Don't let the PC part scare you off, though, console peeps; you can always play with a regular controller instead of the keyboard, like we did.
I've always been a strictly console girl, but over Christmas John convinced me we needed a PC gaming rig for the enhanced graphics. Since then the only thing I've played on it is the ultra-beautiful BioShock:Infinite, while John has become hardcore-addicted to modding his Skyrim houses. (I would roll my eyes here, buy DANG that game looks good with all the enhancement mods! The flowers! The waterfalls! The steampunky floating houses!)
But, I digress.
I've wanted to break into some of the quirkier PC games for a while, so when John said he found one we should play together, I was psyched.
Now, The Stanley Parable is not a game in the traditional sense. There are no points. There are no bad guys. You need no skill whatsoever to play, and it's almost impossible to "lose."
Do I have your attention, everyone who thinks they're bad at video games? :D
Also unlike most games, everyone watching The Stanley Parable will have just as much fun as the person playing, so I highly recommend playing in pairs at the very least, taking turns with the controller. Even better, get a whole group together!
Ok, so what's the game about? Well, here's the trailer:
Imagine a choose-your-own adventure novel narrated by the The Guide from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A narrator who interacts with you, and frequently responds to your actions with a heavy dose of snark. Your actions tell the story, so the real fun of this game is uncovering all the different stories you can tell. And if you think it's tedious "starting over" after each storyline, think again. The game changes with each restart, so it's more like a continuation than a total do-over.
The graphics are rich and detailed, even though you're mostly just wandering soulless office corridors and abandoned meeting rooms. It'll remind you a bit of the Aperture offices from Portal 2, and sometimes it looks downright creepy, but the narrator ensures you're laughing your way down every dark corridor.
No, really, it's not scary. I promise.
The game is short, and can be finished in about two hours. I recommend taking your time and investigating everything you see, though, for added laughs:
If you really take your time and explore every possible ending and some of the locked achievements, you can stretch the game out to four hours like we did, but that's kind of wringing the game dry. (And I still can't believe we played that long; the hours really flew by.) Like I said: a pretty short game.
Which brings me to the only downside of The Stanley Parable, and no, it's not the length. More that, like a good mystery novel, once you know the ending (or endings) there's little-to-no incentive to go back and experience it again. And at $15 on Steam, that's like a super pricey movie rental.
That said, John tells me he's seen it on sale a few times for half-off, so maybe keep an eye out for another Steam sale. Or just bite the bullet and pay the $15, because it really is a fantastic game.
Oh, and I won't spoil anything, but there is one particular storyline with the most amazing and completely unexpected cameos. I was yelling "No way!!" at the screen and laughing with sheer delight. Don't go looking it up, because spoilers will kill the fun, but just so you won't miss it: when presented with a blue door, go through it three times. The third time is trickier. That is all.
As for game-play "strategy," I advise being as contrary as possible for the first few passes, because it's funnier that way. And after you think you've found all the different endings, go online and look up the ones you missed. There are also a couple of mildly ridiculous achievements you can unlock, for added kicks.
K, that's it for me! Hope I've convinced some of you non-gamer types to jump in with this one, or my fellow console-only types to branch out a bit. And you PC gamers, well, odds are you already know about this one, right? So you can just tell me what I should play next in the comments. Deal?