Words About Video Games

41 Games: The Stanley Parable

I can admire what the Stanley Parable does more than I can say I enjoyed it. I appreciate it as a satire of the madness that ensues when a developer tries to make every choice a significant branch, and the player who expects absolute freedom. I found it funny at places, sophomoric at others.

There's an unsettling trend in games criticism that posits that absolute freedom within a simulation is the pinnacle of great game design.

Insofar as The Stanley Parable is a reductio ad absurdum revealing both the impossibility and the undesirability of that end, it's pretty great.

Insofar as it veers into nihilism, suggesting that it's therefore impossible for the player to be anything other than a rat in a maze, one only need look at, well, a great number of games on this list to know that's elitist nonsense.