Note -- The following article is a discussion of the games Gone Home and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and is broken into three parts. The first section contains minimal spoilers. The second contains moderate spoilers, and the last part discusses all parts of the game and story and is spoiler-heavy. Each section is clearly labeled.
Minimal Spoilers —
I’ve spent a long time in the past few years talking, thinking, writing about narrative in video games. I’m certainly not alone. The recently released Gone Home and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons tells me that someone out there was listening, or at least also thinking.
Every year there are one or two games that come out that I have the rare luxury of going into with absolutely no preconceived notions. Too rarely, I get the unexpected joy to start a week not even giving a game a second thought and by the end of that week think it may be one of the best games you’ve played in years. To have that happen two weeks in a row is ridiculous.
In many ways Brothers and Gone Home are similar. They touch on similar themes of family, growth and loss. They both deliver a story that seems to be one thing and eventually becomes something unexpected and far more poignant. They are both relatively short. And yet, I walk away from Brothers and Gone Home thinking that, for all their surface similarities, these two games are among the two most different games I’ve played this year.
Let me take this opportunity, like everyone who has spoken about these games in the past few weeks, to say if you haven’t already played either or both of these games, then you should stop and go do that.