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« Masticating On Mario Kart | Main | Innovating The Established »

The Stanley Parable - A Source Mod With A Difference

New, unique, interesting game experiences are hard to come by in this day and age, with even the most unique take on a first person shooter boiling down to little more than a re-skinned, re-imagining of every previous FPS. So few games have the balls to do something genuinely different and take risks, so occasionally you have to look slightly further afield than simply to what's coming out next. The Stanley Parable is a Mod for the Source Engine, the engine behind Half-life 2, Team Fortress 2 and pretty much all the valve games. Like most mods it's been made by one guy, a guy called Cakebread, who had an idea and worked on it in his spare time and as such isn't motivated by the need to make a profit, or the need to reach as varied an audience as possible; it's not geared towards a demographic or being released in time for the holidays to sell more, it's a labour of love.

You play the game through 427's eyes

I can't go into too much detail regarding the game, as it's something you really need to experience for yourself, but what I can do is tell you why I loved it. I don't read books, I'd rather play a game of Starcraft, or League Of Legends than read. Something about the experience of sitting there reading large amounts of words makes my brain wanna escape my body and jump in front of a bus. Experiencing story in an interactive medium (believe it or not, I'm talking about video games) is, for me, a far superior experience. Whether it's experiencing Russia invading America in Modern Warfare, trying to end the reign of the Combine in Half-Life 2 or saving the galaxy as Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, those experiences are made all the better by the fact that you're in the thick of the action, making shit happen.

The Stanley Parable takes what's great about video games and boils it down to an essence. Experiencing a story whilst being in control are what makes this hobby of ours such a unique experience, but what happens when the acts of being in control and experiencing a story are fighting against each other? What if you weren't supposed to act of your own free will? What if, in fact, the enemy was the story itself? That's the concept The Stanley Parable explores.

The game's enemy is choice... and it always wins

There are no "enemies" in the traditional sense, instead there is a narrator, constantly filling in the blanks in the story and telling you how the tale of your character 427 transpires. The mindfuck happens when you start to do things the narrator doesn't want to do: Instead of going left, you go right; instead of going up the stair, you go down. The narrator doesn't like it when you diverge.

I obviously won't explain to you any specifics, but I will say that this is a game you will want to play multiple times. It's a game that wants you to play it multiple times, and is well worth doing so for the games multiple, multiple endings. A single playthrough will probably take you about 5 minutes, but you could easily get lost in the game for a few hours.

You won't believe quite how deep the rabbit hole goes...

The Stanley Parable is a free experience unlike any other: Clever, thought provoking, profound and in a lot of ways, revolutionary. It'll change the way you think about mods, and probably the way you think about 90% of video games aswell. It'll challenge you mentally whilst bringing a smile to your face, and even get you reminiscing about game experiences past. If you're looking for some time to kill, or an engaging, one-of-a-kind experience, you can do no better than the Stanley Parable...

A work of art.


The Stanley Parable is completely free and requires the "Source SDK Base 2007" to work, which you can find in the Tools section of your Steam Library. You can find the game here: The Stanley Parable - Source Mod

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