Shackles of Control

The Stanley Parable in school, basically. It’s probably homage and not plagiarism, given that the narrator calls you “Stanley” at one point, but there are certain parts that walk… really close to that line. One ending in particular:


“Yes! He had won. He had defeated the machine, unshackled himself from someone else’s command. Freedom was mere moments away. And, yet, even as the immense door slowly opened, Stanley reflected on how many puzzles still lay unsolved. Where had his co-workers gone? How had he been freed from the machine’s grasp? What other mysteries did this strange building hold? But as sunlight streamed into the chamber, he realized none of this mattered to him. For it was not knowledge, or even power, that he had been seeking, but happiness. Perhaps his goal had not been to understand, but to let go. No longer would anyone tell him where to go, what to do, or how to feel. Whatever life he lives, it will be his. And that was all he needed to know. It was, perhaps, the only thing worth knowing. Stanley stepped through the open door. Stanley felt the cool breeze upon his skin, the feeling of liberation, the immense possibility of the new path before him. This was exactly the way, right now, that things were meant to happen. And Stanley was happy.”


“The blue glow of the monitor blips out of existence as you cut its lifeline. You have defeated it. You have finally won. After years of being fed false information about who you were, this memory is now your own. Your eyes catch another neon sign sputtering into existence. This one is bringing relief for the first time in quite a while. It had only two words: “Escape Door”. You stroll over to the door revealed underneath its newly created green glow. After a moment of brief hesitation, you walk through the promising door. A beach is now before you. You step out onto it, feeling the tropical breeze against your skin. You take a deep breath, exhaling the stress that has built up within you. You have finally found a place where you can rest, relax, and rejuvenate. As you lean against the lone palm tree, your mind starts to recall all the information that it is still missing. Where had everyone gone? Who was in control of that place? If this was sleeping here, what other mysterious slept on campus? Could you have figured out all of this information if you had chosen to go in different directions? But as you watch the waves that encircled your new habitant drift in, you realize that, to you, those answers weren’t critical to your existence anymore. It might have been the spark that sent you on your journey, but how could you think any of that matter? Any other choice could have been conjured up by that computer, planting memories of you deciding to go a different route. This was the journey that you wanted to happen, the journey that was supposed to happen. You stare out at the ocean surrounding you. You have found your own domain, a place where you would never be corrupted by others, a place where you could make your own unique memories, a place where you could find out who you really were. A place where you could be genuinely you.”[/spoiler]

(I should add that this isn’t the only instance; if you’d like to compare for yourself the whole Stanley Parable script is here: Obviously this link contains spoilers for that entire game.)

A short, choice-based game that gets meta quickly. I’ve posted a review of it at my blog.

I guess I see the parallels to The Stanley Parable, but the latter has several advantages: Being in direct control of the character rather than making just a couple of choices feels a lot more involving and having an actual narrator (a great one to boot) makes a big difference. Reading the insults yourself just is not that rewarding and makes the game sound a bit petty.