The Stanley Parable Demo

Genre(s): Action/First-Person Shooter,
Adventure/Action Adventure

GameSpot Rating: 9 (out of 10)

Price: Free (Demo). The best “Demo” ever!


The Stanley Parable Demo is a FREE interactive story/adventure modification built on the Source game engine, developed by Davey Wreden and released in July 2011. The demo that’s not a demo. A high-definition remastered stand-alone version, including new story elements, was developed by Wreden and Source modeler William Pugh under the Galactic Cafe development team name. The remake (not free) was announced and approved via the Steam Greenlight process in 2012, and released in October 2013 for Microsoft Windows and December 2013 for OS X.

Stanley works for a company where his job is to push buttons as prompted from a monitor. One day, the orders stop coming through and Stanley notices that all his colleagues have disappeared. He proceeds to the meeting room for more information.

The Stanley Parable Demo is an adventure game based upon a mod for Half-Life 2, wherein the player controls Stanley and must make choices based on paths presented to them by the environment or the narrator. Said narrator will describe Stanley’s actions as they happen, sometimes before.

While both the mod and the remake use the first-person perspective common to other Source engine mods, there are no combat or other action-based sequences. Instead, the player guides Stanley, the game’s protagonist, through a surreal environment while the narrator, voiced by British actor Kevan Brighting, delivers exposition. The player has the opportunity to make numerous decisions on which paths to take, and because at times the narrator says what Stanley will do next, the player can choose to ignore the narration and make a different choice. Every choice made by the player is commented on by the narrator, and depending on the choices the player makes, they will encounter different endings to the game before it restarts.

Wreden envisioned the game after considering that most major video game titles confine the user to its rules, and considered how to construct a narrative to challenge that notion. Outside of Brighting’s voice work of the narrator, Wreden built the modification himself, initially as a personal project for his career goals but soon expanding to a wider release once he had shown it to friends and other players. The modification received critical attention as a new variation of creating interactive fiction within a game engine, and provided a thought-provoking narration to discuss with others on the nature of choice and predestination within video games.

The remake expanded the experience, recreating many of the original mod’s decisions within new environments while adding several more story pathways that could be followed. The standalone game has received similar critical praise from journalists favoring the expanded narrative and commentary on player choice and decision-making in modern video games.

Publisher: Davey Wreden/Steam

Developer: Davey Wreden/Galactic Cafe

Release Date: July 2011

Players: Single Player


Sample Gameplay Video(s):

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