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Stanley clicked the link to download The Stanley Parable
August 4, 2011 6:23 PM   Subscribe

The Stanley Parable is an experimental, story driven Half-Life 2 mod in the vain of the Radiator mods and The Chinese Room's Dear Esther. It's a little hard to explain without spoiling it, and there is a classy trailer on YouTube, but it's probably best you go in with no expectations.

The awesome naration was done by Kevan Brighting, who you can hear talk about the pancreas on his Voice123 profile.
posted by The Devil Tesla (21 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you have a computer too shitty to run Source mods (hullo there), there's a playthrough here.
posted by codacorolla at 6:26 PM on August 4, 2011


Some notes for after you play through it:

There are six vastly different endings, and the creator expects that you'll play through it multiple times. Two of them I had trouble finding. Note that in the elevator there are actually two buttons to press, one that goes down and one that goes up.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:27 PM on August 4, 2011


NEVER MIND THIS I WANT MY HALF LIFE 3 WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE *SEDATION* ooog.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:52 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is fascinating... I actually found the narrator more intriguing than GladDos, a bit more refined in terms of the writers understanding how to mess with the player's expectations and minds, creating a surreal and disturbing result. So awesome!
posted by Zeker at 7:37 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is fun and great, with excellent writing and fantastic audio narration, but I can't help noticing similarities to other high-concept games (e.g., Fathom). You start in a familiar game environment with familiar game mechanics. You play for a bit and then the game suddenly subverts its own natural progression. Then you wander around for a bit, frustrated and confused, and then the experience ends. You're left with the feeling of being reprimanded for having expected to play a game with traditional progression and reward mechanisms. As a matter of fact, in the case of The Stanley Parable, you withstand withering mockery throughout the entire time you spend in it — lively, creative mockery, which I enjoyed enormously. But it was disappointing to see such wonderful writing and acting in the service of a warmed-over gimmick.

Games of this sort are like short stories narrated in second person — a fun trick to see done once. If subversion is the name of the game, is this the only available trope?
posted by Nomyte at 8:09 PM on August 4, 2011


Little did Stanley know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:21 PM on August 4, 2011


Goddamn it. Just came here to post this.

This is absolutely brilliant.

BRILLIANT.

Please do not watch the videos first. Don't even read this thread. Just stop right now and download it and play it. It's free. The SDK you need to play it is also free.
posted by empath at 8:25 PM on August 4, 2011


This is AMAZING! I love this!
posted by strixus at 8:26 PM on August 4, 2011


Totally great.
posted by free hugs at 8:45 PM on August 4, 2011


This is fun and great, with excellent writing and fantastic audio narration, but I can't help noticing similarities to other high-concept games (e.g., Fathom). You start in a familiar game environment with familiar game mechanics. You play for a bit and then the game suddenly subverts its own natural progression. Then you wander around for a bit, frustrated and confused, and then the experience ends. You're left with the feeling of being reprimanded for having expected to play a game with traditional progression and reward mechanisms.

First off, the game has been in development for two years, meaning that development started at a time where this kind of game was a little fresher. I also think that it does all that needs to be done in a game like this, so much so that anyone making a similar game would essentially be repeating what happens here. It is the trope killer.

Secondly, I think you are describing the game wrong. The narration actually reprimands you for trying to subvert itself, leading to an actually very fulfilling ending, while playing it like a normal game the narration rewards but it feels like fluff. This dissonance is what makes the game so powerful as a game about games, as there is very often tension between what the storytellers want you to do in a game and what the player wants. The game takes that idea to some very interesting places, which is what makes it worthwhile.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:34 AM on August 5, 2011


while playing it like a normal game the narration rewards but it feels like fluff.

I'm not sure that it feels like fluff exactly, but mouseover this for spoilers.
posted by empath at 6:14 AM on August 5, 2011


For me the best ending was when you turn the 'other' valve. More spoilers here.
posted by empath at 6:17 AM on August 5, 2011


Am I going to do this? Am I? Am I that desperate yet?

*Sigh*.

God, I hate Gabe Newell. Why won't that little tease put out?
posted by Decani at 11:35 AM on August 5, 2011


This has absolutely nothing to do with Valve, aside from the programmer using their development kit.
posted by empath at 11:49 AM on August 5, 2011


"And I did it my way...."

Hah.

Good game, I did every ending that I could find (and I don't really think I know where else to go, so!)
posted by flatluigi at 2:49 PM on August 5, 2011


Quick path branching guide (as spoilerless as possible):

Left, Up, Green
Left, Up, Red
Left, Down
Right, Up
Right, Down, Red
Right, Down, Blue

and none of the endings are over until you get a black screen, so don't quit early (unless you want to)
posted by flatluigi at 6:03 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is so utterly fantastic. Really quite perfect.
posted by Buckt at 8:31 PM on August 5, 2011


At Rock Paper Shotgun, Gabe McGrath gives us "Gabe's Law":

“A great voiceover turns a ‘C’ game into an ‘A+’ game. And vice versa.”
posted by straight at 11:10 PM on August 5, 2011


I've never installed a Half-Life 2 mod. Is there a guide to doing on a Mac that uses Steam?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:12 AM on August 6, 2011


there's instructions on the website.
posted by empath at 6:12 AM on August 6, 2011


Just resurrecting this thread to say that yes, "The Stanley Parable" is well worth your time. The voiceover makes it of course: without that slightly sardonic english RP narrator it wouldn't have the same feel at all. You could get some way towards it with subtitles (as Minerva did) but the quality of the narration really does make a qualitative difference to the experience of playing this mod.
posted by pharm at 8:25 AM on August 14, 2011


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