The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is another in a long line of experimental mods for Half Life 2, with a narrator guiding the player through the story.. the author of the game recommends that people play before reading about it, so.. go play first, as this post may contain spoilers 😉

Stanley is employee #427, whose job consists of pushing buttons as instructed, when instructed, every day.. until one day, there are no instructions, and no other people.  The narrator provides the direction, and he says that Stanley goes to the employee’s lounge..

After leaving the office, I was presented with two open doors.. the narrator said that Stanley goes through the left one. I disobeyed..

The narrator commented on Stanley having gone the wrong way, and said that he therefore turned left at the next available opportunity.. of course I carried on going the wrong way, which resulted in the narrator talking about how bad Stanley was at following orders.. and that he then decided to punish himself!

The oh-so-calmly delivered commentary about my ruining the story, insults about my ability to follow instructions and the direction to go and punish myself had me crying with laughter 🙂

When the lift arrived, I missed the fact that there was a choice to disobey again, and went up as instructed, to face my punishment.. and mocking from the narrator about being stupid enough to actually get into the trap too 😀

I decided to behave on the second run, but when I came to a set of stairs to go up, I went down.. and then round and round until Stanley went mad, collapsed and died, only to be discovered by a woman who served as a pointed comment about not finding out what the story was about as you didn’t follow instructions!

The third run had my obedience right up until the very end.. I came across the generator room where the player is told about the machine controlling all the employee’s feelings, and causing them to do what they’re doing.. much like how a game controls the players’ feelings and actions 😉

Right up at the top of the room had the option to engage or disable the failing generator.. the blue pill or the red pill.. I made my choice and was rewarded with freedom, or at least entry to an outdoors area 🙂

As it’s still ScampLAN, the guys also tried out the game afterwards, and both disobeyed the initial instruction to go through the left door, though maybe influenced by my comments..

They were more disobedient than me, and went down a floor in the lift, to be faced with the choice of doors again, and with more disobedience being shown an room made of skybox and dev_textures, before being put into an empty Half Life 2 map, with the narrator throwing a few insults about Stanley being fat, ugly and really stupid, bad at his job, and addicted to drugs and hookers:D

When I downloaded the mod, it came with a text file of author commentary, which was preceded by a note saying not to read anything before playing the game itself.  Apparently most people take the left door on their first playthrough.. so I guess we’re a little more delinquent than most!

The author also lists Dear Esther, which I played and loved a while ago, and Robert Yang’s Radiator HL2 mod, which I’d not heard of before but is now in my download queue 🙂