The Stanley Parable

Kings of comedy: the flourishing art of interactive humour

Chris Schilling at

Few games are designed to make you laugh. And among those that do, laughter is often a happy accident, the inadvertent by-product of a combination of systems that provoke moments of unintentional comedy.

“People laugh at videogames constantly,” says former Irrational Games alumnus Jordan Thomas, who recently worked as creative consultant on South Park: The Stick of Truth. “But largely it’s because they’re laughing at the clumsy and often absurd intersection between the designer’s intent and their own.” Thomas insists there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but the distinction is clear: we’re laughing at games, not with them.

For comedy writer and director Graham Linehan, it’s pretty low on his list of priorities when playing a game. “For me it’s like comedy in porn,” he says. “It’s kind of beside the point.” Valve writer Erik Wolpaw, who co-scripted Portal and its sequel, admits that he once likened the idea of comedy in games to “the guy who talks between dancers at a strip club. Nobody cares what that guy says and anybody who does is probably kinda maladjusted.”


The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 3

PC Gamer at

It's day 3 of the Steam Summer Sale, and though your wallet might be pleading with you to stop throwing money at your monitor, the bargains keep on coming - and some prime deals await you today. There's a couple of very good deals in the dailies right now, so if you've been waiting for a steep reduction on a certain dragony shouting game, this is your moment to swoop. In case you'd forgotten, GOG.com is having its own sizzling summer sale as well, so be sure to check that out too.

Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.


Dota 2 gets meta with The Stanley Parable announcer pack, available now

Phil Savage at

Now you can get in the mood for DIGITAL SPORTS! with the help of the smooth, comforting and somewhat sociopathic Narrator from The Stanley Parable. As teased all those months ago, his gently mocking wit is now available as a Dota 2 announcer pack. Sure, it's not hard to make fun of an incomprehensible game about internet wizards, but it takes skill to do it and still make the game's fans want to give you money.


Dota 2's The Stanley Parable announcer pack has been recorded, reveals narrator

Phil Savage at

This is the story of a videogame named Dota 2. Dota 2 was a popular game about wizards and pushed lanes and unprompted apologies. It had absolutely nothing to do with another game, called The Stanley Parable, but for one exception: they both contained voice-overs. And so, last year, the creator of The Stanley Parable announced a desire to write and record a Dota 2 announcer pack featuring the meta-comedy's narrator. And, after a long silence, it was revealed that the pack had been recorded, and will likely soon be available to buy.


IGF award nominees announced. Papers, Please and Stanley Parable lead the pack

Ian Birnbaum at

The finalists for the 16th annual Independent Games Festival has been announced, and we’re pleased to see some great games from 2013 are getting the recognition they deserve. In particular, Lucas Pope’s brilliant Papers, Please has been nominated for four awards and The Stanley Parable has been nominated for three awards.

The IGF continues to grow, and 650 entries fought for the judges' love this year. Voting for the audience award winner will begin on February 18 ahead of the final award ceremony on March 19. In addition to the nominations, the honorable mention category gives a boost to a number of great PC games: Don’t Starve received an honorable mention for excellence in visual art, and Kerbal Space Program got an honorable mention slot for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Read on for the list of nominees.


Game of the year awards 2013: personal picks

PC Gamer at

Welcome to the PC Gamer Game of the Year Awards 2013. For an explanation of how the awards were decided, a round-up of all the awards and the list of judges, check here.

There are always nominees that mean a lot to just one or two judges. In past years these might have been included as runners up, but this year we wanted to recognise them in a more substantial way. In addition to the main awards, we've each taken a personal pick, and written about why that game made such a great impression in 2013.

The PC Gamer Games of the Year 2013 award nominees

Evan Lahti at

PC Gamer editors are prohibited from celebrating Christmas. For the team, the end of the year is marked by an event known as “GOTY Sleepover,” a time where we somewhat-voluntarily sequester ourselves away from our families and loved ones in the interest of a greater good: selecting the best PC games of the year. We gather in a room with a very heavy door and very little ventilation and stay there until we’ve reached a unanimous decision on every award category. It’s a lot like the Papal conclave, but with more Cheetos.


The Stanley Parable creator removing controversial scene after complaints

Michael Jones at

It only just came out, but the high-selling, high-scoring indie smash The Stanley Parable has found itself in a controversy which has led creator Davey Wreden to remove a scene from the game. The content in question depicts a white business man burning a young black child's face with a cigarette. Easy to see where somebody would get offended there. While the context attempts to drape the joke in satire, some players simply found themselves appalled, and Wreden is complying with requests for removal.


