This is the story of a man named Stanley. Stanley worked for a company in a big building where he was Employee #427. Employee #427's job was simple: he sat at his desk in Room 427 and he pushed buttons on a keyboard. Orders came to him through a monitor on his desk telling him what buttons to push, how long to push them, and in what order. This is what Employee #427 did every day of every month of every year, and although others may have considered it soul rending, Stanley relished every moment that the orders came in, as though he had been made exactly for this job. And Stanley was happy. And then one day, something very peculiar happened. Something that would forever change Stanley; Something he would never quite forget. He had been at his desk for nearly an hour when he had realized not one single order had arrived on the monitor for him to follow. No one had shown up to give him instructions, call a meeting, or even say 'hi'. Never in all his years at the company had this happened, this complete isolation. Something was very clearly wrong. Shocked, frozen solid, Stanley found himself unable to move for the longest time. But as he came to his wits and regained his senses, he got up from his desk and stepped out of his office. Coward Ending Closing Stanley's office door: But Stanley simply couldn't handle the pressure. What if he had to make a decision? What if a crucial outcome fell under his responsibility? He had never been trained for that! No, this couldn't go any way except badly. The thing to do now, Stanley thought to himself, is to wait. Nothing will hurt me. Nothing will break me. In here, I can be happy, forever. I will be happy. Stanley waited. Hours passed. Then days. Had years gone by? He no longer had the ability to tell. But the one thing he knew, for sure, beyond any doubt, was that if he waited long enough, the answers would come. Eventually, some day, they would arrive. Soon, Very soon now, this will end. He will be spoken to. He will be told what to do. Now it's just a little bit closer. Now it's even closer. Here it comes.. All Endings (excluding Coward Ending) Stepping out of Stanley's office: All of his co-workers were gone. What could it mean? Stanley decided to go to the meeting room; perhaps he had simply missed a memo. Rare Alternates All of his co-workers were gone. What.. *ahem* ..ah, excuse me. How wonderful. Stanley was alone. Finally. This is great, he thought to himself. This is what I've wanted all along. I got what I wanted. Stanley decided to go to the meeting room to check on his co-workers. He never functioned well by himself, and constantly needed support and guidance from others, so the thought of total solitude was terrifying to him. All of his co-workers were... wait, no. This isn't the right office, is it? Is this Stanley's office? 'How long was I sitting there', Stanley wondered to himself. Minutes? Days? Centuries? Did something crucial happen while my senses were turned? He made a note to be more careful with time from now on. A soft wind blew outside and perhaps rain started, and if it did it stopped shortly after. Stanley hoped that he would one day see weather. Stanley this, Stanley that, Stanley this, Stanley that, Stanley this, Stanley that, Stanley this, Stanley that Someone was following Stanley. He was sure of it. If he checked over his shoulder now, he would surely catch them. It was only a matter of time. Even now, Stanley's office was a distant memory. What did it look like? There was a computer perhaps.. and a painting. Was it a painting, or a photo? He could no longer recall. The meeting room, yes, that's where everyone would be. Stanley just needed to get to the meeting room and from then on he would never be alone ever again. Just a step through this door, Stanley thought to himself, that's all I need. If I can make it through this door, I can make it through them all. Already, this was uncomfortable, and Stanley decided that as soon as he found a new space he felt safe in, that he would never leave it again in his life. Stanley had never seen the office this brightly lit. Was it a sign or something? He hoped it was. He hoped very much that it was. 'Wait', Stanley thought to himself. Am I sure that the orders stopped coming in? How is that possible? They never stopped. Surely I was mistaken. (Re-entering the office (which is open during this dialogue)) No. No, the orders were still missing... for now. "I can't wait to tell this story to my co-workers", Stanley thought. "How amusing they'll find it! Oh, won't we all just laugh and laugh at the time I thought everyone had gone missing!" Stanley knew the office layout like the back of his hand. It was only a matter of time before he found the others, wherever they were. Just a matter of time. Idle Stanley just stood there doing nothing at all. He seems to think I have nothing better to do with my time than to sit around and describe every fascinating little detail of his inability to do anything. This is why Stanley and I are on such good terms. Stanley stood for a long time in one spot. It's part of a game. He likes to see how long he can go without dying. So far he's doing excellent, and if he just stays right where he is, I'm sure he'll keep up that good momentum. Let's observe the genius at work. Rummaging Around No matter how hard Stanley looked, he couldn't find a trace of his co-workers. Stanley went around touching every little thing in the office, but it didn't make a single difference, nor did it advance the story in any way. Stanley clicked on literally every single door in the office, because he doesn’t pick up well on cues from his environment. Door 430 Achievement Oh, please. Are you really just doing this for the achievement? Click a door