The Stanley Parable recently launched on Steam and sold 100k copies in the first three days. A free demo is available and the full game is currently £7.99. It is relatively short and quirky. Game critics are raving about it.
Adi Robertson at The Verge: “The Stanley Parable is a kind of self-aware choose-your-own-adventure story, conveyed as an exploration game. In 2011, it was released as a humble Half-Life 2 mod, made by a 22-year-old aspiring game designer named Davey Wreden. Technically primitive and made from sometimes awkwardly repurposed textures and models, it received sudden and effusive acclaim; a year later, Wreden announced an “HD Remix” that was eventually approved as a standalone game on Steam Greenlight. Now, while much of the game’s plot remains intact, protagonist Stanley is no longer played by one of Half-Life 2’s background characters, and new art lets Wreden play his original ideas out to ever more surreal conclusions.”
Christian Donlan at Eurogamer gave it a 9/10 in his review and said: “The Stanley Parable is a video game that plays you. It examines questions of control and free will within a finite interactive space and asks: can you truly express yourself in a world in which an omniscient designer has already carved out all of your possibilities in advance? Is there real victory to be won inside a machine that has been pre-programmed to deliver victory to you anyway? None of this makes The Stanley Parable sound like an enormous amount of fun, perhaps, but the whole thing’s also hilarious and ingenious and even quietly disturbing at times. It’s a game about games, yet it never forgets to be a game that’s worth playing in its own right.”
Nathan Grayson at Rock, Paper Shotgun wrote a brilliant multiple choice review, have a look, and concludes one review with: “…some bits will stick with you for months. It’s witty and clever, except when it’s not. It’s a series of contradictions. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve played this year. Go. Go play it.”
“The Stanley Parable is a first person exploration game. You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will follow a story, you will not follow a story. You will have a choice, you will have no choice. The game will end, the game will never end. Contradiction follows contradiction, the rules of how games should work are broken, then broken again. This world was not made for you to understand.
But as you explore, slowly, meaning begins to arise, the paradoxes might start to make sense, perhaps you are powerful after all. The game is not here to fight you; it is inviting you to dance.” – Galactic Cafe