Archive for Someone Else’s Writing

The World’s End and Characterization Vs. Copout

By | April 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

The-Worlds-End2Recently watched The World’s End starring Simon Pegg and written by Pegg and frequent collaborator Edgar Wright. Didn’t love it, which was surprising because of the good reviews and the fact that I really enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and even liked Scott Pilgrim well enough despite not being familiar with the comic and it being sort of ridiculous. I thought I was going to fall in love with TWE and ask it to marry me.

Instead, I enjoyed the first part and got bored the moment the skiffy element was introduced. What started off as an interesting, funny, and surprisingly moving tale of grown men dealing with childhood disappointment and the mundanity of adulthood just sort of went all cockeyed, for me. Your mileage may vary, of course, and if you loved it I have no argument to make.

It did make me think about some of my own early writing. This isn’t really a review of the film or even a discussion about it, it’s about my own writing tendencies. Which included a period where I would deal with emotional and character development issues by copping out and introducing a Deus Ex Skiffy.

DEUS EX SKIFFY (I Just Made That Up and Like It more than It Deserves)

What that means is, I used Sci Fi and Fantasy elements as a way of writing about things I was uncomfortable with, by not really writing about them at all. It went like this: I’d start a story about, say, a doomed love affair. After establishing the characters I’d get bored with/be afraid of where the story was heading, and would instead suddenly introduce a killer disease or alien invasion and pretend like this was what I’d intended to write about the whole time.

Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Either way, the Deus Ex Skiffy is a copout.

The World’s End sort of has this feel to me. What starts off as a melancholy story about a man who is just starting to realize that he peaked at age 18 suddenly turns into a rather confused, muddled story of alien invasion that, frankly, makes very, very little sense. The film’s still fun, and worth watching, but as a standalone effort it’s kind a mess. And I think it may have been a similar writing exercise as my own failed attempts at solving knotty character problems by introducing killer robots: They just got bored with the story they were writing and worried it was a little slow and dull, and so they changed lanes and ended a totally different story.

I mean, there’s pretty much zero foreshadowing in the story. This may have been intentional to keep the surprise factor, but if so it was a miscalculation, because it only adds to the sense of separation between two entirely different stories. Believe me, I know; I’ve done it.

Shut the Fuck Up, Donny

By | April 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Note: A version of this essay appeared in The Inner Swine Volume 4, Issue 2, circa 1998. I removed some meandering from the original essay but left in my juvenile abuse of dashes. You’re welcome. Also, 1998 was a hella long time ago and the Coen Brothers have released a lot of films since then, none of which factor into this essay.

MillerscrossingposterDislike and Disdain in the Films of the Coen Brothers

The Coen brothers, writers/directors/producers of the films Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, and The Big Lebowski, are, without any doubt, two of the biggest Swines to ever gain national distribution of their films. Put simply, The Coen’s absolute dislike and disdain for their fellow human beings is almost a palpable story element in every one of their films. They hate us. They make no bones about hating us. And we love them for it.

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MWA @ KGB

By | March 19, 2014 | 0 Comments
BUY ME

BUY ME

So, last night I read at the KGB Bar in NYC as part of the MWA Reading Series. Organized and hosted by the great Richie Narvaez, this was a blast. All readings should be held in bars because this allows me to get drunk in a socially acceptable way as opposed to my typical socially unacceptable ways. It’s better for all involved, believe me.

Here are some awful, terrible photos of the event I took. I mean, awful. I obviously have no idea how to use modern technology and may be some sort of time traveler from the 19th Century pretending to be a modern man in service of some evil witchcraft, based on the these photos. I mean, have I ever even seen a camera before? Doubtful.

Here’s the Rogue’s Gallery:

Scott Adlerberg kicked us off with a work in progress, which takes balls – but he rocked it.

Scott Adlerberg

My wife was super excited to see Kimberly McCreight read:

Kimberly McCreight

Next up, Anthony Rainone:

Anthony Rainone

There was a short break during which I attempted to drink five shots of whiskey and wound up, as usual, pantsless in the bathroom. The Duchess and my Fearless Agent had to pull me together, dumps a bucket of cold water on me, and walk me back to the bar in time to see the great Alex Segura read:

Alex Segura

Then it was my turn. I read a chapter from CHUM. I took a photo of the crowd at KGB so I would remember where I was last night:

crowd

And, last but certainly not least, Albert Tucher read from one of his Diana Andrews stories:

Albert Tucher

A good time. Thanks to everyone who came out!

