‘The Stanley Parable’ defies video game logic

by EMILY CLANCE
A&E Editor

On Oct. 17, development team Galactic Cafe released a peculiar game called “The Stanley Parable” and received a sudden and intense amount of praise from reviewers, both critics and players alike.

“The Stanley Parable” tells the story of a man named Stanley, who works in a bland office building and is told to press buttons as orders come in on his computer and not to question anything. One day, however, no instructions appear on his screen, so he leaves his office to discover that his coworkers have all mysteriously disappeared.

This might sound like a fairly ordinary, somewhat boring game, but players soon discover it’s anything but.

You take complete control of Stanley, which means that you are free to make all your own choices. The story is primarily presented through the invisible, smooth-voiced Narrator, played by British actor Kevan Brighting, but the game gives you the option to deviate from his instructions.

For example, one of the first choices you are presented with is a pair of  open doors. The Narrator says that Stanley goes through the door on the left, but if you choose to go through the door on the right, a whole new set of options open up for you.

The Narrator, of course, constantly tries to get you “back on track” for the story, but you’re always able to disobey what he says. The more you do, the snarkier and more irritated he gets.

With all the choices presented to the player, there comes an enormous amount of possible endings. If you follow the Narrator’s instructions, you get the “good” ending, but there are so many more to find. Some paths end in absurdity, some in Stanley’s death, and some paths seemingly never end.

“The Stanley Parable” has a very dry and somewhat surreal sense of humor. Combined with its frequent dark turns, it’s often reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone” or the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale.”

The game is based off of Valve’s Source engine and originally started out as a modification in 2011. The developers expanded the mod and released it two years later as an expanded, stand-alone version.

At first glance, “The Stanley Parable” looks like a game that won’t take long or provide much entertainment. But go through its layers and try to find all the various endings and Easter eggs hidden throughout, and it will last a while.

For more information, visit the game’s website. You can buy “The Stanley Parable” on Steam for $15, and it is available for both Windows and Apple computers.