five times? Is that all that you think an achievement is worth? No, no, no, no, no. I can't just give these merits away for such little effort. A measly five clicks? Now suppose you were to click the door 20 times. I would say that's the kind of effort that warrants recognition. Hmm, I have to say I'm still not feeling the satisfaction of witnessing true effort for a noble cause. Perhaps 50 clicks will do it. Yes, almost certainly 50 clicks. No, no. I'm-I'm still not feeling it. I- I want this achievement to have meant something. It has to be a true reward for valiant effort. I want to see some hustle, Stanley! I want to see commitment, a willingness to go all the way no matter what the cost! Why don't you go put 20 clicks into door number 417? Oh, great. Now go click a few times on door 437. Excellent! I think we're getting somewhere. Now door 415, let's give it 10 clicks or so. Now back to door number 437! Let's see. How about you click on... well, I don't know... the copy machine! Alright, back to room 417! I'm really feeling it now, I think we're getting somewhere! Okay, now go climb on Employee 419's desk! Yes! This is great! You're putting it all on the line, Stanley, I like that! Alright, let's keep it up! Go give me a few clicks on door 416! WE'VE ALMOST GOT IT! NOW THE COPY MACHINE, DO THAT ONE AGAIN! FINISH IT OFF, STANLEY! 5 CLICKS ON DOOR 430! YEEEEES!!! WE DID IT! Oh, wow, that felt amazing. Oh, you really earned it, Stanley. Nothing could hold you back. Yes, I'm very proud of how far we've come today. Just think, only a few minutes ago, you believed an achievement was worth five little clicks. Really now, what were you thinking? Studying room 417 Oh, and uh, I guess this is where Stanley felt he needed to be right now, in this little hallway. Here, with no distractions, to study room 417. Not to actually enter it, no no no no, that would be far too forward. Stanley wanted to know it from the outside - to see it not just with his eyes, but with his heart. He would know room 417 as no man or woman had ever known an office before. That ladder over there! *gasp* Oh, and that little picture of a horizon or something! It's all a never ending parade of joy for Stanley. Leaving the hallway Ah, no, apparently not. Out of Map Ending Out of the map/Out of the window: At first, Stanley assumed he had broken the map, until he heard this narration and realized it was a part of the game's design all along. He then praised the game for its insightful and witty commentary into the nature of video game structure and its examination of structural narrative tropes. So now that you're here, what do you think? Isn't this a fun and unique place to be? Why don't we take a minute just to drink it all in! Okay I'm over it now. What do you think, are you sick of this gag yet? Pressing Yes on the Yes/No screen: Well, I don't know how to say this politely but you could literally just hit escape and restart the game any old time you want. Like right now! You could have done it just then! Now would also be an appropriate time to quit! Any one of these points, and so many many more, all of them are appropriate! I'm enjoying what seems to be an internal conflict going on where you are literally unable to act on your own desires to restart the game, so just to push the envelope, I'm going to try to make this as miserable as possible and we'll see how long you can maintain. *Guitar strums* There once was a man named Stanley, Who people considered so manly. But the truth must be told, He was not very bold, And was quite particularly gangly. What Stanley liked most was buttons. He pushed them like some kind of glutton. He did it all day In a meaningful way, But his brain had long ceased to function. Which is why he is in this parable, And lives an existence quite terrible. And if you are not strong, And keep playing along, You too will become quite unbearable(x2). (Yeah!) *One final guitar strum before silence* Pressing No on the Yes/No screen: Ah, well in that case we'll continue! But now here comes the real question: what do you think would have happened if you had told me that you wanted this to stop? Do you think it would have been particularly different? Would I have taken this same idea but rephrased it superficially to fit that answer? Perhaps you never would even have thought of it if I hadn't brought up the issue in the first place! Oh, now think about it, will it be worth it for you to restart, and then come BACK here, just to do the other option? Clearly this whole gag takes some time, what if the other option is even longer! How long will you spend in total just to have heard all the narration! Or - oh this is rich! - perhaps you've just played the other option and now you've come to see what happens in this one! So, what do you think, which choice was the better one? Imagine if you had selected 'continue' on your first playthrough, how tantalizing it would be, not knowing what happens when you pick the other option. Indeed, you are one of the lucky ones. Though if the other option is really miserable to listen to then perhaps you're not. In fact, I'm just going to say that no one who's listening to this is lucky. Well now I've built up the other option so much that I'm going to stop talking and leave you to your decision whether to come back here, continue with the game, or just sit here in this spot forever and ever. Cheers. Serious Ending [Stanley is taken to a room with a table in the middle of it.] Stanley, this is me being serious. In fact, this is my serious room. It's where I come to be serious. That table is the most serious table I could find. I looked at many, many tables. Hundreds of tables! It's possible I looked at over a thousand tables, I honestly don't know. The