I’m not a particularly big fan of meta-narrative as a rule. Considering my appreciation for the esoteric, that may come as a bit of a surprise, but too often it feels like writer-wank, an overly complicated way to get across a message with the least amount of nuance as possible. Not to mention that if we’re told by the narrative itself that everything is farce, then it becomes rather difficult to invest in any possible consequences. Obviously, there are exceptions. Though I tired of “deconstruction” as a concept, sometimes it’s so well executed that it can’t be ignored. I find that I give passes most often to comedies that play along those lines. I can forgive a good fourth wall break and wink at the camera if the rest of the experience is mostly based around winks and little else.
It’s for this reason that The Stanley Parable has been on my shortlist for a while, though I kept asking myself if there was anything left to say about it. It’s a remarkable commentary on choice (or lack thereof) in games and futility of the worlds they inhabit, but it may be difficult to put myself back into the same mindset that I was five years ago, somehow trying to pretend that I didn’t know what was going to happen.
To that end, I sought out Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist, a more recent project from Stanley’s William Pugh. This time, you’re preparing to play a very exciting spy thriller, only to have it immediately glitch out and stick you in a waiting room. As it turns out, the system can only handle one player at a time and you’re out of luck. What follows is a very familiar though much briefer and more linear look behind the scenes of the game, lead by another unseen narrator. Since most of the staff is on strike, you essentially have to play the man (or lady) behind the curtain, triggering the various setting changes and hazards that the current player is dealing with. Also, you’re responsible for a tiger.
I don’t want to spoil much beyond that since a) it’s about 15 minutes long and b) it’s free, so there’s really no excuse not to check it out, though I will recommend that you find the tranq gun as soon as possible. Wouldn’t want to get mauled. You know, by the tiger that you’re clearly not trained to handle. Probably should have been an orientation video on that, at least.