The Stanley Parable isn’t a game, per say. It’s more of an interactive experience, tasking the player with playing a scenario over and over again, aiming to discover all the ins and outs of that place you’re trapped in. While it might not sound that attractive at first, thanks to the repetitive nature of the title, it’s actually quite a fun experience.
The Stanley Parable
Developed by Galactic Café
Available on the PC.
In The Stanley Parable, you play as the titular character, a young man who works at an office, mindlessly punching away at buttons as he is ordered to. One day however, he realizes that he is no longer being commanded with things to do. Instead of staying at his desk, he walks out of his office and discovers that there is no one in the building.
The outrageous and wacky storyline in The Stanley Parable is the title’s biggest selling point. Once players gain control of the main character, it’s up to them to decide what to do next. The office building Stanley works in is a sandbox of sorts, and while all you can do in this game is walk and push/pull buttons or switches from a first-person viewpoint, you can definitely change the way the game develops and ends by making decisions. It’s akin to a choose-your-own-adventure book.
You see, the main objective of the game is to reach the end. That isn’t as easy as it sounds however, as you have many ways of getting there. Frequently you’ll be presented with two paths: a staircase and an elevator, two doors side by side, going forward or returning from where you came, etc., and the choice you make alters how the storyline develops. Some paths lead to offices, others underground; these then reveal places that you would never have seen otherwise, unraveling a story that is much deeper than you initially thought.
Most of the story comes from the narrator though, a cheeky fellow who tells the player what they need to do in order to get to the end. If the player doesn’t follow his instructions however, it often leads into breaking the fourth wall, oddball scenarios, and many other crazy things that’ll have you laughing and questioning what the hell is going on. While the narrator does a lot of talking, and I do mean a lot as it’s a story-based experience after all, the voice-acting is so superb that you really won’t care.
That being said, keep in mind that this isn’t really a game. Don’t expect much depth to the gameplay, as all you’ll be doing is walking around and witnessing how truly insane things can get. This will divide the audience quite a bit, as some will come into the game expecting much more, when in reality you’ll just be moving around looking to discover the game’s multiple endings and having a good time checking out how everything unravels.
The Stanley Parable might not be much of a game, but it’s an entertaining experience that’ll have players searching for every ending it has to offer. If you’re looking for something that is simple, curious, and downright mindboggling, but doesn’t complicate things with complex controls and the ability to lose, then check out this well-made game. It’ll surprise you in more ways than one.