The Ins and Outs of the Video Game ‘Gone Home’
“Gone Home” is an adventure video game that is designed in the style of an interactive and investigative story game. It is a first person, role playing video game, and in Gone Home, the player takes on the Role of Kaitlin, who has just returned home after a year’s trip abroad. This video game received critical acclaim for its story line and interactive gameplay – but particularly for its engaging and intricate story line. The video game’s world is set approximately in the year 1995, and the main premise of the game is to explore the family mansion that Kaitlin has just arrived at. The player, as Kaitlin, will have to examine and interact with various household items around the manor and uncover the story and many implied family secrets about the members of Kaitlin’s family.
The Plot and Story Line Behind the Video Game ‘Gone Home’
After a year-long trip abroad, twenty-one year old Kaitlin has just returned home in the year of 1995. The “home” in question is a family manor at Arbor Hill, Portland in Oregon. The player learns that this mansion was inherited by Kaitlin’s father, Terrence (also known as “Terry”), by his uncle Oscar. The time of her arrival is shortly after midnight, and the weather outside is stormy. She finds none of her family in the house. But this doesn’t seem to phase her much – at least, not until she finds a letter on the door from Samantha (her sister), which tells her not to go looking for her or to try and find out where she is. It is indicated that Kaitlin had arrived without much prior warning, so perhaps her family not being there to receive her wasn’t that surprising, as they might have made plans, not knowing she was coming. However, Samantha’s note at least implies that she was not part of those plans and that she doesn’t plan on returning either.
Kaitlin thus winds up exploring the house so as to figure out where her family members are. The player guides Kaitlin through this process, making her explore and examine various household objects, which slowly unravel the story of her family and its various members. Through such interactions with the objects in the house, the player comes to learn many facts about the family – some which Kaitlin already knew, and some which she didn’t.
Kaitlin finds Samantha’s journal, which contains letters to Kaitlin, explaining what all had happened during the year that Kaitlin had been absent from home.
Kaitlin and Samantha’s father, Terry, was a washed out writer. But during that year, he got an offer from a new publishing house that offered to publish his series of books (which his old publishing firm had dropped after two of his books had sold poorly) under a new cover.
The player, along with Kaitlin, also discovers that her parents are on vacation together, though a brochure calls it a “couples counseling” vacation.
The Gameplay of the Video Game ‘Gone Home’
The gamer takes on the part of the player character Kaitlin. The game is played in the first person, meaning that the player can see and examine and interact with the various household objects in the manor. There are no specific goals or tasks within this video game. For this game is mainly based on interactivity with the objects in the house, looking at them, and thereby unraveling the story behind the house and Kaitlin’s family. Certain objects in the game also open new or other areas in the mansion which the player can look at.