House of Cards and the Shakespeare Fakeout

By | February 25, 2014 | 0 Comments
Indeed.

Indeed.

Okey – I like House of Cards, largely because Kevin Spacey’s facial expressions in this NetFlix original are fucking-A priceless. The show itself is fucking-A ridiculous, and suffers from one fatal flaw that makes it almost – almost – an effort to watch. That flaw is simple: Frank never loses. Not only does he never lose, he never convincingly doubts the outcome, ever. Oh, the script pays homage to doubt. It walks doubt through a warm room and buys it a few drinks, flirting, but it never takes doubt home. Spacey’s performance, even when he’s reacting in rage or doubt, always hints that it’s just for show. And the writers always offer up a solution right away – a solution that is always exactly right.

So, you can be entertained by a show like that, but never really affected by it. Frank is a monster, and he always wins. If the final episode of this show in 2033 or whatever shows Frank in an old-age home, hallucinating that he once became President of the United States, that would not surprise me.

Richard the IV

Much has been made of House of Cards and its relationship to Shakespeare, notably its use of the aside as a narrative device and the parallels between several plays, such as Richard III, Macbeth, and Othello. The problem with these discussions is the fact that the plays being cited were tragedies, and while the protagonists did terrible things and often did so with black wit and a saucy lack of guilt, they generally could be said to have suffered for their hubris and power grabs.

Frank Underwood doesn’t suffer much. Now, maybe the next season will be all about Frank’s fall into disgrace and punishment (Ed: LORD I HOPE SO) but so far Frank is simply the smartest man in the room, and his mean-spirited and largely joyless attitude is justified by the fact that his superpower is always being right and never losing. He may be the least Shakespearean character in the modern tradition of using Shakespeare to imbue your characters with classic weight and gravitas.

No Scrubs

And that’s the problem. Frank’s relentless success is fucking boring. The cycle the show goes through roughly every forty minutes is this:

  1. Frank reveals sick, twisted plan to manipulate the shit out of everyone. Sneers at camera.
  2. Unbelievably complex plan that relies on people doing the stupidest thing possible because Frank planted a hint in their ear about it five minutes of screen time previously succeeds completely.
  3. Frank sneers at camera.

The details of the insane scheme are often entertaining, and Spacey is basically having the time of his life playing this character – it’s like going to the Zoo at feeding time to watch some lions devour raw meat in their enclosure. But there are no stakes. Because Frank is going to win, and you know that going in.

Now, plenty of shows require their protagonist to always win – because in TV land we must always have a main character to hang the next season of the show around. So, no points off for Frank actually always winning – but a setback would be nice. A believable threat. Maybe a solid half hour of screen time when it actually seems like Frank might be in actual, real trouble? And then some clever writing. That last bit is the tricky part.

Because, House of Cards is okay at a lot of things. Dialogue. Kevin Spacey Bitchface. Painting everyone in the universe as a sexual pervert and potential serial killer. One thing it is not okay at is plot. It treats plots like a box of feral cats it found on the street which keeps scratching its arms and puking on its feet. Everyone does what Frank wants because it’s the only way the writers on this show can think to keep the plot moving.

In the end, it doesn’t matter: The purpose of the show is to get you to pay Netflix $8 a month, and as far as that goes it works just fine. And there’s always the possibility that in Season 3, Frank will go full on Greg Stillson from The Dead Zone on us, having a threesome with his wife, his secret service agent, and the dead dog from Chapter 1 while he gleefully pounds the LAUNCH button, staring unblinkingly into the camera.

I’d pay to see that.

 

Gone Girl

By | December 27, 2013 | 2 Comments

So, after much cajoling by The Duchess, I read Gone Girl by GGGillian Flynn. It’s going to be a movie next year starring Ben Affleck and several dozen other people you’ll recognize, produced by Reese Witherspoon and most probably being the talk of the town for a week and then disappearing. As films do.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about this book. Because it could be used in a creatve writing class to simultaneously demonstrate how to pull off some writing tricks well while also being used as an example of how to pull off some writing fundamentals really, really poorly. You don’t often find books that are simultaneously clever, well-written in spots, and disastrously bad nonetheless. It’s sort of made me obsessed with the book, frankly: On the one hand I am breathlessly jealous of Flynn for her genius twisty concept. On the other I am angry at the way she frittered it away. Let’s talk about it.