specific number isn't as important as the understanding that of all the tables that I looked at, this one is the most serious. I relate this story to impress upon you, the extent to which this is the most serious room I have, which is why I brought you here. You just tried to activate server cheats, which, of course, runs the risk of breaking the entire game. You've got no respect for the strict order of scripted narrative events and I just can't have that. It's time to get serious, Stanley. No jokes, no games. Outside of this room, I might be more tolerant of those things, but now we're in the room. Which is why I'm subjecting you to the most serious punishment I can think of: one hundred million-billion-trillion years, standing here in the serious room. Perhaps after that, we can talk about the severity of your actions, and whether you've learned anything. But, until then, serious room, GO. If the player tries to activate sv_cheats again Woah! Did we not have the talk? Are we not in the serious room this very moment? Did I not tell you how many tables I looked through? I'm going to be conservative and say it was somewhere in the tens of thousands of tables, any reasonable person would say I spent an ABSURD amount of time doing nothing but looking at tables! And I genuinely considered each one too. I took a hell of a lot of notes. I kept the notes in a different room.. that room is less serious than this one. It's more of a, um.. a notes room. Again, the point of this story is to convey how serious I feel this cheating issue is. And I'm sure you'll agree with me when you've fulfilled your new punishment: Infinity years in the serious room! I generally have trouble reading human emotions, but I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that you're devastated by this crippling new punishment. As well you should be. It's the most serious I could think of. Can you get more serious than that? No. You can't. Don't try. If the player tries to activate it once again Hmm, still no effect. The problem is clearly the serious room; it isn't serious enough. That's on me, Stanley. I apologize. I'm going to the store to look through more tables. Hopefully I find one that conveys how wrong what you're doing is. Now, where did I put those notes? [papers rustling] All Left Door Endings In the 2 doors room: When Stanley came to a set of 2 open doors, he entered the door on his left. In the meeting room: Yet there was not a single person here either. Feeling a wave of disbelief, Stanley decided to go up to his boss's office, hoping he might find an answer there. Entering the broom closet: Stanley stepped into the broom closet, but there was nothing here, so he turned around and got back on track. There was nothing here. No choice to make, No path to follow, Just an empty broom closet. No reason to still be here. It was baffling that Stanley was still just sitting in the broom closet. He wasn't even doing anything, At least if there were something to interact with, he'd be justified in some way. As it is, he's literally just standing there, doing sweet FA. Are you... are you really still in the broom closet? Standing around doing nothing? Why? Please offer me some explanation here; I'm- I'm genuinely confused. You do realize there's no choice or anything in here right? If I said, "Stanley walked past the broom closet" at least you would have had a reason for exploring it to find out. But it didn't even occur to me because literally this closet is of absolutely no significance to the story whatsoever. I never would've thought to mention it. Maybe to you, this is somehow it's own branching path. Maybe, when you go talk about this with your friends, you'll say: "OH! DID U GET THE BROOM CLOSET ENDING? THEB ROOM CLOSET ENDING WAS MY FAVRITE!1 XD" ... I hope your friends find this concerning. Stanley was fat and ugly and really, really stupid. He probably only got the job because of a family connection; that's how stupid he is. That, or with drug money. Also, Stanley is addicted to drugs and hookers. Well, I've come to a very definite conclusion about what's going on right now. You're dead. You got to this broom closet, explored it a bit, and were just about to leave because there's nothing here, when a physical malady of some sort shut down your central nervous system and you collapsed on the keyboard. Well, in a situation like this, the responsible thing is to alert someone nearby so as to ensure that your body is taken care of, before it begins to decompose. HELLO!! ANYONE WHO HAPPENS TO BE NEARBY!! THE PERSON AT THIS COMPUTER IS DEAD!! HE OR SHE HAS FALLEN PREY TO ANY NUMBER OF YOUR COUNTLESS HUMAN PHYSIOLOGICAL VULNERABILITIES. IT'S INDICATIVE OF THE LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF YOUR SPECIES. PLEASE REMOVE THEIR CORPSE FROM THE AREA AND INSTRUCT ANOTHER HUMAN TO TAKE THEIR PLACE AT THE COMPUTER, MAKING SURE THEY UNDERSTAND BASIC FIRST-PERSON VIDEO GAME MECHANICS, AND FILLING THEM IN ON THE HISTORY OF NARRATIVE TROPES IN VIDEO GAMING, SO THAT THE IRONY AND INSIGHTFUL COMMENTARY OF THIS GAME IS NOT LOST ON THEM. Alright, when you've done that, just step out into the hallway. [When player steps out into the hallway] Ah, second player! It's good to have you on board. I guarantee you can't do any worse than the person who came before you. [If player steps back into the broom closet] You too?! Unbelievable. I'm at the mercy of an entire species of invalids. Perhaps there's a monkey nearby you can hand the controls to? A fish? A fungus? Look, you can hammer out the details; I'm not particularly picky. I'll just be waiting for when you're ready to pick up the story again. [Later on in the game, when the Player goes back into the broom closet] Oh, no! Oh, no no no no no no no no no no no no, not again. I won't be a part of this. I'm not going to encourage you. I'm not going to say anything at all. I'm just going to be patient and wait for you to finish whatever it is you enjoy doing so much in this room. Please, take your time. Getting to the staircase: Coming to a staircase, Stanley walked upstairs to his boss's office. All Upstairs Endings Stepping into the boss's office: Stepping into his manager's office, Stanley was once again stunned to discover not an indication of any human life. Shocked, unraveled, Stanley wondered in disbelief who orchestrated this, what dark secret was being held from him! What he could not have known was that the keypad behind the boss's desk guarded the terrible truth that his boss had been keeping from him. And so the boss had assigned it an extra secret PIN number. 