Five years ago, The Stanley Parable released on Steam and blew minds. It’s a game where players take control of an office worker and live out a day in their life. As the game progresses, the narrator comments on the choices the player makes. Replaying the game and making different choices changes the narration, and since there are so many different choices to make, it's well worth it to replay the game multiple times to get some funny, sharp commentary about how game designers think about "player choice" in video games and free will more broadly.
It’s a great game that everyone should play, especially on the fifth anniversary of its release—the first day players can officially get the game’s hardest achievement: Go Outside. To earn the game’s final achievement is a simple exercise in self control. As the game itself explains, “Don't play The Stanley Parable for five years.”
According to Steam’s own analytics, roughly 7.4 percent of the game's install base already earned this achievement. Some users cheated to earn this reward, while others, presumably, traveled through time. On this momentous day, I reached out to Davey Wreden, the game’s creator, to see how he felt about the wait finally being over.
“I'm glad that the press is showing respect for the tremendous hard work and passion we poured into this achievement,” Wreden told me in an email. “To those who have gotten the achievement, just remember that a lot of people are going to try to ask you what it's like or to try to siphon off some of that unrelenting bliss just by being physically near you, and I'd encourage you to be really condescending and belittling toward those people, to highlight the massive gulf between what you've accomplished in life vs what they've accomplished.”
Wreden is happy people are still talking about The Stanley Parable and he’s excited to see what effect the achievement will have on the world now that it’s finally available. “Thank you again for treating this with the grave seriousness that I feel it demands, I can't wait to see how the unlocking of this achievement shifts society in either a positive or a negative or a neutral way,” Wreden said.
The Stanley Parable is available on Steam . Those purchasing it today will need to wait five years to earn the ‘Go Outside’ achievement. Which, I’m sure, will be well worth the wait.