The Good

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

First of all, let’s be positive, the way they teach us in writing workshops. The twist is super clever, and cleverly handled, in my opinion. The creative use of unreliable narrator totally sets you up for the reveal, and it works. The first half of the book is very well observed, with both narrative voices working. I believed the marriage between Nick and Amy, I believed their slow descent into disdain and anger at each other, and I believed the ancillary characters. The mystery of what happened to Amy was intriguing, and overall I was sold.

The reveal itself was great, for a while at least.

What Flynn does very well is create a mystery. A down-home, old fashioned mystery. What happened to Amy? What’s Nick hiding? It’s set up really well and I was sucked in. The problem is that the books is all set up. It’s so much all set up that Flynn herself seems to lose interest in the book after the big reveal.

The Bad

So, spoilers: You know the basic plot, I guess, if you’re reading this. Nick’s wife Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, after much marital water has gone under the bridge. It looks very much like Amy was abducted violently, and that someone cleaned up the crime scene. Nick falls under immediate suspicion. The story is told in alternating first-person narratives, Nick in the present day and Amy via diary entries that seem to detail a romance and marriage falling apart, and a husband getting angrier and more abusive. Then, it’s revealed that Nick is having an affair, Amy knew of it, and she stages her own kidnapping in order to punish him, by framing him for her murder and watching him rot on Death Row.

Yup, it’s quite a twist. It’s borderline ridiculous, but could have been sold if Flynn had handled it better. The audacity of the twist almost sells the book by sheer power, in fact. The problem is simple: Flynn plays dirty, so dirty that the second you get over your amazement at the reveal you get pissed off.

Using faked diary entries from Amy – written by her but intended to present the police with a totally false depiction of her life with Nick in order to set him up as an angry, abusive husband – totally works because, as with all unreliable narrators, we’re fooled into thinking it’s real. That’s a simple trick. The problem is that while the Fake Amy in the diary makes sense to us, the Real Amy whose distasteful, sociopathic Voice takes over in part two of the novel is so awful you simply cannot believe for one second that anyone likes her, much less marries this monstrous woman.

Yes, she’s pretty. And we’re told a lot of other things about her to explain her ability to lure people into thinking she loves them while simultaneously being horrible to them. But that’s the real problem with the character (all the characters, really): We’re told these things. The characters themselves do not behave in any way that makes sense.

We’re told that Amy is brilliant, yet she acts incredibly foolishly beyond her clever frame-up of Nick. We’re told that Amy is vindictive and dangerous, yet when she is victimized at one point in the second half of the book she takes no revenge and meekly allows two grifters to steal all her money. This is a woman who frames her husband for her own murder in order to punish him, yet when two minor characters rob her she does nothing. We’re told that Amy can charm people and make them feel like they’re special to her, but we don’t actually see how that’s possible because the Amy we see is awful, all the time.

Nick’s an unreliable narrator as well, and that’s where things get stupid, because we’re in Nick’s head. Amy’s diary was a fake, so it’s acceptable that she’s lying – it’s done purposefully. Nick’s narration has no such device. He’s just narrating his life to us. Why in the world would he purposefully not think about the woman he’s having an affair with for the first third or more of the book? No reason, aside from Flynn’s clumsy need to keep his affair as a twist to shock the reader. We’re also told a lot of things about Nick that his actual behavior doesn’t support, like his feelings about his father and his feelings for the woman he’s screwing around with. Nick is a device, Amy is a device. Neither are characters.

The Ugly

Now, all of this would have been gleefully forgiven if the book had ended well. I’ll stipulate. If the book had a great ending I would have mentioned my carping about narrators and show-dont-tell and all that other stuff only after a few drinks and some encouragement.

The ending is not good.

The ending is so not good, you can literally feel Flynn running out of steam. The chapters get shorter. The writing more terse. She’s barely there, just tapping out contractually-obligated words to give the whole mess some sort of form. Characters behave in increasingly ridiculous ways, all justified by the supposedly awesome, unbelievable power of Amy, who is apparently, by book’s end, simply an elemental force. Unstoppable. You have to either believe that Amy is absolute power personified, or the ending become ridiculous and unsupportable. And I don’t use the word unsupportable lightly. The ending is so bad it requires not just a suspension of disblief, but a willing disregard of the concept.

