Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the Stanley Parable, the legendary choices game celebrated for exploring player freedom, meta-story tropes, and a hilarious narrator to complement and mock our every action.
Receiving particular acclaim from the Game Awards today in a Twitter post, the organization celebrates the ten years since the Half-Life 2 mod turned standalone release in 2013 after selling millions of copies and winning awards for its hilarious writing and narration.
Inverse also praises it as the ultimate answer to the “are games art” with its clever commentary on “how choices form a relationship between developer and player” and the game’s many quirky endings.
For those who haven’t checked out this mind-boggling adventure, the Stanley Parable centers around the titular Stanley, an office worker who pushes buttons all day and arrives to find all his co-workers are gone. After a brief bit of terror, Stanley musters the courage to leave his room and discovers a set of two open doors where the narrator instructs him to take the door on his left.
For its part, Stanley can follow the narrator’s instructions for a brief story about breaking free from an oppressive work life and finding his happiness. However, it also explores the relationship between the player and narrator as disobeying the narrator can lead to a spectrum of endings that see Stanley realize he’s going mad, discover he’s playing a videogame, or the narrator befriending Stanley and going on a confusing adventure together.
All-in-all, the Stanley Parable isn’t afraid to embrace some of its wackier elements and comment on players that manage to get out of bounds or fall to their deaths to make a point about player choice or have a chuckle at your attempts to be free.
Since its release, the Stanley Parable received an Ultra-Deluxe Edition last year that added almost double the amount of endings with a bucket companion and a whole host of meta-jokes for hardcore fans of the original.
Have you gotten the Broom Closet ending? The Broom Closet ending is my favorite!
Even if the game’s a relatively short affair with simple gameplay, the Stanley Parable’s witty commentary and sharp humor still hold up ten years since its release. If you haven’t tried out this modern masterpiece, go see why people keep insisting on the Broom Ending is their favorite.
Will the Stanley Parable 3 Ever Come Out?
Honestly, probably not. The Ultra-Deluxe Edition makes a point of the impossible task of recreating the genius of the original’s choices-matter game.
It even has an ending where you change the game’s name to the Stanley Parable 3, 4, and 5 the more you beat it, so you and the developer can drag the Stanley Parable through the mud together.
Though Inverse notes Stanley Parable creators Wreden and William Pugh went on to make their own games, “The Beginner’s Guide” and “Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist,” they never capture the same groundbreaking impact of the original.
Though this doesn’t undermine their achievements, it shows how singularly fantastic the Stanley Parable was and how few games have come close to matching its wacky meta-commentary and hilarious writing.
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