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Discussion The Patient Gamer: The Stanley Parable - A Weird Little Game

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,222
598
136
Just completed a number of runs through The Stanley Parable, which turned out to be an entertaining and weird 2-3 hour diversion that's a perfect break between playing other 40 hour long combat grindfests.

You play as the eponymous "Stanley" and there really aren't a whole lot of ways to describe this game without giving too much away. Its a game about choices.

The game is a walking sim. The game is very cleverly written. Excellently narrated. The game can last anywhere from a couple minutes to a couple hours of play, depending on how much you want to get out of it. Although I had a fair bit of fun, the game's central gimmick gets somewhat tedious and getting maybe 2-3 hours out of it is the most anyone can reasonably expect.

Think of the game like Portal 1. It has a really good core concept that's a little under baked and hangs around just long enough to be refreshing without getting overly tiring. If this game got a "Portal 2" treatment with a more fleshed out concept, it would really be something.

If you're into indie gems, pick this up for a fiver and have a good time.

For those that have played the game, some thoughts with spoilers below:


There were a couple endings I really enjoyed. The "Choice" ending where you defy everything the narrator tells you to do and end up existing outside the game. The "Insane" ending where Stanley goes stark raving mad. And especially the "Bomb" ending, which put up red herrings everywhere to make me feel like I could solve the countdown timer while the narrator taunts me despite their being no actual puzzle to solve.

Some surprised me by how committed the developers were to breaking the 4th wall or sticking to their gag, like the "confusion" ending that had the literal plot line laid down for you to follow or the "museum" ending that suddenly had a benevolent female narrator butt in and lead you through a development gallery for the game.

Ultimately the Stanley Parable was at its best when it utilized player movement (or lack of movement) as the vehicle for choice (such as jumping off the platform and avoiding the red doors) and was at its worst when simply asking you to hit a series of buttons. It really felt like the game was making up a story as you moved, like narration parkour, and demonstrated excellent play-testing and level design.

I'd love to see this idea expanded and built upon.
 
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JujuFish

Lifer
Feb 3, 2005
10,026
195
116
I've had this game in my library for a while. I really need to get to it.

Side note, one of the things I know about this game is that it has an achievement for going 5 years between play sessions. I bet most people don't have that one legitimately.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,355
305
126
do you get to do stuff, as a player, in this game ?
The most important answer is that you get the best experience playing the game knowing nothing. If you need an answer, you would need to define 'stuff'.
 

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,222
598
136
I've had this game in my library for a while. I really need to get to it.

Side note, one of the things I know about this game is that it has an achievement for going 5 years between play sessions. I bet most people don't have that one legitimately.
- It's a very short game, some endings can be acheived in a matter of minutes. Just install it, fire it up, and run through it about a dozen times in the span of a lazy afternoon and that's really what there is.

Make it a point to do at least some of the acheivements, although the 5 year one is a little wild.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,995
833
126
yeah, it's one of those "game experiences" where the point is that the player will say "oh, how clever". And that's it. There isn't really any challenge, just a bunch of vague meta puzzle stuff, right?
Like, you come to two doors, and the narrator says "and stanley opened the left door" but nooo, you open the RIGHT door. Super edgy m8. Super edgy.

Im sorry but this goes in the same pile as undertale, "games for the easily amused".
 

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,222
598
136
yeah, it's one of those "game experiences" where the point is that the player will say "oh, how clever". And that's it. There isn't really any challenge, just a bunch of vague meta puzzle stuff, right?
Like, you come to two doors, and the narrator says "and stanley opened the left door" but nooo, you open the RIGHT door. Super edgy m8. Super edgy.

Im sorry but this goes in the same pile as undertale, "games for the easily amused".
-Ohhhhh is undertale a "game experience" style game with no actual gameplay? I've wondered about that one for a while.

