The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is an interactive game released as a mod in July 2011 by Galactic Cafe. The game got an HD makeover and was released on Steam on October of 2013.

The backstory of the game is short and simple in that you play as a character named Stanley. As Stanley, you are known to have worked in an office with a job of responding to orders on your computer by ‘pressing buttons’.

The job appears painfully dull but Stanley is happy with his job regardless. The story begins when Stanley arrives one day to his computer without a single order and with his co-workers missing.

Stanley’s Office

Once the game starts, you are welcomed by a narrator who describes the situation to the player as they stand in their empty office. Upon stepping outside and walking through a few halls and corridors the narrator presents two doors in front of the player.

The narrator lays out the story for the player by stating that Stanley was to walk through the ‘left’ door. From this point on every choice you make will determine the ending of your game.Do you listen to the narrator as he guides Stanley to freedom from this boring and dull life, or do you have Stanley decide his own path and venture beyond the parable? Or perhaps stand in a closet for 10 minutes straight as the narrator grows more frustrating by the minute?

As any normal human being, my initial thought was to do the complete opposite of wherever the narrator was directing Stanley. The ending was chaotic and the game that the narrator created was consequently ‘destroyed’ for straying too far from the plot. I applaud Galactic Cafe for their attention to detail to every decision that the player could have possibly made Stanley take with the narrator piping in response to make his usual criticizing or witty statements.

Each play through of the game can last for a few minutes, but with so many endings and with the settings being constantly changed after every restart, the game can be played for hours on end.

In many ways the game can be philosophical, disturbingly eerie, and comedic. Each help to build the game’s overall enjoyment but I found the game’s comedic traits to stand out most of all.

The large role of verbal humor used in the game occasionally sparked fits of laughter throughout the game. The narrator’s voice acting was phenomenal and downright one of my favorites. The narrator’s use of sarcasm and wit was very enjoyable and had not been offensive in any means.

The Stanley Parable was an incredible and unique game. The game in many ways broke the fourth wall in video game experiences for me.


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