So much has been said about The Stanley Parable already that I was a little dubious when I finally got the opportunity to open it up. I figured that the element of surprise would have essentially been corrupted by the innumerable reviews and articles I'd read. I couldn't have been more wrong. The Stanley Parable lives up to the hype. It is undoubtedly one of the best indie games ever made, and an innovative new piece of video game art. If Beckett were to make a game, he'd make The Stanley Parable.
The Stanley Parable is essentially an existential video game. The gameplay is simple, so simple that anyone could play. You just control the way Stanley moves - forward, left, right, back. The real device at play here is what the player chooses. Your first choice, for example, is a set of two doors.
'When Stanley came to a set of two doors, he took the one on the left,' the narrator calmly explains.
Whether or not you follow the narrator's instructions opens up a Pandora's box of pathways. The game is fantastically designed. It asks you to try and break it. Whenever you push it, it pushes back, often in a genuinely humorous or disturbing fashion. Despite this, it manages to never be pretentious or feel as though it's smarter than you. It's an accessible, addictive, delight.
If you haven't played this game yet, you should. I'll refrain from saying more as I don't want to rob you of the surprise. It's most easily downloaded from Steam, and the trailer is below.