2845. But of course, Stanley couldn't possibly have known this. What could it mean, he wondered. Desperate for answers, he began turning the room over looking for clues that might unravel the situation, until at last, he discovered a keypad behind the boss's desk. But alas, no code. For this keypad guarded the terrible secret that lay buried below his feet. And so the boss had assigned it an extra secret PIN number. 2845. But of course, Stanley couldn't possibly have known this. What could it mean, Stanley wondered aloud to nobody. He began wildly tearing through papers on the boss's desk, pulling books off the shelf, looking behind paintings, desperate for clues to his situation. But his attention was caught by a keypad behind the boss's desk. What could its purpose be? In fact, this keypad guarded the terrible secret that lay buried below his feet. And so the boss had assigned it an extra secret PIN number. 2845. But of course, Stanley couldn't possibly have known this. The moment he entered his manager's office, Stanley froze in his tracks. Not a living soul anywhere. Could he really be all alone? This was too much for Stanley to take; too much for any man to take. He fell to his knees, bursting into half-moans, half-sobs... the guttural retching of life from a man denied any hope, any reason to keep going. Here on the floor, he lay prone, paralyzed by fear for nearly a full hour, but when at last he began to move about and survey the situation, he found a keypad behind the boss's desk. What could it mean? Was it a sign of hope for Stanley's future? Alas, it was not. For although this keypad guarded the terrible secret of Stanley's past, it had been assigned a four-digit code so devious and so random that no man could ever hope to guess it: 2-8-4-5. Statistically, nearly impossible to guess blindly, ever. Narrator opening door for you Okay, I think we all know the drill by now. Blah blah blah, dark secrets, the keypad, Stanley pushes some buttons, oh hey, look, it's a new passageway! Quelle surprise! Here's the door, just go. Entering wrong codes: Stanley began entering random codes into the keypad, knowing full well the sheer statistical unlikelihood that this would ever result in a correct combination. If he knew that the combo was 2-8-4-5, it would be another story entirely. But no. No, this is what he was going to do instead. Stanley just sat around twiddling his thumbs. Trying to input anything on the device was useless, since he could never possibly know that the combination was 2-8-4-5. 2 - 8 - 4 - 5. For god's- but it turns out that the panel's emergency override kicked in, and the door just opened all by itself, and Stanley just got the hell along with the story. Well whoop-dee-doo. Entering the code: Yet incredibly, by simply pushing random buttons on the keypad, Stanley happened to input the correct code by sheer luck. Amazing. He stepped into the newly opened passageway. Entering the code before the narrator finishes talking: Stanley was in such a rush to get through the story as quickly as possible, he didn't even have a single minute to just let the Narrator talk! That kind of anxiety isn't healthy, so he relaxed for a few moments, with some calming new age music. [calming new age music plays] Feeling soothed and rejuvenated, Stanley calmly walked forward into the opened passageway. Going down the elevator: Descending deeper into the building, Stanley realized he felt a bit peculiar. It was a stirring of emotion in his chest, as though he felt more free to think for himself, to question the nature of his job. Why did he feel this now, when for years it had never occurred to him? This question would not go unanswered for long. Getting to the Mind Control Facility: Stanley walked straight ahead through the large door that read 'Mind Control Facility'. Museum Ending Walking down Escape Hallway: Although this passageway had the word 'escape' written on it, the truth was that at the end of this hall, Stanley would meet his violent death. The door behind him was not shut. Stanley still had every opportunity to turn around and get back on track. At this point, Stanley was making a conscious, concerted effort to walk forward, and willingly confront his death. Turning around out of Escape Hallway: But of course, Stanley thought better of it, and realized he simply had too much to live for. Returning to Escape Hallway after turning around: Nope, still on board with death.... Approaching the Metal Jaws As the machine whirled into motion, and Stanley was inched closer and closer to his demise, he reflected that his life had been of no consequence whatsoever. Stanley can't see the bigger picture. He doesn't know the real story. Trapped forever in his narrow vision of what this world is. Perhaps his death was of no great loss, like plucking the eyeballs from a blind man. And so he resigned, and willingly accepted this