And as I said, the worst part is the perfunctory way Flynn writes these last chapters. We’re called to believe that a) Nick cannot in any way prove Amy’s actions despite having a high-powered lawyer and a pretty good idea of exactly what she did – and a sympathetic police ear, b) Despite knowing how awful she is he would allow himself to be bullied into living in the same house with her, c) Despite knowing how awful she is he would remain married to her and d) when she performs her final repugnant act, impregnating herself with semen culled from masturbatory tissues Nick just left lying around the house (really! REALLY!) Nick would simply roll over and resign himself to spending his life living with a sociopath.

That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a writer, but Flynn presents these final chapters as brief sketches. There’s so little effort and detail it’s almost surreal. I could literally picture her just grinding out those final few thousands words with her agent or editor’s edit letter on the desk next to her and a half-finished bottle of liquor by her hand.

It’ll make a better movie, I think. And it’s not that the book isn’t enjoyable. It just made me angry.

Everything Old is New Again: Doctor Who

By | December 10, 2013 | 1 Comments

12dwAs River Song would say: SPOILERS.

SO, Doctor Who. I remember it, vaguely, form my childhood. My older brother, always a sucker for old-school monster stories, liked it for a while during the gory, gothic-tinged Tom Baker era and being a younger brother I naturally avoided it in public and then watched it secretly a few times and was scared witless by Tom Baker’s Insanity Grin. Then I forgot about it for a long time, and when it was reborn in 2005 I barely paid attention. Over the years I’ve occasionally heard a few things about it, seen come clips on YouTube etc., but generally ignored it, as any good American should.

Recently, for no reason whatsoever beyond being intrigued by the hype surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the show, I started watching. I sprinkled in some of the classics and a few of the older new episodes, but mainly I started watching the Matt Smith era for no other reason than there seemed like there were some interesting details in there. And for those who are already wondering: Yes, I watched Blink. It was actually the first episode I tried out, and based on it’s success I forged on. So stop asking me if I’ve seen Blink. I have.

Anyways, Dcotor Who has always been problematic for me, and remains problematic. In the old series I was always bothered by the slow pace, rough editing, terrible special effects, and the silly costumes. In the modern series they’ve solved many of those problems but some of the plot problems remain. All in all I think I’m in a Love/Hate relationship with this show at the moment. It’s sort of like an old friend from elementary school who comes back to stay with you for a while. You have fond memories, and you find him good company sometimes, but it’s just kind of strange.

Or maybe I’m more haunted by Tom Baker’s Insanity Smile than I’m letting on. LOOK AT IT (you can’t look away):

HOLY SHIT

HOLY SHIT

The World is Ending! Again! And Again! And Again and Again!

So, let’s keep in mind that I am mainly familiar with the Steven Moffat/Matt Smith era. I know a lot of the general backstory and some specifics from previous incarnations, but let’s stipulate that I’m playing with half a deck. Still, I have observations about this most modern version of the show.

The first is simple: It is a lot of fun.

People often say that Doctor Who is a children’s program, and it is, to an extent. The science is all wobbly and the history is too, but there is an awful lot of fun  in the stories, the sense that danger is fleeting, death impossible, and that we’d all prefer to be flying around the universe rather than, say, going to work. Yes! That. There are dramatic moments and even deaths from time to time (not counting the 12 times the Doctor himself has ‘regenerated,’ stated as canon as a type of death, since what makes him him dies and his memories are reborn as someone new) but generally speaking this is a show where the universe is a playground and even the most dire of threats are resolved by the end of the episode – or the story arc, at the very least.

The characterizations are fun, too. The Doctor himself is played with an affecting mix of boyish charm, wonder, curiosity, heavy sadness, and insane temper, but always with a human heart somewhere under all the alien physiology. The companions I’m most familiar with, The Ponds, make for fun people as well, and have supported some very effective dramatic beats in the story.

Overall, I’m saying: Don’t take any of my criticisms to mean I’m not a fan. I am! I really enjoy it.

But.

The problem with the modern Doctor Who is simple: The world is always ending. The world is always ending and Amelia Pond is always near death or being tortured or abandoned for 36 years or having her baby torn from her loving arms. Always. Always. This is an effective strategy for telling interesting, compelling stories … until it isn’t, because my dramatic/end of the world chip is burned out.

