PC Gamer

The acclaimed first-person exploration game The Stanley Parable has been out for a few years now, and so you might think that its days of being updated are well behind it. But you'd be wrong. In a post at galactic-cafe.com, co-creator Davey Wreden explained that a bizarre black monolith that appears at the conclusion of an equally bizarre mini-game that nobody was actually supposed to complete isn't meant to be there. And he feels pretty bad about the whole thing. 

"Somewhere in the making of Stanley Parable, someone had the idea that it would be really funny if there was a mini-game that you had to play that was really tedious and not at all fun, and that the game should ask you to play it for 4 hours. Thus the Baby Game was born: a game in which the baby crawls from right to left into the fire, and you press a button to delay the baby’s death by a few seconds, over and over, for 4 hours," Wreden explained. 

Naturally, the developers assumed that nobody would actually do this, but on the off-chance that someone might be so persistent Wreden slapped a brief message about "the essence of divine art" at the end of the thing and called it a day. And of course people did do it, and saw the message, and also that black monolith, which lends the whole thing an air of vaguely sinister mystery. But the monolith is a bug: It is, in fact, the remains of a sliding door that got past the testers because nobody bothered to test it. 

It's not the presence of the monolith that's the problem, though, but that it's covering up some of the text in the Baby Game message: that, and the fact that, in retrospect, it all feels a little "cheap" to get a 95-word message in exchange for four hours of clicking a button. "I guess if I had watched someone play it ahead of time I would have tried to go back and do something to make the ending feel more substantial. But like I said, we never really assumed anyone would actually do it, so I never bothered to put myself in the shoes of someone who might play it to completion," he wrote. "Years later I still feel weird about it." 

Since it's too late to make the payoff more meaningful, Wreden said the least he can do is make it legible. Hopefully. "That’s the reward we intended people to get, so dammit that’s what they’re gonna get," he continued. "The update we’re pushing today will remove the monolith and make all the text legible... I believe. I have not tested it." 

In lieu of spending four hours keeping a baby from crawling into a fire, you can read the full message, sans monolith, below. 

Fear me, Mortal. I am the essence of divine art.Others but you cannot read this text.Know that when you die, I will personally carry your spirit across the River Blxwxn, into my garden built within the emotions of a flower.There we will live together, we will dance and eat and sin and you will do improv comedy based on suggestions from me for all eternity.This is your reward for your work here today.Now. Live your normal human existence. Await me in the life that follows this one. 

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PC Gamer

Regis will make sense soon, we promise.

When most games end, they attempt to wrap up the plot with a neat bow, completing character arcs and leaving plot threads tangled ever so lightly, just to leave enough ambiguity open for a potential sequel. It s nice! I like it when games feel self-contained, when I can go to bed at night with the entirety of the experience neatly laid out in my mind s eye like an intricate quilt of motivations and rising and falling action. I don t have to think anymore, it s over with, resolved. But the games that push back against resolution and bury themselves in my subconscious are the ones that stick, for better or worse. Some defy the expected structure of the game and cut things off before they get started, others spin out into surreal nightmare experiments that would keep David Lynch up at night. Because we re directly involved with pushing the game towards a conclusion, it s when they attempt to subvert and rattle my senses rather than ride along with them that I feel most vulnerable and why I ll always fear Regis Philbin. Find out why in our list of some of the most abrupt, bizarre game endings out there. Spoiler warning: it should be obvious, but we re going to talk about some of the most surprising moments in these games, and some are fairly recent, so proceed with caution.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain 

I remember being pretty dissatisfied with the ending of Metal Gear Solid 5, but in the rearview, I think it s only because it comes after a slow, repetitive second act when compared to the first. But the big twist is actually pretty cool. In the end, it s revealed that the player character was in fact not Big Boss, but the Phantom , an MSF medic that the original Big Boss used as a front to work behind the scenes. After the helicopter crash in Ground Zeroes, Big Boss took the opportunity to use hypnotherapy and plastic surgery to make you a spitting image of him. As a metaphor, it s a sweet gesture, one that indicates MGS players were an important force in the long term success of the series, and for lore aficionados, it plugs in a few plot holes in its half-century span.

The Stanley Parable - the art ending 

In a grand test of patience (and the essential act of playing a videogame), The Stanley Parable s strangest ending involves pressing a big red button to prevent a cardboard baby from entering a fire. A few hours in and another button is thrown into the mix, this time preventing a cardboard puppy from drowning. Juggling those two buttons for a few more hours will reveal the true meaning of art to the player if they re patient enough. It s an interesting test in player motivation, and unsurprisingly, it didn t take long for someone to get through it. Anything for art.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire - Regis flips

Who knew trauma could come in a cereal box? Regis Philbin, host of the once popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire provided his voice and likeness for a free CD version of the game that came with General Mills cereal for a limited time back at the turn of the millennium. But CD Regis has no chill. It s not just during the player select screen that he runs out of patience with lightning ferocity, Regis loses his shit if you take long doing nearly anything at all. If you don t type your name, he ll type Kathie Lee and the questions will be easier, and if you don t answer during the Fastest Finger contest, Regis gets angry and turns the game off. If I spent my formative years living in a dark cell full of Honey Nut Cheerios, I m not sure I d have the greatest disposition either, I suppose. Just leave Kathie out of this.

