Gone Home Switch Review
Warning: Massive Spoilers for Gone Home follow.
This is my hundredth review, and being my hundredth, I’m going to do something special. I’m gonna wade into the culture war just this once. And I’m gonna do it by reviewing Gone Home, a game that first emerged on the PC in 2013 and arrived on the Switch in 2018. Although I played through Gone Home on the PS4 some years ago, I also purchased it on the Switch because I felt I needed to do that for the review.
Gone Home was the first real walking simulator to gain mainstream traction. Walking Simulators are games about the emotional journey, and they lack any real gameplay besides looking around and examining stuff. The game essentially boils down to wandering around your empty house in 1995, finding the secret closet in the foyer, and getting the key to the attic where you will find out your sister has run off with her lesbian lover. Unfortunately, you can’t speed-run it by going directly to the secret closet in the foyer. You have to go to the greenhouse and get the note first to know it’s there.
The game itself is okay for what it is. I don’t really hate it, just find it boring. I don’t care for the sister’s story line at all. If she was running after a dude, nobody would have even heard of this game. But the LGBT themes were “stunning and brave!” And while Gone Home will get a YMMV, that’s not why this review is here.
This review is here to complain about the game’s critical reception. This game was praised to high heaven. It got high marks across the board, with game journalists praising it as the second coming of Christ. The Financial Post’s review sums the reception up quite nicely:
Gone Home shows us what game makers can achieve when an honest attempt is made to delve into experiences outside gaming’s traditional audiences.
Yes, Gone Home was the first real case proving that games journalism had gone from being brought by gamers for gamers, to being populated by stuck-up, woke journalists who hate gamers and most video games. They wanted to move gaming beyond its “typically targeted white, male, youthful core.” But here’s the problem with that—gaming had already moved beyond it. People of all kinds were enjoying video games, not just the young white male demographic. Gaming had long since gone mainstream by 2013. What they were really saying was, “Make a video game for people who hate video games.”
By 2017, the Fullbright Company, the original developers, said that the game sold 700,000 copies in 4 years. That sounds impressive on the surface, except you know what also released in 2013? Grand Theft Auto V, the most profitable thing in all of entertainment, ever. Heck, Grand Theft Auto V is still being updated with new online content to this day! Nobody is talking about Gone Home because nobody cares about it. If Gone Home was really the ground-breaking game that expanded gaming’s horizons, it would have sold millions and still be chatted about today. But it’s not, and not because Gone Home is a niche product that game journalists slobbered over. It’s because it was made for the game journalists.
Gone Home set the stage for the war known as Gamer Gate that would break out the next year, which game journalists still talk about to this day. Gamers don’t care about it anymore. Regular folks don’t care about it either. Only Game Journalists do, because it exposed them for what they are: out of touch. They only cried about harassment because they couldn’t take the valid criticism calling them out for who they are. No wonder people now go on YouTube for their gaming news and info.
Overall: Fullbright Co. did not make Gone Home for me, or most average people. They made it for out-of-touch game journalists to slobber over.