Moments

The modern Doctor Who always wants moments – which is to say, Steven Moffat, the showrunner, wants moments. As in, Moments. The show craves those big, dramatic, emotional moments like a writer craves booze. That is, constantly. Few episodes go by without a big emotional beat between characters, or the end of the world, whichever is happening sooner. After so many partings of the way and heartfelt declarations of affection and epic this and epic that, my Epic Emotion Chip gets a little burnt out. These sorts of moments are meant to happen rarely in any story. Not every single episode. Not to mention the fact that Amy Pond has, let’s see, been abandoned several times, suffered childhood psychological trauma, been assaulted and near death, been kidnapped and had her baby taken away from her to be raised as an assassin, been split into two versions one of which was left to rot and fight robots for thirty-six years, robbed of her ability to have more children, and eventually banished to the past to live out her years decades before her own parents and everyone she knows is born. And yet at no point is there any serious suggestion that Amy has suffered, you know? Because she got to go on adventures in between these horrific moments.

After a while you get tired of The Girl Who Waited and want her to get some peace and stop being Moffat’s little Emotional Beat monkey.

Of course, part of this is a product of binge-watching – fair enough. I’m not waiting weeks or months for the next episode – I’m just porning my way through them, and why not. The thing is, once you release a work, you can’t force people to watch in some very slow way so your emotional beats feel measured. That sort of thing has to be baked in.

The Bandage

Part of this is, I think, a reaction to the fact that Doctor Who has never had the greatest plots. Now, 800 or episodes is a lot of storytelling, so I will grant that not only have some of them been very good, but Doctor Who has a certain structure and feel to it that remains even in the new version. It’s a Monster of the Week serial and always has been: Most episodes can be boiled down to a few basic plot points:

1. Doctor and Companion arrive somewhere, usually unexpectedly

2. There is mystery. Doctor surmises alien of some sort is behind it.

3. Doctor investigates/opposes, seems out of moves and about to lose

4. Twist = Victory!

Now, certainly not every single episode follows this pattern – but most do, and it works well enough, even when the Monster of the Week is the Daleks Yet Again or the Cybermen Yet Again. But the point is it works precisely because Moffat et al have created characters we really do care about. The Doctor is kind of charming, especially with the spice of his darker side emphasized. The Ponds were charming and hilarious, and their back story in regards to each other and the Doctor was affecting. That stuff worked, and it distracts from the fact that most of the mysteries are explained, somehow, via timey-wimey and a sonic screwdriver. In other words, Moffat basically writes himself into a corner and then shouts TIME LORD!, throws a smoke bomb, and escapes yet again. You can do that when your character has 50 years and 800 episodes of history, but goddamn it, Moffat is abusing the TIME LORD/SMOKE BOMB button. If you ask me.

Which no one has. Am I thinking too hard about this? Likely. I tend to get all obsessive with things like this – I ignore them for years while others are telling me to check them out, and then suddenly, as if it was my idea all along, I dive in, burrow deep, and live and breathe it for a while.

I do enjoy the show and will keep watching it. But that doesn’t mean the Smoke Bomb’s gonna keep working on me.

Why “Scandal” Worked – At First

By | November 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

DAMNThat’s right, Imma about to write about the ABC show Scandal starring Kerry Washington. The TL:DR version is: I never would have watched this unless forced to by The Duchess, then briefly found it balls-out brilliant, and now not so much.

Here’s the long version: So, like I said, The Duchess commanded one day that we check out Scandal because people were talking about it and The Duchess loves her some zeitgeist. And I do what I’m told or things get broken. So we started to watch.

Right about here is where spoilers might start happening. Just sayin’.

At first it was kind of dumb: The editing tricks were headache-inducing, and the whole idea of the super-connected Olivia Pope schtupping the President in secret was only mildly interesting. I find a lot of Shonda Rimes’ writing tricks a bit shopworn and annoying at this stage; any attraction they had for me eleventy billion years ago when Grey’s Anatomy launched has been worn away. But it was serviceable, and The Duchess liked it, so we hung in. And for a short period of time, during the Defiance Arc, as it’s known, this show became so adorably fucked up insane it was absolutely entertaining.

The Defiance Arc was brilliant because just as you assumed the whole point of the show was OMFG THE PRESIDENT IS SCHTUPPING OLIVIA POPE! the show set you up and then hit you over the head with a conspiracy that stole the election that elected President Fitz-whatshisname. A conspiracy that involved the First Lady, a Supreme Court Justice, a Texas Oilman, the future Chief of Staff, and Olivia Pope – but not the President, who thought he’d won the election fair and square. This was such a demented plot twist that it carried the show for a while solely on the fumes of its audacity. Along the way, the President murdered the Supreme Court justice while she lay dying of cancer in the hospital, to give you a hint of just how demented it all got.

