The Stanley Parable Demo
Human beings usually try to go through life searching for a purpose, or at least thinking that they can figure out most of it by the end. Choice is also a great factor in the equation, since everyone believes that you can alter the decisions you make at any time and that almost nothing happens without your expressed consent. Video games are a good example of that as well, because they usually let you make a small number of choices along the way, which affect the rest of the experience by some degree.
Stanley is looking for answers to his questions
The Stanley Parable presents a different view on the debate about choice in video games, but it does so in an incomprehensible manner, at least at a first glance. Things don’t make sense most of the time and when they do, it’s only for a few moments, in which you realize that they never did make any sense anyway. Somewhere in there, a plot and a purpose are hidden, but you need to work hard to find them.
You start in a cubicle, where Stanley presses buttons in a predefined order for a living, for reasons that are hidden from him. When the orders stop coming, he decides to investigate the matter, although you do not actually get to know too much about Stanley, since he never talks and the first-person perspective forbids you from ever taking a look at him.
A witty and memorable experience
The narrator does most of the job, on the other hand, since he is always addressing you and making all kinds of clever jokes. The voice acting is impeccable and the writing is solid, but that doesn’t mean it makes any kind of sense. In essence, the game is as abstract as it can be and an exercise in futility, although there are multiple endings you can achieve by making different choices along the way.
A lot of work went into the graphics engine as well, which, albeit not very technologically advanced, it is quite capable of displaying satisfying levels of detail throughout the environments. Hence, you can find many hidden jokes and references if you look close enough, including funny magazine covers, paintings and a variety of other weird objects. There’s not much of a gameplay component, on the other hand, since you just have to move around and press a button every once in a while.
Careful what you wish for
There’s no denying that The Stanley Parable is an original game, but there might be some debating to be done when it comes to whether it is a good game. The experience is rather short and maybe you are not really getting your money’s worth, unless you know exactly what to expect. Thus, beware, since you won’t actually get to play this, but rather let it lead you from a weird place to the other while you just walk, smile and listen.