The Stanley Parable review

Phil Savage at

I've just completed The Stanley Parable for the eleventh time. I'll avoid spoilers, and instead say that in the 15 or so minutes it took to finish my last playthrough, I laughed, felt a pang of sadness, and, more than anything, was genuinely surprised. Even after ten previous attempts - more if you count those from the Half-Life 2 mod that this full release is expanded from - I was being shown something new. The Stanley Parable isn't a long game, but it is a broad one.

If you've played that mod, I can save you some time. TSP is broader, denser, smarter, funnier, darker. It's a wonderfully twisted maze of consequence, packed with jokes and surreal flourishes. 90%

For everyone else, let's begin again.


The Stanley Parable sells over 100k copies since releasing last week

Ian Birnbaum at

Self-referential mind-boggler The Stanley Parable is an experimental indie game that defies reasonable description. Beginning as a mod for Half-Life in 2011, it is simultaneously a game, a story and a joke, while also being none of those things. Frankly, it hurts just trying to write about it. The Stanley Parable is also a success: over 100,000 copies sold in the last few days. Developer Davey Wreden has now written a blog post detailing all of the things that went right and wrong in the run-up to the official release.


The Stanley Parable demo now available, ahead of full release next week

Phil Savage at

A demonstration of The Stanley Parable can now be downloaded from Steam. In it, some things happen, followed by other, different things. That's about as specific as I'm going to get, because the nature of those things is that they're better off discovered and experienced by yourself. So go and do that.


The Stanley Parable trailer offers a spoiler-free sneak peek of some corridors

Phil Savage at

This new trailer for The Stanley Parable takes the form of one of those "Let Us Play" videos that those lovable scamps on YouTube enjoy producing. Not that you need to worry about spoilers for the upcoming commercial remake, beyond confirmation that yes, there are some corridors. And light fittings, and side offices, and, of course, an insidious and disturbing narrator/puppet-master.


The Stanley Parable "almost there", will release next month

Phil Savage at

This is a news post about a man named Stanley. Stanley was the star of The Stanley Parable, a first-person ambulator mod for Half-Life 2. In it, he was guided through a dark and humorous meta-narrative by an avuncular narrator with an inimitable style. A style that was nevertheless a boon for a lazy writer who needed a pithy way to introduce the news that the game's upgraded, standalone version would be released next month.


2013 Independent Games Festival main competition finalists announced

Marsh Davies at

The shortlist for the 15th IGF award finalists has been revealed. There were more than 580 entries this year, across an incredibly diverse range of genres, requiring the attention of some 200 judges to help pare down the games into seven award categories, with five nominees apiece.


IndieCade 2012 winners revealed, Unmanned scoops Grand Jury Award

Tom Sykes at

IndieCade, the International Festival of Independent Games, has just announced the winners of its yearly round of prizes. Free drone-pilot life sim Unmanned - it's more riveting than it sounds - bagged the Grand Jury Award top prize, while celebrated Half-Life 2 mod The Stanley Parable won the Special Recognition award, presumably while narrating its own acceptance speech. We've included the full list of winners below.


The Stanley Parable HD goes for the Greenlight (but does Steam have a choice about it?)

Richard Cobbett at

There's a bit of an argument going on behind the scenes at the moment between myself and Martin over whether The Stanley Parable is 'a tediously sophomoric and wholly unsubtle satire of player agency' or whether he, Martin, has 'no soul'. As the boss, officially he wins. But as I'm writing this, I choose to cheer whole-heartedly that one of my favourite mods in years looks set for bigger things. Sure, it's only on 2% right now, but you aregoing to click the thumbs up. You only think you might not...


The Stanley Parable: Attack Of The Narrator

Richard Cobbett at

Once upon a time, and not very far away, there was an excellent Source mod called The Stanley Parable. The Stanley Parable did not seek much from life. It merely hoped to entertain with a little meta-commentary on the nature of gaming, and the occasional goreless death. Fans came from far and wide to savour its inherent pointlessness, and bask in the joy of the Narrator, whose dulcet tones made every moment of the experience as delightful and sinister as being drowned in strawberry jam, while also being a kitten, and the reincarnation of Hitler for reasons, I feel, hardly need explaining.