Might have to go pick it up for sale... But as a "game experience" fan that would require me to actually do something and you know I don't do that :p
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,995
833
126
undertale does have gameplay, but it's 80s style arcade gameplay. You have a bunch of projectiles shot at you and you WASD out of the way in 2D. Think your typical bullet hell game.
Once you beat that, it goes into the "game experience" again, until you meet a monster or boss again, and then it's back to the bullet hell minigame.

voted best game of the year by just about every non-mainstream media reviewer.


you may thing, lol thats BS gameplay. it's because the game is META, get it ?? ITS META!!

incidentally, another game which was ruined by trying to make it more meta than necessary was Superhot; remember how it starts as a FPS-puzzle game, but then it veers away into a .. well, Stanley Parable'esque .. thing.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,355
305
126
yeah, it's one of those "game experiences" where the point is that the player will say "oh, how clever". And that's it. There isn't really any challenge, just a bunch of vague meta puzzle stuff, right?
Like, you come to two doors, and the narrator says "and stanley opened the left door" but nooo, you open the RIGHT door. Super edgy m8. Super edgy.

Im sorry but this goes in the same pile as undertale, "games for the easily amused".
Sigh. It's you, not the game. The game is an incredible work of art. But you have every right to your own tastes.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,995
833
126
ok, i am going to drop the pretentious attitude and i'll be honest; i know this game is good .. for most people. i understand it, and i'm totally ok that people like this, or undertale, because after all i appreciate this very specific type of meta-art - i know it's creative.
But i've grown out of it, many years ago. When, metaphorically, an artist tells me "stop, i will tell you a story", that's where i check out. The only games i will consume nowadays have to be 100% me doing stuff and 0% having to wait on the artist.

For example, my recent Exodus review; the game is good for what it is, but, i hate the thing that it is. THAT is exactly what i do not want, a story. I'll watch a film if i want a story, and, for the same reason, i don't want mindless action in my films - ill play a game if i want mindless action, because the action is what *I* want to do.

keep in mind, that it's totally possible to sneak a story in my mindless action, and sometimes it's been done really well, but i really, really can't wait. If i was to play undertale (i have tried), i would play almost exclusively for the bullet hell minigame - and that's not enough content for me to enjoy the game. The fact that it's got this unique and fantastic story just does nothing for me.
Likewise, Superhot - i thought the shooting parts were great, but when you gotta edit a savefile to progress with the story, i really cannot be bothered. I bough your shooting stuff game to shoot stuff, not to listen to you through a badly edited 5 minute (or 30, in Exodus) cutscene that has NO relevance to my shooting stuff.

i'm sorry but, whenever i try a new game, my brain does this:

Q: is it quake?
A: yes it's quake - then its good
A: no, it's not quake - then it's bad.

because in quake, and clones of quake, *I* am the one playing. I need no input whatsoever from the creator, i don't need to be told how to feel, i make the decisions and playing the game is the challenge that i need to overcome.
And if a game isn't quake, it better have some quake-like features. In a meta way. In the sense that, as above, i get to play. Heck, Minecraft is more quake than Exodus. Minecraft doesn't stop you from playing, doesn't impose any weird limitations, there's no forced driving section, no part where it takes away your weapons, no crying secondary character i care nothing about, it's just launch game - play.

Don't think that i discard most games because "they ain't quake". I'm just using these words to mean games which are made, in the vast majority, of their primary game component: Command & Conquer, Civilization, Metal Gear, Miami Hotline, GTA, as long as "the challenge that the game poses is the primary gameplay component of this game", then i'm happy, because i can play. When i instead gotta listen to some guy, then no.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,355
305
126
You have a specific, narrow taste and as I said, that's fine. You didn't really 'drop the pretentious attitude' when in the next sentence you say you have 'grown out' of artistic games. Tastes changed, yes; artistic games being worse or not evolved tastes, no. Good luck finding the games you enjoy. I think Stanley comes with enough guidance to steer you away from it as 'not for you'.
 

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