violent end to his brief and shallow life. Farewell, Stanley. Female Narrator (Entering Museum) 'Farewell Stanley' cried the Narrator, as Stanley was led helplessly into the enormous metal jaws. In a single visceral instant, Stanley was obliterated, as the machine crushed every bone in his body, killing him instantly. And yet it would be just a few minutes before Stanley would restart the game, back in his office, as alive as ever. What exactly did the Narrator think he was going to accomplish? When every path you can walk has been created for you long in advance, death becomes meaningless, making life the same. Do you see now? Do you see that Stanley was already dead from the moment he hit start? Narrator Outtakes in the Echo Room Now then, this elevator for sure will get him right back on track to where he was supposed to be in the story! Where were all of his co-workers? Oh, I don't know, how about, they're throwing a surprise party for him for all of his button-pushing. Does that sound plausible to you? Oh for crying... Is this that other building? Hm... Let's see. Stanley walked through the green door. Nothing there. Shoot. Well, try the other one then. Still nothing, Hm... I don't kno... Well in that case, I'll tell you what...You win. Congratulations. You did it. I know you put in a lot of hard work and it really paid off... so, good job. Mm...What do we do now? I don't... Stanley! Where are you, right now? What? Where am I? I'm...I'm trying to figure out but I ca...can't. Stanley! Who am I?! Can you speak to me? Please talk! Have we done this before?! Have we been in this room before?! How many times have we done this?! How many times have I said these exact words?! Say something! Anything! Help me Stanley! I don't know who I..Wha I!...St!...Sta!...Stan!...Help!...No! When Stanley came to the lift, he travelled upward to the power source, at the top of the facility, to end this injustice forever. Now look closely Stanley. See how it's impossible for the player to do anything in this room. Perfect example of poor level design. Textbook mistake. It's the kind of thing you pick up on intuitively if you had even the most fundamental understanding of good and bad game design. But of course, you being you, You'll probably spend the next hour trying to solve it. Here, I'm just going to make this easy on you. Stanley pushed the number 6. Then he pushed the number 4. Then he pushed the number 8. And finally, he pushed the number 6. And finally, he pushed the number 9. Stanley walked over the bridge. Stanley pushed the big red button. Stanley pushed the orange lever. Stanley jumped in the river. Stanley stood on the roof. Stanley stood on the snow. Female Narrator (Exiting Museum) *laugh* Oh, look at these two. How they wish to destroy one another. How they wish to control one another. How they both wish to be free. Can you see? Can you see how much they need one another? No, perhaps not. Sometimes these things cannot be seen. But listen to me, You can still save these two. You can stop the program before they both fail. Press 'escape' and press 'quit.' There's no other way to beat this game. As long as you move forward, you'll be walking someone else's path. Stop now, and it'll be your only true choice. Whatever you do, choose it! Don't let time choose for you! Don't let time- At the Mind Control Facility Pushing the light button: The lights rose on an enormous room packed with television screens. What horrible secret did this place hold, Stanley thought to himself. Did he have the strength to find out? Pushing the camera button: Now the monitors jumped to life, their true nature revealed. Each bore the numbers of an employee in the building, Stanley's co-workers. The lives of so many individuals reduced to images on a screen, and Stanley, one of them, eternally monitored in this place where freedom meant nothing. Pushing the elevator button: This mind control facility... It was too horrible to believe; it couldn't be true. Had Stanley really been in someone's control all this time? Was this the only reason he was happy with his boring job? That his emotions had been manipulated to accept it blindly? Riding the elevator: No! He refused to believe it. He couldn't accept it; his own life in someone else's control? Never! It was unthinkable, wasn't it? Was it even possible? Had he truly spent his entire life utterly blind to the world? Getting out of the elevator: But here was the proof. The heart of the operation. Controls labelled with emotions: 'happy' or 'sad' or 'content'. Walking, eating, working... all of it monitored and commanded from this very place. And as the cold reality of his past began to sink in, Stanley decided that this machinery would never again exert it's terrible power over another human life. For he would dismantle the controls once and for all. And when at last he found the source of the room's power, he knew it was his duty, his obligation, to put an end to this horrible place and to everything it stood for. Pressing the "on" button for the first time Oh Stanley, you didn't just activate the controls, did you? After they kept you enslaved all these years you go and you try to take control of the machine for yourself, is that want you wanted? Control? Oh...Stanley. *sigh* I applaud your effort, I really do, but you need to understand; there's only so much that machine can do. You were supposed to let it go, turn the controls off, and leave. If you want to throw my story off track, you're going to have to do much better than that. I'm afraid you don't have nearly the power you think you do; for example, and I believe you'll find this pertinent: Stanley suddenly realized that he had just initiated the network's emergency detonation system. In the