Indie Game Spotlight – The Stanley Parable

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Hello, and welcome back to another Indie Game Spotlight! This week, we’ll be taking a look at a game that has gotten widespread attention not for its groundbreaking gameplay or incredible aesthetic accomplishments, but rather its story, or lack thereof, and its reputation as a game that challenges the rules of a game itself. This week, I’m happy to shine the spotlight on The Stanley Parable.

If you have played The Stanley parable before, you know the premise of this game in that there really isn’t one. The game begins the titular Stanley sitting in his office. Stanley has received a series of orders on his computer that he has followed to the letter every day of his life. However, one day, the orders stopped. With this brief exposition, it is up to you to determine the consequences of Stanley.

The highlight of this game is the narrator that voices your every action, voiced by Kevan Brighting. Think of Bastion, but with the narrator having a much more direct effect in the game. The narrator will tell you as a player what to do when you come to a crossroads within the game; whether you listen to him or not is entirely up to you, and this will affect the ending that you receive at the end of the game. Overall, the game is a testament to the ability to control your own fate… or is it? However, another important aspect of the game is that it shatters the once rigid characteristic of games where you must do what the game tells you to: shoot this enemy, unlock this door to proceed, follow a set path. In The Stanley Parable, you choose your fate, and therefore the gameplay.

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The game has a fair bit of humor in it, as well. Some endings are serious, but others are far from it. The narrator and the storytelling truly make this game what it is. I don’t want to spoil any of the endings, because I believe they are truly something to experience and telling you about them would certainly spoil that, so I will leave this section brief.

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Finally, and this may only interest a few of you, The Stanley Parable has literally the weirdest set of achievements I have ever seen. Completionists be warned: it’s going to take a bit of effort to get all of the achievements. It won’t take a lot of gameplay, and surely it won’t take as long as many other triple-A titles, but odds are if you have all of the achievements in The Stanley Parable it’s because you are a completionist. One achievement is literally impossible to get in-game, for example. You have to hack into the code of the game itself to enable it, and this is the only way. Another achievement is to play The Stanley Parable for the entire duration of a Tuesday. No, Tuesday in particular is completely irrelevant to the game itself. Yes, that is a annoyingly odd achievement. But that’s The Stanley Parable for you.

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Overall, The Stanley Parable is a straight-up fantastic game. Honestly, I usually don’t call it a game; I call it an “experience”, because it truly is. I didn’t sit down and play this game because I wanted my blood to pump while reaping the spoils of fallen enemies. I sat down and played this game because I wanted to explore all of the possibilities this game had to offer. Each run-through of the game takes only about 15 minutes at most, so it’s just as easy to play it in short bursts as it is to go through every ending in a few hours like I did. Nevertheless, this game is a fantastic addition to anyone’s collection, especially those gamers who, like me, believe that games can be more than just a game, but also an art form. You can buy The Stanley Parable on Steam now for $14.99.

 

About the blogger

aaaaDrew Martz is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science, and has been an avid gamer since he was only 5 years old. His favorite games include League of Legends, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing, but also is a big fan of the RPG genre.  His dream job is to be a character designer.  In his downtime, when he’s not playing games or following E-Sports, Drew enjoys binge-watching TV shows on Netflix and YouTube videos.