The Stanley Parable: Gems of the Steam Summer Sale

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By Kevin Casper

It’s Day 4 of the Steam Summer Sale and there are so many fantastic games I wanted to talk about, such as the original BioShock or Fallout 2, but the highlighted games list today had one specific experience that I couldn’t pass up. This is The Stanley Parable.

The Stanley Parable is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting, fulfilling, and fresh gaming experiences out there. Does it have outstanding graphics? Not really. It looks clean and solid, albeit simplistic. Does it have an incredible story? Not tremendously. In fact, the main story is rather short and linear. How about gameplay mechanics? Also nope. It’s just kind of a run forward and sometimes jump kind of thing. Not much for combat, complex puzzles, or world-building. Despite all of that, though, I would highly recommend picking it up and giving it a go.

The Stanley Parable is a gaming experience that requires a fresh mind. That is, I’m doing my best to avoid spoiling anything and if you have any intent to play the game, you should avoid them as well. You start out as Stanley, a loyal and happy office employee. One day, Stanley’s life is suddenly disrupted when his entire office seems to be empty and his work isn’t being directed as it should.

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The exposition is explained by a narrator who persists into the game. This narrator is your primary source of information and direction for this game, giving you hints on where to go as well as providing commentary on what you’re doing. Being a narrator, he speaks from a sort of meta-perspective to the game. The narrator can have some comments about being in a game, but he still speaks directions and information to you, the player, by explaining it as something Stanley should know or think about. It’s a well-done narration and is a core part of The Stanley Parable experience.

As you follow the direction of the paths, and the narrator, you’ll eventually find yourself with a choice… or the illusion of one. The first choice of the game comes from a set of two doors. The narrator indicates you want to go into one door, but since you are the player, you can opt to go into the other. If you do, the narrator will comment that despite knowing the other door is the wrong way, Stanley must be wanting to stop by the employee lounge before heading to the objective location. While you made that choice, you are shown a path back to where you needed to go. It’s an office, it’ll loop around. Take note, though, that as you make a choice, you are prevented from going back to change your mind, so you should just keep moving forward and see through your decisions to the end.

The Stanley Parable has many choices. It knows it’s a game, and it’s built for you to make those choices. The choices you make will take you through different paths and onto different endings for the game. Follow the obvious path and see the story as it was intended. Don’t follow the obvious path and see what you can do to get around it. While the character Stanley was happy to push buttons as directed, you may not be, and you control the buttons now.

The Stanley Parable is only $3 on the Steam Summer Sale right now. Pick it up. The entire game is able to be complete in one long sitting and it was more than worth it at its original price of $15, so there is no reason to pass it up for only $3.

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