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Addressing absence in Gone Home

"In a medium which often relies on interaction with the visually-overt, Gone Home is an intriguing example of a game narrative which is ideally expressed in terms of absence. It is this absence in the game which serves as the central quandary and is presumably the main task of the game--to find out what has become of your younger sister Samantha. In order to address that absence in a way that leads to the resolution of said quandary, the player tromps through the empty house which supposedly belongs to your fictional family, happening upon scraps of paper, journal entries, post-it-note communiques between parents and kids, etc. All of this sort of family-detritus being collected and summarily examined can then potentially coalesce into a slowly-forming picture of the family who occupies this house. And so the central game play aspect of Gone Home is exactly this: assuming the role of a kind of archaeologist and unearthing the evidence of the people who used to be here but for some reason are no longer present, in order to more meaningfully understand why they are gone."

About the Author

PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.

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