Developer(s): Davey Wreden; Galactic Cafe
Designer(s): William Pugh; Davey Wreden
Writer (s): Davey Wreden; William Pugh
Narrator: Kevan Brighting
Composer(s): Blake Robinson; Yiannis Ioannides; Christiaan Bakker
Original Release: 27th July, 2011
“Nihilistic Daydream” is probably what describes The Stanley Parable the best. We follow our faceless office worker “Stanley” and the Narrator as Stanley discovers everybody in his office building has mysteriously disappeared. The Narrator explains Stanley’s day to day life, he goes to work and presses buttons as he is told to. The Narrator explains that Stanley is perfectly fine doing exactly as he is told. This is a game of choice, the narrator taunts the player, stating they don’t have free choice over their actions or thoughts.
The game is from first person perspective, and the player can walk around and interact with certain elements. There are prompts given mostly by the Narrator, who “directs” the player around (if you wish to follow). The story splits off quickly into multiple scenarios, after the initial office scene.
The game is spooky, there is no one except you and the Narrator. The building is eerie and all of the different possibilities go into impossible scenarios and rooms. The rooms are gloomy and are particularly dull. The music is strange and depends on what story line you take. It adds to the ridiculousness of the stories and the narration.
Every storyline is quite quick, but they are addictive. As soon as you finish one you want to go back and see what else you can do and coming back and playing again is always fun because they are very quick. This also means that there can be ridiculous endings, as no player wants to play for 3 hours to be rewarded with something like “let’s just be happy, Stanley! “.
The stories told to Stanley by the Narrator are great as well, the Narrator is sarcastic and taunts Stanley throughout the game. The catch is that the Narrator is as dependent on Stanley as Stanley is supposed to be on the Narrator. It’s a good response to games where the question of “not following the games narrative” is not answered.
This is a great game, unless you are having an existential crisis.