event that this machine is activated without proper DNA identification, nuclear detonators are set to explode, eliminating the entire complex. How long until detonation, then? Hmm...let's say, um...two minutes. [Lights turn on, as well as a humongous countdown clock] Ah, now this is making things a little more fun, isn't it, Stanley? It's your time to shine! You are the star! It's your story now; shape it to your heart's desires. Ooh, this is much better than what I had in mind! What a shame we have so little time left to enjoy it. Mere moments until the bomb goes off, but what precious moments each one of them is! More time to talk about you, about me, where we're going, what this all means...I barely know where to start! What's that? You'd like to know where your co-workers are? A moment of solace before you're obliterated? Alright. I'm in a good mood, and you're going to die anyway. I'll tell you exactly what happened to them: I erased them. I turned off the machine; I set you free. Of course, that was merely in this instance of the story. Sometimes when I tell it, I simply let you sit there in your office forever, pushing buttons endlessly and then dying alone. Other times, I let the office sink into the ground, swallowing everyone inside; or I let it burn to a crisp. I have to say this, though, this version of events has been rather amusing. Watching you try to make sense of everything and take back the control wrested away from's quite rich. I almost hate to see it go! But I'm sure whatever I come up with on the next go around will be even better. My goodness! Only 34 seconds left...but I'm enjoying this so much! You know what? To hell with it. I'm going to put some extra time on the clock; why not! These are precious additional seconds, Stanley. Time doesn't grow on trees! Oh, dear me, what's the matter, Stanley? Is it that you have no idea where you are going or what you're supposed to be doing right now? Or did you just assume when you saw that timer that something in this room is capable of turning it off? I mean, look at you, running from button to button, screen to screen, clicking on every little thing in this room! These numbered buttons! No! These coloured ones! Or maybe this big, red button! Or this door! Everything! Anything! Something here will save me! Why would you think that, Stanley? That this video game can be beaten, won, solved? Do you have any idea what your purpose in this place is? Hahaha, heh,'re in for quite a disappointment. But here's a spoiler for you: that timer isn't a catalyst to keep the action moving along. It's just seconds ticking away to your death. You're only still playing instead of watching a cutscene because I want to watch you for every moment that you're powerless, to see you made humble. This is not a challenge. It's a tragedy. You wanted to control this world; that's fine. But I'm going to destroy it first, so you can't. Take a look at the clock, Stanley. That's 30 seconds you have left to struggle. Thirty seconds until a big boom, and then nothing. No ending here, just you being blown to pieces. Will you cling desperately to your frail life, or will you let it go peacefully? Another choice! Make it count. Or don't. It's all the same to me. All a part of the joke. And believe me, I will be laughing at every second of your inevitable life, from the moment we fade in until the moment I say: Happily Ever Af- [everything explodes, game restarts] Replay But you really believe there’s an answer! How many times will you replay this bit, looking desperately for a solution? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? I look forward to finding out, and to watching the bomb go off each time you fail. Just you and me and the retching explosion of fire and metal over and over and over for all of eternity. And Stanley died again. And Stanley died again. And Stanley died again. Pressing the "off" button (Freedom ending) Blackness... and a rising chill of uncertainty... was it over? [door starts to open] Yes! He had won. He had defeated the machine, unshackled himself from someone else's command. Freedom was mere moments away. And, yet, even as the immense door slowly opened, Stanley reflected on how many puzzles still lay unsolved. Where had his co-workers gone? How had he been freed from the machine's grasp? What other mysteries did this strange building hold? But as sunlight streamed into the chamber, he realized none of this mattered to him. For it was not knowledge, or even power, that he had been seeking, but happiness. Perhaps his goal had not been to understand, but to let go. No longer would anyone tell him where to go, what to do, or how to feel. Whatever life he lives, it will be his. And that was all he needed to know. It was, perhaps, the only thing worth knowing. [door completely opens] Stanley stepped through the open door. [Stanley steps through, triggering a cutscene] Freedom Ending Outro Stanley felt the cool breeze upon his skin, the feeling of liberation, the immense possibility of the new path before him. This was exactly the way, right now, that things were meant to happen. And Stanley was happy. [Stanley looks up into the sky] Mariella Ending Going downstairs But Stanley just couldn't do it. He considered the possibility of facing his boss, admitting he had left his post during work hours, he might be fired for that. And in such a competitive economy, why had he taken that risk? All because he believed everyone had vanished? His boss would think he was crazy. And then something occurred to Stanley: Maybe, he thought to himself, maybe I am crazy. All of my co-workers blinking mysteriously out of existence in a single moment for no reason at all? None of it made any logical sense. And as Stanley pondered