Beer and Games: Gone Home and Green Monster

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Anomalies are being reviewed this week on beer and games. Deschutes is strong in the craft beer scene with The Abyss being one of my personal favorite beers. But like everyone, they aren’t perfect (see the 2009 batch of The Abyss) and Green Monster is a tribute to this fact. The story goes that Green Monster started as a different beer entirely which just wasn’t turning out properly, but instead of wasting the batch Deschutes decided to chuck it in some Pinot Noir barrels and let it sit for a couple years with some Brett in hopes of creating a sour….something? Its a limited release experiment with unknown expectations.

gonehome_titlescreen

And this is one of those Beer & Games pairings I actually did correctly guys (applause please). Gone Home is an experiment in its own right, one that is a more successful than Green Monster. Not that I’m bashing Green Monster, its just that Gone Home is really good. IGN just gave it PC Game of the year . I’m especially impressed with how much I liked it considering what it is. See Gone Home is not your typical “game”. Without going into too much detail (it is one of those games that falls under the “less you know the better” category), you basically walk around a house reading notes on scraps of paper. Sounds thrilling right? Well yeah somehow it is. This game is going to be compared to another game you may have heard of called Dear Esther. I wasn’t having Dear Esther. Everything I feared about that game became true. I was bored out of my mind, didn’t care for the story and the intrigue just wasn’t there for me.

Hence I went into Gone Home with the exact same fears still not settled. But Gone Home works where Dear Esther failed. Again I don’t want to go into too much detail because it ruins the game, but basically you go through learning more and more about the story that touches a bunch of points like patriarchy, teenage angst & love, gender roles, the military, parenting, depression, hypocrisy and so on. Feel free to roll your eyes. I’m the king of eye rolling especially when it comes to hipster art projects that try to express something the artist doesn’t even fully understand. And yes I even felt slightly obnoxious writing that comma filled descriptive sentence. But again let me reiterate, Gone Home works.

Deschutes' Green Monster

I think it comes down to how easy it is to relate to the game. You will relate to it in one way or another I promise you. And I think that is why the game is so successful in keeping you engrossed in the characters and the mystery to be solved. Where Dear Esther felt like it was trying too hard to accomplish something “new” and artistic, Gone Home comes off completely smooth. Never (never I say!) would I ever have believed I would actually be completely immersed in a game that involves going from one note to the next reading, but Gone Home introduces everything at just the perfect pace that the slow burn kept me constantly hungry to continue. And it is a testament to the game design and balance that I never once got stuck/lost all while still feeling fully engrossed. Though again this isn’t really a puzzle game per say. Every step is basically handed to you with no challenge, but that’s not the point of the venture. The point is walking through the experience.

Green Monster on the other hand doesn’t really have a point. For a beer that spawned from such an unusual beginning ends up being kind of meh. Tastes like a crappier version of Russian River’s Consecration. Though I’m glad Deschutes made this beer. It certainly is interesting. It is up there with the sour level found in the Russian River beers, though maybe not as puckering as some of them. Tastes of tart rotten fruit, maybe apples, grapes and cherries (maybe all thrown in vinegar for too long…) ? I don’t know. It is basically an average sour with a weird “rotten vinegary”-esque blend to it. If you have never had a sour don’t start here, I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just call it interesting.

Ok back to Gone Home. Sorry, I thought I was going to go into this review talking mainly about Green Monster since I was pretty excited to try such a weird beer, but after playing Gone Home things changed. On the technical front it is not going to amaze you by any means. Models are very geometric and rudimentary and textures are drab and sometimes wrap/repeat around the geometry. And the gameplay is basically a clone of Penumbra and Amnesia (don’t worry, its without the horror). But again that is not what Gone Home is about, and those faults are alleviated by the great atmospheric build up and sound design.

Gone Home + Green Monster

Like my sick ass gaming keyboard? Its the best for the twitch bro.

Basically just go play Gone Home. You may hate it. It may make you cry. It may make you bored out of your mind. But it is worth a shot. Its short too, my playthrough only lasting 1-2 hours max. I was the skeptic going into this one folks, and it worked for me. Though the (slight slight slight spoiler coming I am warning you here so I don’t get yelled at, just ignore this sentence and continue on, its not even a spoiler really) cynic in me didn’t care for the ending too much especially considering the blatant build up for something else. But the journey was worth it.

Sorry Beer & Games took a (relatively) more serious tone this week but that’s what happens when you play art games that are actually good. Plus Green Monster is only 7.3% alcohol so it wasn’t like one of those Vietnamese Speedway reviews where I get plastered even though I did finish the whole bottle. My heart burn probably won’t be happy with me but whatever. The beer is just kind of whatever. Ill put it this way, if I didn’t know tthe history of this beer I would completely throw this one a “some amateur brewery probably tried making a sour for the first time and failed”. But given the history and the fact that it isn’t 100% a complete mess (just 57% a mess) is a testament to the craftsmanship Deschutes employs. Still a meh beer though.

Gone Home – 9.5/10
Green Monster – 5/10

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Author: Chris Fadeley View all posts by
I am UF alumni and a computer engineer. I know virtually every useless fact about videogames ever. I like computers and potatoes.

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