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http://homehorror.com/

Home_1.jpg

Anyone else played this?

It's a pixelated, horror-themed adventure game, about which I can't say too much more for fear of spoiling it, but it should be safe to say that there are multiple endings, and it takes about one and a half hours to complete. You can pick it up from Steam for a couple of quid, and it's available on both Mac and PC. It's received no small amount of praise from news sites like The Verge, so given I enjoy a good horror game, I sat down to play it last night.

If you have any intention to play this, I'd advise doing so before reading the following spoilers.

Here's what I thought:

For a horror game, it's not very scary. I think it's very difficult to create an atmosphere of fear with pixel graphics alone. Lone Survivor did it better, but the visuals and sound of Home don't contribute much to its overall experience. Where it tries to draw you in is with its writing and story. The game is punctuated with the terse observations and thoughts of the protagonist, which colour the sparse details of the world, transforming that small clump of pixels in the corner of the room into a pile of bloody rags, or that boxy-looking sprite into a map of strange underground tunnels.

Home relies a lot on its writing to generate the chills one expects of a horror game, but it often fails to deliver anything close to resembling what I'd call "horror". I felt like it failed to paint the whole picture, relying too much on the player to fill in the details. This is very deliberate, but it only becomes clear why so much is left ambiguous towards the end of the game, when the player prompts become opportunities to exert influence over the story's plot.

It fails as an exercise in interpretation partly because we've come to expect a great deal of direction from horror games, and this leads us to anticipate scares which Home never provides, but mostly because the ending (at least the one I got) is so underwhelming. With each discovery I made, I was further from understanding the plot, so by the time I had reached the end, I was left fumbling for answers. I felt no attachment to the character in the particular story I had created.

What I'd like to know, is whether anyone else was able to extract more from the game than I was? Because I can see that there's an interesting idea here, just one which I felt wasn't executed particularly well. I wasn't interested in filling in the blanks, or left pondering any greater meaning.

In particular, here's what happened in my game:

I never did establish exactly went on in the first house, the sewers, the factory, or the woods. I suspect at least some of that is intentional, but I do remember missing a few rooms out, and being told so during the narrative. When I reached Norman's shop he was dead and a load of my wife's stuff was there. The notes in my home suggested an affair, but when I went into the basement...

I chose to not find Rachel. This gave me an ending which made almost zero sense. Apparently I had completely imagined her, I had lived a lonely life and drunk myself into some kind of hallucinatory stupor. It never explained who killed Norman, the guard, or the people in the house.

What?

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http://homehorror.com/

Home_1.jpg

Anyone else played this?

It's a pixelated, horror-themed adventure game, about which I can't say too much more for fear of spoiling it, but it should be safe to say that there are multiple endings, and it takes about one and a half hours to complete. You can pick it up from Steam for a couple of quid, and it's available on both Mac and PC. It's received no small amount of praise from news sites like The Verge, so given I enjoy a good horror game, I sat down to play it last night.

If you have any intention to play this, I'd advise doing so before reading the following spoilers.

Here's what I thought:

I explored every room ( bar one ) but mine didn't make much sense either, obviously I made a number of choices but I can't really see how they actually affected anything.

I made the same choice as you at the end of the game & got a similar, confusing ending.

I didn't find any notes in my home, just a letter sticking out of a mail box confirming the affair & saying she was going to tell me about it before she left.

I collected all the missing items from my wallet but again, not really sure why that mattered.

I was expecting something that never came & I can only assume that the total lack of information or answers is completely intentional, which is a shame.

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Just bought this from the steam sale for the price of a mars bar. Here's how I interpreted it:

The game originally hinted that a serial killer was on the loose; women's named scratched out in the sewers and the notebook containing the same seemed to confirm this, particularly since 'Rachel' was the last name on the list. I assumed the old man was responsible - he had a torture basement in his house and the skeleton of his wife was buried down there in a shallow grave. The maps, notes and books about the area seemed to suggest that the killer was meticulous in their planning and knew the local area well.

I missed a few bits in the forest and didn't manage to open the locked door in the factory, despite finding the keycard. The security guard had clearly been bludgeoned to death with the very torch I was carrying. I eventually came across Norm's body in his apartment above his store; he had been shot with one of his own guns. Whilst walking home I found a letter stuffed into the mail box that suggested that Norm was having an affair with someone - I assumed Rachel - and upon finding her body behind the drywall in the house, I came to the conclusion that in a drunken rage I had murdered Rachel with my bare hands before confronting Norm about their affair and shooting him. I ran in fear, through the old factory, discarding my personal effects from my wallet along the way in a blind panic. I stumbled across the security guard and, being covered in blood, killed him for fear of him calling the police. I made my way through the forest and entered the sewers via a grate, hurting my leg from a fall in the process. I stabbed a sewer worker with a knife I found from somewhere. I made my way through the basements and up into the house, killing the old man in the process before passing out on the bed through exhaustion and pain.

Things I can't explain:

- If there was a serial killer - I didn't find further evidence past the sewers about the girls names

- What happened to the two people camping in the forest

- Why there were claw marks on the water tower and what had burst out of it

- The link between the torture basement and the overall story - was it purely coincidence?

Overall I enjoyed it, particularly since I only paid 67p for it. I like the sprites and thought they added to the charm of the game, making it seem very old school. Having looked at the website, I think it's clear you're not meant to know everything and finding certain clues or doing certain things pushes the story in certain directions to help you form your own conclusions about what really happened - I don't think there is a definitive 'this is exactly what happened' ending.

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A second play through suggests a totally different outcome for me:

Norman and the old guy were serial killers. This is suggested through the torture basement, list of female names and maps of the town, as before, only this time I found a box of random women's clothes locked away in Norman's attic. I also found the bodies of two females in the woods (presumably the campers). The story this time seemed to point at Norman befriending Rachel to get close enough to kill her. I discovered it too late and murdered Norm as revenge, tracked the other killer to his house and killed him before passing out due to injuries sustained in the effort. They had strewn my personal effects around town with the intent of framing me for the lot.

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