Episode 106: For Non-Gamers — Gone Home

Pick up a can of soda in Gone Home, spin it around and you’ll find a fully detailed nutrition label. Pick up anything else in the house that serves as the game’s setting and you’ll find a comparable level of detail. From the coffee mugs to the diverse styles of handwriting across every interactible piece of paper, nothing feels generic.
— Charles Onyett, IGN, November 15, 2012
Historically games haven’t done a very good job at recreating what it’s like to inhabit a specific time and place. [Gone Home] is cut out all the things that turn the scenery into a backdrop - combat, puzzles, large worlds, etc. - and instead placed the setting in the foreground. Exploring its relatively small but astonishingly detailed manor in 1995 is the game’s central mechanic.
— Jeffrey Matulef, Eurogamer, November 15, 2012

This week, Phoebe Lewis returns for the second entry in our series "For Non-Gamers". She played through the critically-acclaimed success, Gone Home - a narrative exploration of a fictitious Oregonian family set in the summer of 1995. Because of her limited exposure to gaming as a pastime, we asked Phoebe about her initial impressions and discuss the similarities between the game, films and books which all contain similar storytelling elements. We also discuss the biases about gaming which this title helps disprove and how Gone Home helps model games as multimedia experiences and not as narrow entertainment. In what ways does this title illuminate first person experience as conveyed in video games? How do we conceive of the decorations and items in our houses as extensions of our families and our lives?