this he began to make other strange observations. For example, why couldn't he see his feet when he looked down? Why did doors close automatically behind him wherever he went? And for that matter, these rooms were starting to look pretty familiar, were they simply repeating? No, Stanley said to himself, this is all too strange, this can't be real, and at last he came to the conclusion that had been on the tip of his tongue, he just hadn't found the words for it. I'm dreaming! he yelled, This is all a dream! What a relief Stanley felt to have finally found an answer, an explanation. His co-workers weren't actually gone, he wasn't going to lose his job, he wasn't crazy after all! And he thought to himself, I suppose I'll wake up soon, I'll have to go back to my boring real life job pushing buttons, I may as well enjoy this while I'm still lucid. So he imagined himself flying, and began to gently float above the ground. Then he imagined himself soaring through space on a magical star field, and it too appeared! It was so much fun, and Stanley marvelled that he had still not woken up. How was he remaining so lucid? And then perhaps the strangest question of them all entered Stanley's head, one he was amazed he hadn't asked himself sooner: Why is there a voice in my head, dictating everything that I'm doing and thinking? Now the voice was describing itself being considered by Stanley, who found it particularly strange. I'm dreaming about a voice describing me thinking about how it's describing my thoughts, he thought! And while he thought it all very odd and wondered if this voice spoke to all people in their dreams, the truth was that of course this was not a dream. How could it be? Was Stanley simply deceiving himself? Believing that if he's asleep he doesn't have to take responsibility for himself? Stanley is as awake right now as he's ever been in his life. Now hearing the voice speak these words was quite a shock to Stanley. After all, he knew for certain beyond a doubt that this was, in fact, a dream! Did the voice not see him float and make the magical stars just a moment ago? How else would the voice explain all that? This voice was a part of himself too, surely, surely if he could just.... He would prove it. He would prove that he was in control, that this was a dream. So he closed his eyes gently, and he invited himself to wake up. [Stanley closes his eyes] He felt the cool weight of the blanket on his skin, the press of the mattress on his back, the fresh air of a world outside this one. Let me wake up, he thought to himself. I'm through with this dream, I wish it to be over. Let me go back to my job, let me continue pushing the buttons, please, it's all I want. I want my apartment, and my wife, and my job. All I want is my life exactly the way it's always been. My life is normal, I am normal. Everything will be fine. I am okay. [Opens eyes and sees that it didn't work] Stanley began screaming. Please someone wake me up! My name is Stanley! I have a boss! I have an office! I am real! [Screen slowly tints red, music and Narrator grow more frantic] Please just someone tell me I'm real! I must be real! I must be! Can anyone hear my voice?! Who am I? Who am I?! And everything went black. Mariella This is the story of a woman named Mariella. Mariella woke up on a day like any other. She arose, got dressed, gathered her belongings, and walked to her place of work. [Screen shows an aerial shot of a man (presumably Stanley) lying face-down on the sidewalk. Mariella is standing near, looking at him and covering her mouth in shock, suitcase on the ground by her feet.] But on this particular day, her walk was interrupted by the body of a man who had stumbled through town talking and screaming to himself and then collapsed dead on the sidewalk. And although she would soon turn to go call for an ambulance, for just a few, brief moments, she considered the strange man. He was obviously crazy; this much she knew. Everyone knows what crazy people look like. And in that moment, she thought to herself how lucky she was to be normal. I am sane. I am in control of my mind. I know what is real, and what isn't. It was comforting to think this, and in a certain way, seeing this man made her feel better. But then she remembered the meeting she had scheduled for that day, the very important people whose impressions of her would affect her career, and, by extension, the rest of her life. She had no time for this, so it was only a moment that she stood there, staring down at the body. And then she turned and ran. All Right Door Endings Taking the door on the right This was not the correct way to the meeting room, and Stanley knew it perfectly well. Perhaps he wanted to stop by the employee lounge first, just to admire it. In the employee lounge Ah, yes, truly a room worth admiring. It had really been worth the detour after all, just to spend a few moments here in this immaculate, beautifully constructed room. Stanley simply stood here, drinking it all in. [After a few seconds] Yeeesss, really, really worth it being here in the room. A room so utterly captivating that even though all your co-workers have mysteriously vanished, here you sit looking at these chairs and some paintings. Really worth it. [After a few more seconds] At this point, Stanley's obsession with this room bordered on creepy, and reflected poorly on his overall personality. It's possible that this is why everyone left. [After even more seconds] Stanley sat around waiting for more dialogue, but when a long time had passed and there was no more, he decided that the game was trying to send him a message. Wow, yes, this room. What a beautiful room. What a gorgeous, gorgeous room. Thank goodness Stanley had taken this