delivers it's narrative in a way very few games have before, but is in such a way that no game (or any narrative) should ever be delievered. The story is presented entirely through narrative set pieces, naration by the sister of the main character, and notes scattered through-out the game. As far as I'm aware, story writing 101 is to not give the entirety of your exposition by way of indirect narrative (i.e. something the audience can't actually see occuring). If the game was you playing as the lesbian sister and seeing all of the consequences and making the choices and experiencing the hardships, this could have been a perfect story, and something we truly had never seen in video game format before.

In terms of atmosphere, this is barely at "visual novel" levels. It has set pieces and locations that can be interpreted as showing off the mood and personality of different characters. Other than the maybe two or three set pieces that really evoke this emotion, there is very little to help visually tell the story other than creating a set-piece to something mentioned in a note or audio log. Something that really broke the immersion (or lack there of) for me, was the fact that there were a million notes scattered through this house that's supposed to be somewhat realistic. No one has that many notes in their house. It's almost as if the house is just a big collection of "ooo look, something from a classic movie that realistically makes no sense"! There's trap doors, walls that just seemingly open up for no reason, and a totally stable cavern under the house that also makes little to no sense in reality. The atmosphere of the game is completely broken when you take the few poorly implemented "gamey" elements that the game tries to include, and apply them to the serious narrative the game tries to put across.

My biggest gripe with this whole game, and the biggest flaw in it, is the fact that it sets up so many possible scenarios and gives a really tense, almost horror-like feeling. A lot of people have attested the feeling of constant tenseness to the feeling the character has when they arrive home to see a life they know very little about anymore. That would be acceptable if the game was invoking a sense of anything other than tenseness/anxiety. Creating a constant tenseness or minor anxiety for the sake of making a narrative point is just annoying, and results in the player feeling mentally exhausted and getting little payoff for it. Ultimately, the game taking an approach that was the exact ending it seemed to be setting out the whole time seems lazy since it doesn't match up with the eery atmosphere the game was evoking the entire time

Conclusion

What it all boils down to is a game that, if it were released any other time, would've been extremely niche, and avoided by a lot of people. It's passable at best, and presents nothing we haven't already seen done better. The atmosphere is confused, the narrative is boring and presented in an extremely unengaging way, and the lack of gameplay leaves the player in an empty "jump-through-the-hoop" scenario to just advance the plot to see if anything interesting ever happens. If you're looking for a game that is a visual novel, I'd aim more towards a game like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons or any Telltale game since they deliver in all of the aspects this game fails to (plot progession by more than arguous tasks, real character connection, a feeling of agency, and a real plot that is more than just some "cute" dialogue between characters). If you can guess the plot of a story game because you've seen the exact same elements in other mediums, then there is something inherently wrong with calling it the game of the year.
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