As everyone knows, the creation process is beautiful. And easy. And always fulfilling. Right? That’s why everyone becomes a game developer. And why all developers are successful. Aren’t they? When if the final product ever makes it off the desktop and onto shelves, all the consumer sees is fulfillment. Not the grueling hours of frustration behind the project, or the scraps nurtured and then discarded along the way, or the enormous internal and external pressures on the developers. Davey Wreden, the guy behind The Stanley Parable, is back as creator and narrator in The Beginner’s Guide, a deeply personal journey through creation, deception, and a whole lotta self-loathing.

Plus corridors. So many corridors.

BG1

The entire game will take you about an hour and a half and features only one puzzle. There are no goals. There are no collectibles. Beginner’s Guide takes place entirely within fragmentary games made by Davey’s friend, Coda. As Davey pieces the fragments together, he invites you to find sense in Coda’s surrealism. What do these games mean? Is Coda happy? Does he enjoy making video games? What does this say about him?

“Take all of these images, hold them in your mind, and now try to imagine, without ever having met this person, who they are.”

BG3

Whether it has you looking down at ‘the bottom of the universe’ or resting in a dark place between doors, the game always demands intimacy. Davey uses his connection to Coda’s creations to stitch together a patchwork of ideas and feelings to share with you, the gamer. He is so wrapped up in Coda that the two flow in and out of one another like chalk and water, only separate when still.

The insoluble moments though, when the water and chalk separate, are brutal. The creation process is beautiful. And tortuous. And isolating.

The Beginner’s Guide is available now on Steam.