More spoilers for Gone Home
Mrs. McP has the damn laptop. I’m down here on the ol’ PC. It’s drivers are all fucked up. What the hell did she do to it? Poor, poor, sad ex PC.
Anyway, we blog on.
So the safe………..
Here’s the thing, I don’t really get what they were doing with this.
So in the room BY the safe, we find clippings about Oscar. He was thrilled when he opened the soda fountain and kids came…..ok…..why’d we save that? He sold his business in a hurry…..ok…..why’d we save that?
So by the safe is a growth chart for Terry (odd place for it) on the wall, like marks for how tall a kid is getting. And then there’s that creepy dark room with nothing.
Anyway, the last year on the growth chart is “Terry-12” and it’s 1963, which is the combination of the safe. 1963.
In the safe, we find drugs, a syringe, and a note Oscar wrote to a sister. The letter was return to sender. In it, Oscar swears he has “removed all temptation” and “regrets his sins” and “just begs someone in the family to forgive him.” Etc.
The heavy implication is that Oscar is a child molester, Terry was one of his victims (why have the combo be the last year he saw him?) and that Oscar willed the house out of guilt. Why else keep that letter reaching out to Terry in that secret desk panel that had the “?” on the prompt?
But it isn’t said explicitly. Could be the drugs. Who knows?
So what to make of that?
Now, that was avoidable. You avoided it. But what was NOT avoidable was the last thing you see before the dark room and the endgame: the scene in which Sam and Lonnie are, on Lonnie’s last night, exorcising Oscar’s ghost. The ghost of the man that may well have molested Terry. THAT’S the penultimate bit, and you HAD to see it. The attic key is right there.
I’m not sure what to make of that. I’m not sure why they needed that. The whole “psycho house” itself is a monument to pain and guilt. Until it wasn’t? Was it?
They wanted something there. Not sure what.
Wow…that is an interesting twist. And a heavy one to throw in there. You’re right, one wonders what purpose it was meant to serve in the larger narrative.
It seriously distracts from Sam’s story, though of course the dad’s and the mom’s stories are also ongoing aspects of the whole thing, so it’s not that it feels totally out of place, just…wow. Heavy, man.
It could throw some light on why dad was having so much trouble ‘earlier’ in the story, when we first found his drunken ramblings and empty bottles, but one can ramble drunkenly without having been molested as a child.
And true, it does cast the girls’ exorcism of old uncle Oscar in a new light. Maybe he needed to be exorcised after all. Maybe there WAS a ghost, and Katie just got home too late to encounter it. After all, the electrician’s report suggested that lights going out could be kind of common, but we only saw it happen once…maybe that one time WAS bad wiring, but it used to happen all the time. Maybe we’re meant to be left to wonder about that? Ghost/not-ghost, horror/not-horror?
I don’t know…child abuse really feels like almost too tough a topic to throw in there like that, honestly.
It is a heavy one, and one that I think was meant to be…metaphorical? I mean, child abuse as a metaphor is….questionable…I get the sense there was something else there. More on that in a bit.
And it certainly makes it the family’s story at some level, which, as you say, it always was.
I still see the exorcism as not literal. I mean, what the stuff in the safe does do is it turns the exorcism from a silly thing that two silly teenagers are doing to end a silly young person’s game (“Ghost hunting….ooooooooo”) into a metaphor of something much more evil. Sam and Lonnie are just playing, but to us, the observer, it’s more of a sign that the things the whole family is getting over (a possible not really affair, a bad job, teen angst) are really teeny tiny things. There’s far worse things going on. Or there were far bigger obstacles to overcome before one could grow.
It does seem a bit too heavy for this game…. but here’s the thing.
I did look at the trophy list, and there are LOTS of hidden trophies we didn’t get. The safe one was, like, at 8%. The others were all 5 or 6. Which makes me think:
I wouldn’t put it past this game to make us, at some level, into Katie. Katie, naive little Katie, always seems to think she knows what’s up. She KNOWS Sam, man. She KNOWS her parents. And, even when she finds out she doesn’t, she digs, picks up some mugs (we can talk on how we hate game mugs later), hears some tapes from her slightly less naive sister, and man she KNOWS what’s going on NOW. We KNOW! We FINISHED the game, man.
But what if we don’t? What if we, right now, looking at our silver “Finish the game” trophy are being as silly as Katie? The game said “Dig some. Learn.” Katie didn’t dig before she left. Maybe we didn’t dig enough now. Maybe we’re being the same self satisfied sucker Katie is. Maybe the real story, the real demon, is still uncovered.
Because, besides trophies, two things leap out. One, we learn about ol’ Oscar early on. His obit is right by the door, near the foyer. He’s a major character. He’s there for reasons other than to leave them the house. And this main thing, which may be one of many main things, about him is hidden.
Two, Terry’s dad. We get that one dismissive, asshole letter, and we get the VERY creepy picture of ol’ dad with his face cut out. Both there in the horror basement. Near, I point out, where SOMEONE (Maybe NOT Oscar) was measuring Terry (in a basement….eww) and keeping a small, dark, room. That suggests…story. There’s something there.
Usually I’d say “Well, they didn’t follow up on that. It was cut. Games leave loose ends.” This game? I want to say “We missed it. Katie missed it. We’re still in the dark.”
And, even if I’m wrong, the fact I’m wondering, that the game did enough to make me wonder, is awesome.
It does kind of make me think I might play it again…very thoroughly and carefully…although keep in mind, from the one glance I took at the trophy list, some of them were for things like “finish the main story in 10 minutes” or whatever, which is NOT rewarding a careful and thorough exploration. Not that there can’t be rewards for both types of playthroughs, and they surely know that one of the advantages of a short game is that people with other games on their lists and stuff COULD actually play through a few times if they want to try to get all the trophies.
I obviously missed something, and it’s entirely possible we both missed plenty of other things (maybe there was a secret in the Magic Eye pictures after all!).
Yeah it was the hidden trophies that got me thinking. There’s lots. Well, six or seven.
I ain’t staring at the magic eye.
Remember how my car’s in the shop cuz someone hit it? Someone hit the rental. Been on the phone all afternoon. And we were on a roll.
O. M. G. Someone hit the rental?
OK, who have you offended lately?
But surely you could stare at the magic eye while waiting on hold, man. Use that time productively! For trophies!
Although…how they would know if you actually got the magic eye picture, I don’t know. Maybe there’s a message in the picture that says “go here and push this button” or something, so you can verify you did it and claim your trophy.
The internet would know, but hell with that. I’m not looking it up.
They’re hidden. We’ll never know.
Though there’s a features in this last system update that’ll give you a chance to reveal what the hidden ones are. Once I get to it for next game. That’ll make blogging easier.
Sometimes hidden things are better left that way. Why should we go poking around in the arcane depths? That’s how demons get unleashed.
Well, it will be a choice.
You never know what the not hidden trophies are anyway.
It’s true, I don’t. I’m so used to Mr. O’ playing first and getting them all, that it doesn’t occur to me to pay attention to them even when he’s not playing first.
Except that one time. I really worked for the platinum in Skyrim! I CARED then. But it was a fluke.