I don’t want to get into too much detail about The Stanley Parable. That’s because it’s hard to explain. It’s also easy to download and play, since it’s just a Half Life 2 mod and you don’t even need that game to play it, just the Source SDK if you’re on a Windows PC. Here’s the ModDB link. It only takes about an hour to play.
The first time. Once you realize what the game is up to, and that a seemingly empty game has one very, very nasty enemy, it’ll suck you in.
That’s the thing: This game is out to screw with you, and it will do so with glee. It’s ultimately a point-and-click adventure game about the tricks video games use to manipulate you as a player… and you might find yourself walking away from the mod with some very troubling questions of free will that will stick with you for a while.
And now it’s getting an HD remix. Well, if enough people upvote it, anyway.
The promo video does a good job of explaining the game without actually explaining anything:
I bring this up because The Stanley Parable is a perfect game to have around the next time some ass brings up how video games aren’t “art”. In fact, it’s probably one of the best demonstrations of what art as a video game actually looks like.
As I’ve mentioned before, all games are sets of rules, when it comes down to it. Most games try to hide this, but The Stanley Parable puts that right up front. Disobey its rules, stray from the intended path, and things get… unpleasant, and fast.
It’s a commentary on the medium while actually being a good example of the medium. So give it an upvote. After all, don’t you want to make Stanley happy?