That was then. The Defiance Arc was resolved and the show must go on, so it’s been casting about for other ways to distract us from awe-inspiring awfulness that is the central relationships of the show (and the fact that the main character is so lacking definition she basically does batshit things all the time for no reason and does not in any way resemble the character introduced in the pilot at all unless you count consuming red wine in volume, in which case, a little bit). These ways have so far involved creating larger and more ridiculous straw villains who Rule the Universe – even more powerful than the President! – who also have intimate connections to Olivia et al. It’s so hammy by this point I fully expect Olivia to wake up in the shower one day and it was all a dream.

The reason Defiance worked was that the central idea was demented, and wonderfully so – but the mechanics of it were mundane. The way they stole the election? Simple, clean, and small-scale. It made sense, once you suspended disbelief sufficiently. The new arcs are now so soapy and silly I’m cleaner after watching this show and that DOES NOT happen when I watch TV, usually.

Ah well, I just wrote 550 words on a TV show no one will remember twenty years from now. I feel dirty.

The Arc of Walter White

By | October 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

walter-white-whiskeyI’ve been a huge fan of Breaking Bad throughout its run, and so I watched the finale, Felina, with a mixture of joy and horror, because it was very well done and it also meant it was ending. You don’t often see television shows that have 60+ episodes that are all reliably excellent. Of all the episodes of Breaking Bad, the worst ones were still pretty damn great. Grading them, I don’t think there would any below a B- in my book, and even those would be rare.

So, yeah: I’m a fan.

The Internet encourages instant reactions to things and then a quick Forgetting. Breaking Bad was a few weeks ago and it’s already fading from the Internet like a dim memory from childhood. But I’ve been thinking about it still. Because the finale was great, and because I think it accomplished something truly amazing. So let’s talk about menace.

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The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled: Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”

By | September 16, 2013 | 0 Comments
Despair.

Despair.

NOTE: Are there spoilers here? OF COURSE THERE ARE.

I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad. I may have posted about it here before, in fact. At this point I think the only people who don’t think Breaking Bad is easily one of the greatest TV shows ever are those effetes who refuse to own a TV because obviously and those who refuse to watch it out of some sort of weird pride. And, of course, small children.

For the rest of us, it’s been one hell of a ride. An almost perfect show, with very few weak spots. And the last episode, Ozymandias, was one of the few times in my life I’ve sat with my mouth open for an extended period of time. I could have easily been photographed and inserted as the example illustration under the head MIND: BLOWN.

I thought the previous episode, To’hajiilee was just slightly slow. Not bad, mind you, just … somewhat deliberately paced. I enjoyed moments of that episode immensely and overall would give it an 8 or 9 out of 10. But it felt like they held back a little, and it was irritating. And then in Ozymandias, Vine Gilligan and company did the impossible: They made Walter White the hero of the story.

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Where “Gone Home” Went Wrong

By | September 2, 2013 | 1 Comments

SPOILERS: There are many. If you’re foolish enough to fear spoilers, don’t read this. YE BEEN WARNED.

gh1So, Gone Home is a video game. Maybe you’ve heard of it, either because of its shocking nature as a first-person game created by some of the folks who worked on Bioshock that doesn’t have any guns, monsters, or action gameplay of any kind, or because of it’s storyline involving a teenage girl realizing she is gay and finding her first love. Or maybe you haven’t heard of it, because unlike me you have better things to do.

So, if you haven’t heard of it, here’s the basic rundown: It’s first-person, as I said, so you see everything as if you were there walking around. You do have a character, a college-age girl home from a year abroad in Europe only to discover the new house your family moved into is empty, your family missing, and all sorts of mysterious clues scattered everywhere. The point of the game is to figure out where your family is.

gh2Here I will spoil it all for you, because I must: You slowly discover, after wandering the house and finding keys and newspaper clippings and concert tickets and listening to audio journals your kid sister left behind, that your parents are off at couples counseling and your little sister has run away with her girlfriend.

That’s it.

In other words, presumably in the game’s universe your parents return the next morning, y’all call the cops on your sister, and a few hours later she’s being yelled at extensively.

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