Dec 28, 2013

Gone Home: 0451

Generally I like all kinds of cross references found in the media and video games specifically. But in this case it went wrong for me and I didn't even catch the right one.

Spoilers Ahead.

Category: Games
Posted by: Marcel Pfeiffer

As people experienced and scientists analyzed (Why Gone Home Is So Immersive), Gone Home excels in immersing players into its world. And this immersion is the key aspect the game has to offer. A believable, beautifully and lovingly created world to explore.

So what is the worst thing the game could tell the player: "You are just inside another game."

That was what happened to me when I found the code for the locker of Terry Greenbriar, writer and father of the protagonist: 0451.

This is a code widely used in games that feel connected to the System Shock series where it appeared as a security code. Games like Deus Ex, Bioshock or Dishonored are using this reference. And exactly there was my mind in that moment. Gone Home is just one of them and I imagined the developers and their decision to include this code.

And for me this reference didn't make sense. Because there was no PC around and I was not sure that System Shock was already released in 1995 (the year Gone Home happens). I still had hope that there was more meaning, which made me research the topic.

System Shock was released in 1994. So Terry could have had the code from the game but there is no indication that he is interested in video games. He is using a type writer and reviews audio and video equipment.

Going one step deeper revealed that System Shock actually referenced the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Which is, according to Wikipedia as I haven't read the book myself, about a future "where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found". Now that Terry struggles with his business as an author it makes a lot more sense that this is an allusion to the book.

Anyways I don't think it fit the atmosphere established by the game that is otherwise self-contained.


By the way, for my first blind attempt to open the locker I used 1963 as this is the number that is mainly featured in his office. But it didn't come to my mind to use this combination on the safe in the basement.