This is the story of a man named Alex.
Alex sat down at his desk, intending to write a review of a video game recently released on Steam entitled The Stanley Parable. But first, a trip to the fridge. Perhaps a can of cheap Wal-Mart brand soda could quench his thirst.
Alex was satisfied with his decision. He moved his 3DS case off of his cluttered desk in order to make room for his soda can, and then once again prepared to write about this video gaming experience. But what would be the best things to say?
Looking at the template used by all video game critics since the dawn of man, Alex decided first to comment on the story. He wrote that The Stanley Parable was about a man named Stanley, and his adventures… no. Alex decided that adventures would imply too much about the admittedly limited gameplay options in The Stanley Parable. He deleted his line and started again.
He wrote that The Stanley Parable was about an office worker named Stanley, and it documented one of his more unusual days at work. “There!” Alex thought. That would be a good summary of the story.
At this point, Alex decided that there had been too much text, and to recharge your interest in reading this review, Alex went off to search out another image for you to look at momentarily before resuming your reading.
There. Isn’t that lovely?
Alex then clicked the preview button, making sure that his layout was proper. He was distracted momentarily, first by a blip on his Twitter feed, and then by a preview of an article where Bill Murray is a dick to actresses. He chuckled and restated the title of the article in a funny voice as if someone else was there to enjoy the joke with him. But no one was there. He was alone. It was somewhat creepy.
Alex sipped from his soda and then checked the Official Video Game Review Template once again. The next item was Gameplay. Alex wrote that The Stanley Parable features a man walking around an office. “Wonderful!” He thought. This was going great! Alex corrected a pair of typos in this paragraph and then checked the template once again.
Multiplayer. Alex was almost positive that The Stanley Parable didn’t have Multiplayer. However The Stanley Parable, a game previously established only to be a game about a man named Stanley wandering through an office, was tricky. Alex couldn’t be sure that a Multiplayer mode wasn’t hidden behind a set of blinds, or perhaps a soda machine. Alex simply wrote that the multiplayer was excellent, because otherwise the game’s obsessive fanbase would hunt him down and insult him for ignoring what must undoubtedly be a very important part of the game.
Alex was bored of typing, so he figured this was a good a time as any to insert another picture.
Alex was satisfied with his third image. Alas, the image was not from The Stanley Parable, but instead from a game entitled Takedown: Red Sabre. It would be weeks before anyone would point out this error to Alex, because as much as he would like the opposite to be true, there aren’t that many people that read his articles thoroughly.
Alex was still bored of typing after inserting his third image, so he got up from his desk and played a bit of Pokemon, which is a game about collecting hundred of monsters over and over again every two years or so. He Wonder Traded away a baby Charmander and received a Weedle in return, which contributed to his belief that all the American children who are playing Pokemon during the daylight hours weren’t worth trading with, and it was instead when the Japanese players were playing that he could obtain the rarest packets of data to put into his collection of data that he cherished so much.
Alex put down his 3DS and returned to his desk, reminding himself that he had other things to do on this fine Sunday. He therefore decided to rush the rest of the review, skipping over the parts of the template he hadn’t covered yet to get right to the conclusion. However, before the conclusion, Alex needed one more image in order to make the review look like an article and not the mad ramblings of someone complaining on a social network about being offended.
Oh come now! That’s not even an image from a video game! That’s a corporate logo that just says Stanley on it! Is that really what we’re going with?
It’s not changing. I guess that is final.
I do apologize reader. It seems that Alex was exceptionally lazy when writing this review.
Back to it then.
Alex pondered over the right words to include in his conclusion. This was the part of the review that most of you skipped right to at the start, an easy summary of the previous writing that can be consumed in thirty seconds, leaving you with enough spare time to watch an extra cat video, argue about the definition of the word “game”, or whatever it is that readers of video game reviews do with their spare time.
Alex expressed joy with playing The Stanley Parable, describing its engaging moments while also dancing around the many secrets that he had discovered throughout his three hour playthrough. He suggested to readers to try the free demo of the game before purchasing, before revealing that it was content not included in the base game. Alex then twinged slightly at typing the phrase “base game”, thinking it to be lame reviewer speak that no one outside the industry uses frequently.
Alex looked over the sloppy mess he had written, and realized that it was unsuitable for publishing. Where once there had been too few images, now there are too many, and the text besides the conclusion was vague at best. Alex then pondered if The Stanley Parable was meant to be reviewed. There was so much in the game that was to be kept secret, because the game really boils down to an act of discovery. Without the crutch of story spoilers, Alex really had nothing to write about. He briefly considered comparing the game to Portal but without the portals, but decided that the comparison didn’t make much sense.
So, his head hung in shame, Alex gave up on his review of The Stanley Parable, abandoning it to a drafts folder, never to be finished.
Or so he thought.
Now, if Alex were to have finished his review, he most likely would have posted this score below:
Although in all honesty, it’s entirely possible that he would have posted this score instead:
It’s hard to guess really. For all I know, he wouldn’t have given a score at all. Maybe he just would have posted this:
In any case, it is my humble opinion that you should go play The Stanley Parable. Or at least play The Stanley Parable demo and see where that takes you. Or if you can’t be bothered to do that, perhaps you should just watch the below Let’s Player enjoy a portion of The Stanley Parable instead of you.
In any case, I will be waiting.