2022 Games of the Year: The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe
The Stanley Parable is a game I missed out on when it originally came out. I played something like 10 minutes of it, didn't get what it was trying to do, and set it down.
Last week, a newly updated "Ultra Deluxe" version of the game came out on basically all the consoles. People were finally talking about it more openly instead of being cagey around the core premise and I quickly realized the game is very meta and very much about exploring different choices over and over again in the same game. I decided to give it another shot and am glad I did.
I kind of love this game. I also now see why it was so hard for people to talk about. To give any concrete examples from the game is inherently to spoil some of the core fun.
But, I can talk a little bit about what this game is. At it's core, it could be reduced to a "walking simulator" but that doesn't do it justice. It's also a choose your own adventure... and an examination of what makes a game a game. On top of that, it's a re-examination of itself over time.
But maybe the best way to give a feel for it is to talk about the first real choice (of many, many choices). You come into a room with two doors and the narrator says that Stanley goes into the left door. But... you don't have to. You can go against what the narrator says. And that, in itself, is core to what the game is about.
I was incredibly surprised by how much I liked The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe. It's landing fairly high on my list, currently coming in at number 3:
- Elden Ring
- FFXIV Endwalker
- The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe
- Horizon Forbidden West
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus
- Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition
- Halo Infinite
- Vampire Survivors
- Triangle Strategy
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- Nobody Saves the World
- Total War: Warhammer 3
We'll see how it holds up over time but I suspect this is a game I'll be thinking about for a long time.