The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is a first-person narrative exploration game similar to Dear Esther or Korsakovia. It explores the story of a man named Stanley. That's about all I can tell you without spoiling anything! It's best to play this game without knowing anything about it going in, so we'll just have a spoiler discussion in the comments this week.

It requires Half-Life 2 and in order to play the game you need to launch HL2 on it's own at least once. Other than that, just extract the zip into Steam/steamapps/SourceMods and restart Steam. Download and enjoy!

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Comments

Spoiler:

I saw this game as primarily a struggle against the narrator. The expected path feels hollow, though I immediately went off path and got the 'disobedient' ending first thing. I love the interplay between the narrator and player here.

Really curious to hear about everyone else's experiences.

Without spoiling, I will only say that I highly enjoyed playing through this. Maybe six times.

Spoiler:

It would appear that there are different endings for each divergence point. Try them all!

The level of production is fantastic. I'm looking forward to sharing this with my wife.

Oooh. Curiosity peaked.

*cough*

Also, you don't need HL2, just the source 2007 sdk.

I played it a couple times last night and still feel like I have a lot more to see. It seems pretty great so far. If nothing else, it's wildly original.

I absolutely adored this, I've pretty much always wanted to play a game that was like this.

Spoiler:

I took the the disobedient path first. Nothing like going against the rules in my mind. Then I attempted the other endings. Oh the many other endings.

I frankly very much like the commentary the author attempted on games in general. Following the path to obedience led to freedom as proclaimed by the narrator, but in reality you were always a slave to the story. Disobeying the narrator led to a tasteless boring path without direction. Another ending demonstrated how video games really how conditioned to video games we are in that once placed in a situation that rushes us we attempt to find a path to "win" by pushing buttons and so on.

This game frankly represented something I've always wanted to see in video games. Something that in reality is nothing more that interactive choose your adventure, but provides a different take on the perspective on games and story telling. I might be reading into this a bit much, but what the hell I enjoyed it.

Played it as well

Spoiler:

and loved how they narrator starts insulting you when you take the 'wrong' path. It made me smile how this all worked out. And of course the paradox of obeying and therefor 'winning' the game.
First try, as the others, I didn't follow the orders at all and went as 'wrong' as I could go. From there I tried them all, disobeying less and less down the line.
Was an enjoyable experience for sure!

I was really disappointed in the lack of multiplayer. Definitely released too early.

Spoiler:

If the goal if this mod was to comment on narrative design, I think it could have been communicated more eloquently with a flowchart and a blog post.

Neat find, thanks

(Edit: Can't use spoiler tags with a new account, redacted thoughts)

RoutineMachine wrote:
Spoiler:

If the goal if this mod was to comment on narrative design, I think it could have been communicated more eloquently with a flowchart and a blog post.

I don't know, there's a difference between a picture that takes 3 seconds to scroll past, and something that is relating it's message in the media to which it relates. Kind of the difference between saying "check your tyres" and going to look at them and seeing the tread is thin and the sidewalls are perished and won't help you in bad conditions.

The comments included by the author with the game are pretty interesting. The one I found most interesting is that each ending is meant to give more meaning to the other endings instead of existing in parallel.

That said, I think it does a really fantastic job of playing with gaming tropes, has a lot of clever twists, has great narration and humor, and does a lot of things better than Portal and Bioshock which tackled similar ideas. I just played the Hotel level in Vampire the Masquerade yesterday and was thinking about these sorts of no-threat experiences and lamenting the lack of them in most big budget games. Point Lookout for Fallout 3 was another example of the sort of storytelling you could achieve where the player really pulls together the story for themselves.

I thought this game did a great job of timing as well where the narrator was almost always, for me, commenting on things I was just about to do or in the middle of doing.

Spoiler:

The fact that each ending tackles a slightly different angle on the control / choice topic does a very good job of adding to the feel of the game. I can't think of a different experience I've had where each separate, but similar experience in the game adds to the others in this way. Playing the obedient path near the end did convey the author's intent of a naive feeling of achievement. The player, or character, has "succeeded," by "throwing off the controllers," when we know that that "player" has really done exactly the opposite. That's just one example for me.

