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ID@Xbox Game Fest Recap – Gone Home

We’ve officially wrapped up ID@Xbox Game Fest 2019 and we loved this year’s theme: Gaming for Everyone. As Xbox Ambassadors, it’s our mission to help make Xbox fun for everyone, and that’s just what ID@Xbox has set out to do. 

The 31 games featured in this year’s Game Fest highlight diverse stories, voices, creators, and characters. Indie games like DandaraIn Between, and 1979 Revolution: Black Friday represent a future where gaming really is for everyone, and everyone has a game they can and like playing. 

The Xbox Ambassadors Team and Playhosts streamed some of their favorite ID@Xbox games to celebrate diversity in gaming. Read on for our Gone Home recap! 

Gone Home is a single-player first-person exploration story adventure game set in 1995 in rural Oregon. Developed by The Fullbright Company, we take on the role of Katie Greenbriar, a young woman returning home to an absent family and empty house after a trip overseas. Katie must piece together recent events through the clues left by younger sister and narrator, Samantha. With each clue, a new part of the house unlocks taking the player deeper into the relationship of Sam and new-found confidant Lonnie. The two bond and with time, a romantic relationship develops between the young women. We experience the whirlwind of emotions as Sam discovers her sexuality and identity as a lesbian.  

Samantha recognizes her feelings for Lonnie, sharing her fears, hopes and excitement with Katie in notes and letters left throughout the house. She accepts herself as a lesbian and comes out to her family whose reception of her homosexuality, is met with denial, resistance and a lack of support or understanding. The themes of Gone Home we praised for addressing LGBT issues that many players, including myself can identify with. 

Image of a zine, a DIY magazine about the riot girl movement and punk rock with black and white images of women

The game drew me with the need to solve the mystery of the empty house. It presents as a ghost story, a theme which carries through to the last note from Samantha. My fear built as I made my way to the attic, not knowing what I’d find there as the story unfolds. The story is beautifully told and resonated with me personally as a member and advocate of the LGBT community.  

Image of red twinkle lights under and attic door with a sign that reads, do not enter if lights are on

Gone Home and the Fullbright Company happen to be one of the many driving forces behind events like PAX establishing Diversity Lounges that provide a safe space for communities and organizations like the Xbox Ambassadors, GaymerXAbleGamers, We Need Diverse Games and more to discuss and promote gaming diversity issues and more. Gaming for everyone is something I’m very passionate about and I’m happy to see spaces where communities can come together to provide and find information. If you’ve been to PAX and never found yourself in the Diversity Lounge, be sure to check your event map for it on your next trip to a PAX event! 

A few notes to those considering a download:  

  • The game deals with LGBT issues and subjects that may be difficult for some audiences 
  • The game is slow paced and builds like reading a novel; be ready to complete it in a 2+ hour gaming session 
  • Once the ending of the story is revealed, you’ll want to play it again 

The game is available on Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch and I highly recommend it to all players interested in a walking sim adventure and interested in games with LGBT themes. I hope you’ll play the game yourself and leave a review of your experience in the comments below.