GDC 2014

GDC 2014 Session Scheduler

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Why Is Gone Home a Game?

Steve Gaynor  |  Co-Founder, The Fullbright Company

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Format: Session
Track: Design
Vault Recording: Video

The critical and public reception to Gone Home has certainly been...interesting. Is it a game? Is it not a game? How can something that isn't a game be game of the year? Who gets to own the definition of terms, by what metrics, and to what end? And why, if the "point" of Gone Home is its story, should it be expressed as a game in the first place? These questions of what makes a game, how interactivity and player agency provide meaning, and of what design philosophy and specific techniques were used in Gone Home to create an interactive experience that resonated deeply with players and critics will be addressed from the perspective of a designer that brought years of AAA experience to bear on a small, self-funded indie title that made some of 2013's biggest waves.


Attendees will gain perspective on how classical definitions of games and play inform modern video game design, how the design philosophy of immersive simulations can be broadly applied across genres to foster player engagement, and how a focus on accessibility can bring their games to new and vital audiences.

Intended Audience

This talk is targeted at developers of all experience levels that share an interest in designing games that draw players in and captivate them without handholding or condescending to their audience, and in telling stories in ways that only video games can.