Spoiler:

I had my brother and his fiancee over last night. I had him try this out while we were milling about before the night's munchkin game. As I watched him (ever the contrarian), I discovered yet another ending I hadn't encountered myself.

I cannot fathom how you could get the same impact from a flowchart.

I like the overall idea of the actual story. I know it probably wan't about

Spoiler:

a facility where some dude contolls other dude in some sick game

But when

Spoiler:

the second, female, narrator comes out of nowhere it really made me wish for some kind of further exploration of this narrative.

Also did anybody try

Spoiler:

just waiting around to see if the narrator ever addressed it?

I also find it a very interesting use of narration, especially after just playing Bastion. Also what is everybodys favorite ending? My favorite was

Spoiler:

The one where the second narrator shows up, and then eventually asks you to quit the game (Which I almost did)

I think I would have liked it more if

Spoiler:

I hadn't accidentally read beforehand on the moddb page that it was an "exploration of what video games are" or something. After reading that, I went into it expecting it would be pretentious and enigmatic and have a generic "but YOUUUU made your character do stuff" message, and that was sort of how I felt after the first ending (following the directions). But then I went back and went through the other door and was pleasantly surprised.

MyNameIsHunter wrote:

Also did anybody try

Spoiler:

just waiting around to see if the narrator ever addressed it?

Spoiler:

I did at the keypad bit, and the narrator started said something along the lines of "Ahem, [i]I said[/] Stanley had no way of knowing that the code was 1957".

Very cool little game. Like lots of other people I went against the grain first time around. Definitely my favorite run through too.

RoutineMachine wrote:
Spoiler:

If the goal if this mod was to comment on narrative design, I think it could have been communicated more eloquently with a flowchart and a blog post.

To quote McLuhan, "The medium is the message."

I, just now, discovered that the music from TSP is Nine Inch Nail's Ghosts I (track 6). I'm so non-hip...

Thank you for the heads up on this, definitely an interesting gaming experience.

MyNameIsHunter wrote:

Also what is everybodys favorite ending? My favorite was

Spoiler:

The one where the second narrator shows up, and then eventually asks you to quit the game (Which I almost did)

That was my favorite as well, and just so happened to be the first ending I got. Craziness.

Sonicator wrote:
MyNameIsHunter wrote:

Also did anybody try

Spoiler:

just waiting around to see if the narrator ever addressed it?

Spoiler:

I did at the keypad bit, and the narrator started said something along the lines of "Ahem, [i]I said[/] Stanley had no way of knowing that the code was 1957".

I tried waiting around in the beginning for a while and nothing happened. At the part Sonicator mentions I specifically did *NOT* take the hint, and just kept hitting random buttons. The door opens anyway with a comment from the narrator.

Edit: huh, managed to find a way to kill myself without comment from the narrator. That was interesting.

Some good comments in this thread. Just wanted to bump this to try and get more people to try. Playing through multiple times will only eat up 30 minutes of your time.

Apparently they're going the Dear Esther route with a commercial HD version on the way:
http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/07/31/th...

Sweet!

The Narrator responds to a complaint:

No chatter about this? Did someone start a new thread? I bought it last night and am going to play it this afternoon. I loved the mod, so I have high hopes.

Edit: I'm through a few paths. This is great.

So good. I binged on it yesterday and think I'm finished with it - got about 7 paths myself and then did a couple of the more obscure ones after looking up if I'd missed anything. At least one or two are incredibly obtuse.

The confusion ending (well, the whole path) is definitely my favourite.

Sonicator wrote:

The confusion ending (well, the whole path) is definitely my favourite.

That was my first one. I think I'm through about 5 to 7 at this point. I kind of liked the one where:

Spoiler:

There is a nuclear detonation of the facility and it quits the game for you.

Also, I love the elevator: "Stan-ley."

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Spoiler:

Also, I love the elevator: "Stan-ley."

Spoiler:

I also liked "hmm, hmm-hmm, getting kind of bored now".

My favourite easter-egg type thing like that was the broom closet. Particularly if you go in there a couple of times.

A coworker bought this for me after hearing it had my interest. So good.

Spoiler:

I like how the yellow "adventure line" seems to have smashed through the tiles whenever it crosses the drop ceiling.