This week, I'd like to call your attention to an exceptionally cool, free mod for Half-Life 2 called The Stanley Parable (see top image), developed by Davey Wreden. You may have already even seen a Shacker or two recommend the game in Chatty, or seen some buzz about it elsewhere on the Internet. If not, consider this your call to action. It's a relatively short adventure that will likely take you less than an hour to fully experience. If you really want get the most out of the experience, expect to play The Stanley Parable multiple times.
The Stanley Parable is a narrative-driven experience that is best played without knowing too much about it. I will say it bears structural similarities to the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from yesteryear, if those books included BBC-style narration. Kevan Brighting's vocal work is brilliant. The game's playful treatment of in-game narration also calls to mind the similar narrative deftness of games like Bastion and Portal 2, and a number of nods and inside references to well-known gaming tropes make it feel like a sort of love-letter to hardcore gamers.
Another reason I'm keen to highlight the game is that it'll be one of the topics of discussion on a future episode of Weekend Confirmed. The nature of the game makes it nigh-impossible to be spoiler-free when discussing it in any detail, so make sure to check it out before then if you want the experience to be completely fresh.
You can grab the latest version of The Stanley Parable from Shacknews. Best of all, you don't need Half-Life 2 installed to play.
Following that up is a trio of interesting indie interviews from the past week, including a chat with Freebird Games, as well as conversations with Vlambeer and B-Rad Entertainment, who are working on games for the Serious Sam Indie Series:
- Developer Kan Gao of Freebird Games discusses the development of To the Moon
- Vlambeer talks about developing the turn-based RPG, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
- Be-Rad Entertainment talks about working on Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack for mobile devices
Aside from the excellent debut trailer for To the Moon this week, the launch trailer for the recently-released (and award-winning) TRAUMA by Krystian Majewski is worth a look. It's an adventure game that takes place in the mind of a woman recovering from a car crash, uses photographs as its primary art assets, and employs an interesting gesture-based control scheme. I'm quite enjoying it so far, and it can be grabbed from Steam for $6.99.
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