This year, even more so than others, I’ve valued novelty. I get tired of seeing the same things, shooting the same guns, casting the same magic spells cast at the same goblins. Like many of my favorite games of 2015, I’ve never seen anything quite like The Beginner’s Guide. Part autobiography, part short-fiction story, Davey Wreden’s follow-up to The Stanley Parable shows that he’s not ready to rest on his laurels.
A fictional version of Wreden narrates this collection of games made by his friend “Coda.” Wreden extrapolates meaning from each of these short experiments, and feel like he is getting closer and closer to understanding what makes Coda tick. But can we really know someone just by experiencing their art? How do we know when art ends and a person begins? Could English teachers around the world maaaaybe be reading a little too much into 19th century poets? Sometimes, probably. Yeah.
The Beginner’s Guide asks us to reevaluate how we consume media, and does it in a way I’ve never seen a game tackle the subject before. With every game Wreden and Co. make, it feels like they’re expanding gaming as a medium. Let’s hope games are still able to innovate like this in the years to come.