It’s a weird thing, “home”. It’s a concept that sort of disappears for a while. You may build a sense of your own later, but it may also never return. It’s hard to not attach that idea to a place when it’s really part of a “when”. You can return later but that home is gone. I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting my own sense of things onto the idea. Maybe some people go home and it’s still there. When I was a teen I was taken from my home and never saw it thereafter. I can never find it again even if I wanted to and even though I know exactly where it is. That feeling is long gone.
Gone Home is a video game by The Fullbright Company. You play as a young woman coming home from a tour of Europe to her family’s newly inherited house in Oregon. It’s 1995. You explore the house examining pieces of your family’s life, picking up their belongings, and finding scraps of things they may or may not have wanted to keep hidden. On your trip you perhaps were finding yourself, but now in this new family home you’re discovering who your sister, mother, and father really are.
Gone Home shook me. Not just from exploring its dim and creaky house where too many years of things jumping out at me in video games have made me nervous, but from something more raw and deep-seated. Gone Home is a masterfully crafted piece of interactive storytelling and I’m glad to have experienced it. My wife and baby son are on their way back from visiting my wife’s parents and I look forward to them coming home.