Gone Home Reflection

Editor’s note: If someone ever asks you to chaperone a high school band trip, don’t do it in the winter when everything gets canceled because it might snow or you’ll end up working very hard to occupy a group of kids trapped in a hotel room. Just fyi.

As you play through Gone Home for class on Tuesday, please try to pay attention to your own thinking and emotional reaction as you play and take notes as you go. If we were a little later in the semester and you were more comfortable with publishing to your sites, I might have asked you to liveblog your game play — feel free to try that if you’re willing.1 Probably most of you will choose instead to play through the game, taking notes of the things you notice, and then when you’re finished write a blog post with about 3 paragraphs worth of reflection on the experiences.

Pay careful attention to the start of the game. How does the game begin? How do you feel at the start? How does the game establish setting and time, both at the start of the game and then throughout? How does the game establish character? Especially think about how the game establishes character given that there is only one person present in the narrative and it’s the first person narrator–without dialog and other traditional methods of defining character, how do the game designers go about doing so? Finally, your first larger writing project will build from our discussion of Gone Home towards thinking about how games make use of objects and descriptions of those objects in order to shape narrative, so pay particular attention to all the various things that you pick up and examine and how the writing frames the meaning of those objects.

You do not need to address all of these questions. You do not even need to answer any of these questions, to be honest–if there is a different pattern that really captures your attention and you feel a burning desire to explore it in your blog post, then do that instead of answering the questions in the paragraph above.

  1. There are a number of different ways that you might liveblog game play. If you want to try it but aren’t sure how to pull it off, my suggestion is to open up your site in a tab and then launch the game. Just look around at the start point of the game for a minute or two, then write a blog post in which you announce your intention to liveblog your experience playing the game and then write a couple of sentences about the start point and publish the post. Then whenever you notice something interesting or worth commenting on as you play, leave a comment on the post with your observation. Boom, liveblogging. 

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