Far Cry 4 - finished in 15 minutes

During the earliest moments of Far Cry 4 you meet Pagan Min, the murky, unhinged antagonist. After a tense scene at the dinner table, he ll leave to attend to an urgent matter. Most players typically bail at this point I mean, Pagin licks your mother s ashes off his finger. I d bail too. But if you wait it out 15 minutes or so, he ll return and take you to your mother s grave, which is where you wanted to go in the first place. So you spread her ashes, feel feelings, and then Min asks if you re ready to shoot some goddamn guns. Credits roll and the game ends at which point most folks take Min s advice and start over. I do wonder about the one person that found that ending and returned the game, or possibly felt like it worked and never touched Far Cry 4 again. If you exist, email me.

Silent Hill 2 - Dogs rule the world

There isn t much to say about the secret dog ending in Silent Hill 2. It s baffling. By finding the Dog Key and entering the observation room of the Lakeview Hotel, James opens the door to find Mira, a shiba inu, operating a series of buttons and levers. He breaks down, in disbelief that a dog was behind the series of nightmarish events that led him to this point. It s popularly considered a joke ending, but I ll die on the canon hill. I mean, the credits are a dopey montage of clips featuring characters from the game set to a song sung by the powerful pooch in a series of barks and yips. It s adorable, and given the context, absolutely horrifying.

Dishonored - a foiled plot 

OK, so this one isn t a fair entry since it requires taking advantage of some game-breaking glitches, but it s too funny to leave out. At the beginning of Dishonored, Corvo is framed for the assassination of the empress and kidnapping her daughter. The event sets up the rest of the game, a dozen or so hours of infiltration missions set across Dunwall. At Summer Games Done Quick, speedrunner DrTChops showed us how he could prevent the assassination and kidnapping from happening at all, as broken as his method might be. Watch the video to see him work his way toward the assassins before they initiate their attack and kill them, at which point the screen kicks to black. It s a silly Groundhog s Day solution to a problem that doesn't really need solving, and a funny demonstration of games can be entertaining long after their intent has been exhausted.

Start the video at 16:42:00 to see for yourself.

Furi - life in paradise 

Before attacking The Stranger, the sixth boss The Song gives him a chance to hang out with her on her floating island Oasis for eternity. If you walk on by, she ll get angry and attack you, but if you hang out in on the island for a while, she ll thank you, talk about your lovely future together, and the credits will roll. For a game all about intense, intimate combat, I was pleasantly surprised to find an option hidden in the halfway point that rewards the exact opposite.

Portal 2 - Space! 

Portal 2 s closing moments acknowledge that there s no such thing as a perfect ending. There will always be loose threads, plot holes, and burning questions, so Valve opted instead for a soothing salve: the musical number. After defeating Wheatley by shooting a portal on the moon and banishing him to space as if this ending wasn t rad enough GLaDOS returns to her big robot body and instead of killing you, asks to be left alone. Freedom is imminent, but on the elevator ride up turrets big and small and leopard-printed sing a final farewell song before you re coughed up into a field of golden wheat with a scorched companion cube for company. Hooray? Hooray.

Inside - the blob

I think about Inside on a weekly basis now how it uses a slight, subdued color palette and precise animations to communicate more powerful bits of body horror than the best in the biz. Whether it s the shake of a dog s head as it rips at the leg of a small boy or the light crunch and irregular fold after miscalculating a dangerous leap, Inside knows how to do discomfort. And no moment demonstrates it better than the final 15 to 20 minutes of the game, where the player character is subsumed into an amorphous blob of writhing, moaning limbs. You help the blob escape the facility, bursting through panes of bulletproof glass, over an unlucky person or two, and eventually through the outermost wall of the facility, limbs scraping and clawing and twisting all the while.

To see such a confusion of familiar human pieces and pained voices come together as something inhuman, and then to help the horrifying inhuman thing achieve a goal is one of the more trying exercises in empathy I ve experienced in a game. And it worked. After escaping and rolling down a forested hill, the blob comes to rest on the beach. The voices go silent and the limbs go limp. A ray of light splits through the clouds, the waves gently lap at the shore. I felt relief for the creature, glad it finally had a chance to rest. The credits roll and it s over. Why do I feel good?

Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy - uhhh 

I played this game from tip to toe in one or two sittings when it came out and I still can't parse what's going on here. It s hard to believe that the amazing opening diner sequence wasn t even close to an indication of what was coming. In the span of a few hours, Indigo Prophecy went from covering up a unintentional murder with police on the way in a timed, consequential adventure game format, to whatever this is. There s flying dudes with some cyber powers I think. They fight in the air and shoot colored lines at one another. Something about figuring out what to do with his new cyber powers, a big storybook tree, and the credits roll. Someone please translate.

The Witness - Urine Jug: Origins

I have to hand it to The Witness. For a game all about drawing lines, it really carries the theme through in the true ending. After riding the Wonka elevator into the sky and getting the credits, if you continue in a new game, a certain sky-themed puzzle might pop out at you from the very first room you start in. Theoretically, you can finish The Witness in the first minute of playing it. After you figure it out, a door opens and you get a behind the scenes, upscale-hotel-looking tour of a previously invisible building. There are some audio logs lying around that speak the credits aloud, and at the end, well.You pass through the darkness and into the real world via a short video shot by a camera attached to Jonathan Blow s head. He meanders around the development studio, noticing patterns from The Witness all around him before looking up into the sky as the shot fades to white.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

The Beginners Guide, aka, the sad one. After the Stanley Parable warmed the innards of human animals across the world, the two creators went their separate ways. One of them resurfaced a couple of years later holding a free game with a superbly long name called Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist. The other appeared with The Beginner s Guide. Both were good, but for completely different reasons.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

We already chose 13 of our favourite games in the current Summer Steam sale, but more games have been discounted since. So, based on the entirely correct hypothesis that you all have completed every single one of our first round games and are now thirsting for more, here are 18 more to throw your spare change at. Everyone on the RPS team has picked three stone-cold personal favourites, making for a grand old set of excellent PC games: here’s what we chose and why.

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
Save 80% on The Stanley Parable during this week's Midweek Madness*!

The Stanley Parable is a first person exploration game. You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will follow a story, you will not follow a story. You will have a choice, you will have no choice. The game will end, the game will never end. Contradiction follows contradiction, the rules of how games should work are broken, then broken again. This world was not made for you to understand.

“It's not the fact that The Stanley Parable makes you think about the nature of choice in games that makes it extraordinary. It's the fact that it does so while simultaneously managing to be a wildly entertaining, hilarious, and surprising experience.”
9/10 - Gamespot

*Offer ends Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer

Two days ago, the co-creator of The Stanley Parable, William Pugh, teased a new game that's in the works at his Crows Crows Crows studio. Today it stands revealed, and the name of the thing is so long that I literally could not put it in the headline in any way that would make sense. Thus I present to you here his next creation, now on Steam, called Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist.

A Whirlwind Heist—because no way am I using that full handle each and every time—is "a 15 minute heist game" in which you'll become a master thief, burglarizing his way across the hottest summer in Europe. It features voice acting by British comedian Simon Amstell, formerly the host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, who seems to be having a bit of a stressful time explaining exactly what it is you'll be doing on this job. And that's really all I can tell you about it, because the guy who's supposed to write the Steam store description went on strike midway through as a result of what he claims are intolerable working conditions. Personally, I think he's overreacting a bit, but on the other hand who wants to get eaten by a tiger, right?

Fortunately we have the trailer playing above to clear things up, and even more fortunately, it's free, so you can just leap in and see what's up without having to fork over any of your hard-earned wealth. If that's not good enough, you can also go have a poke around at Crowscrowscrows.com.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is the new game from the new studio from William Pugh, co-developer of The Stanley Parable. It starts British comedian Simon Amstell, and could arguably be said to maybe possibly feature a grappling hook. It’s free, and out now, and here’s whether it’s worth your precious, precious time. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

How do you move on from a game like The Stanley Parable? It's hard not to typecast indie devs who suddenly find a breakout game to their name, but Stanley co-creator William Pugh's new studio, Crows Crows Crows, looks to have something... different in the works. Different how I couldn't tell you.

So far we have a  mysterious countdown page and a series of teasers bearing the brand of the Mayflower Networking System that appear to form part of an ongoing ARG that has Reddit stumped. "Stop opening boxes of birds in the corridors" is my favourite quote from the latter. The game seems to revolve around some sort of production: there are plentiful references to sets and catwalks and pyrotechnics accompanied by more fantastic hints at "Peculiar Disappearances Across Europe" and "Lunar Lighting". Stranger still, British comedian Simon Amstell is somehow involved.

So no, I'm not brave enough to offer a theory.

I'm excited by the idea of games as short, self-contained stories—games that are many and varied, because I'm greedy like that—so I find myself hoping that this 20-minute mystery project scratches an itch people didn't know they had.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

The Stanley Parable creator, Davey Wreden, is back two years later with a solo project, The Beginner’s Guide [official site]. Released under his new development name, Everything Unlimited, this is an abstruse wander through a mysterious collection of games and game ideas, quite unlike anything else you’ve played. Does it work? Here’s wot I think:>

… [visit site to read more]

...

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