Gaming the Game

What separates video games from most other forms of entertainment is that the player is an active participant with control over the outcome-but only to a certain degree. The Stanley Parable (Galactic Café) is an interactive "game" of sorts that pulls at this thread of choice and challenges players' perceptions of how much freedom games really give their users.

The player controls Stanley as he tries to determine why everybody in his office has disappeared. He is accompanied by a narrator describing Stanley's actions. Tension derives when the player attempts to push Stanley away from the story the narrator is trying to tell and the narrator tries to get him back on track. What follows is a funny, wacky, but also biting commentary about trying to tell a coherent story through a medium where the "audience" can simply wander off and, say, explore a closet instead. Or accidentally (or purposefully!) fall off a ledge and die.

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