detour on his way to the meeting room. Life without having experienced this room was now too horrible even to consider. The lounge was sublime, a work of art. What was it about this room that called so deeply and so personally to Stanley? It's grace? It's subtle charm? No. Stanley knew... it was something deeper. Something... darker. Stanley, now in this in this incredible room, Stanley for the first time understood true happiness. Then the feeling went away, and he felt sad again. Then it came back, and lingered for a minute or two. Now it's only half there. Just a kind of um... tingle. Stanley felt light-headed. Butterflies in his stomach. Giddy in a way he had never known before. Was it this room? A connection between the two? Could a man.. love a room? I mean.. truly... truly, deeply... madly... love? The lounge was grand, majestic...perhaps too majestic. Like a combination of a much smaller version and a much larger version of this exact room. It all made Stanley uncomfortable, and he started to bleed a little. This made him smile. At last... proof that he was human. And here it was, the lounge. What a room, Stanley thought to himself. What a room, what a room, what a room. This is what Stanley thought. What a room. What a room, what a room. What a room. Vava voom. What a room. It was okay. Exiting the employee lounge But eager to get back to business, Stanley took the first open door on his left. But at last, he had enough of the amazing room, and so he took the first open door on his left to get back to business. Confusion Ending In the maintenance section And so he detoured through the maintenance section, walked straight ahead to the opposite door, and got back on track. Getting out of the maintenance elevator But Stanley didn't want to go back to the office, he wanted to wander about and get even further off track. So now in order to go back, he needed to go, um... uh... hm hm hm hm, from here it's... um... left. Taking the left door Oh, no. No, it's to the right, my mistake. Taking the right door No! No, no, no! Not the right! Why would I have ever said it was to the right? What was I thinking? It's clearly...oh dear, would you hold on for a minute, please? *papers rustling* Now, let's see... we went, um, right... left... down... left... right... Ah yep! Okay, okay, yes! I've got it now! The story is absolutely, definitely, this way. Going into the Monitor Room NO! No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no! This isn't right at all! You're not supposed to be here, yet! This is all a spoiler! Quick, Stanley, close your eyes! Okay, okay, okay, okay, we just... we just have to get back to, um... oh... Who am I kidding? It's all rubbish now. The whole story... completely unusable. How about rather than waste my time trying to salvage this nonsense, we'll just restart the game from the beginning. And this time, suppose we don't wander so far off-track, hmm? Okay, from the top! Two Doors Room (now with 6 doors) When Stanley- wait... wait, what? No, I... no, I restarted! I swear I definitely restarted the game over, completely fresh, everything should be... Or did something change? Stanley, did you change anything when we were back in that room with all the monitors? Did you move the story somewhere, or... Hold on, why am I asking you? I'm the one who wrote the story. It was right here a minute ago. I know for sure that it's here somewhere. Okay, then, it's an adventure! Come, Stanley, let's find the story! [all 6 doors open] After 30 seconds of aimlessly wandering down random corridors I'll say it: This is the worst adventure I've ever been on. I can promise you, there definitely was a story here before. Do we just... do we need to restart the game again? Well, I find it unlikely that we'll ever progress by starting over and over again... But it's got to be better than this. Okay, let's give it a shot, why not. Two Doors Room (now with zero doors) Okay, yep, it's worse. I might be remembering this wrong. It's possible the story is back where we just came from. Why don't we go back the other direction and see if we missed anything? [door behind Stanley opens] Blue hallways [the first room of the office has turned into a blue hallway] Aha! I knew we'd missed something! The story! Here it comes! [Stanley reaches a dead end] No, wait, nevermind, not the story! Okay, let's head back the other way and retrace our steps. Wooden cluttered hallways [the office hallways become another place, with wooden walls, ceiling, and floor, and clutter everywhere] Now this... well I'll be honest, I don't recognize this place at all. Is this the story? [Stanley reaches a dead end] I don't think so. I can't quite recall, but I believe my story took place in an office building... is that correct? Hm... do you remember, Stanley? Well, you know what, since I've completely forgotten what we were supposed to be doing, how about this: You win! [children cheer] Congratulations! I know you put in a lot of hard work, and it really paid off, so, good job! [pause] Oh, no. No. I don't feel right about this at all. We both know you didn't put in any actual work for that win. Some people win fair and square and this was not one of those situations. Okay, I'm getting weirded out by whatever this place is. I don't care what might happen this time, I have to restart. Adventure Line™ [Stanley leaves his office and sees a yellow line painted on the ground from his office out the door. The words 'The Stanley Parable Adventure Line' appear at the beginning of the line] Alright, I've got a solution. This time, to make sure we don't get lost, I've employed the help of The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™! Just follow The Line™; how simple is that! [entering the room with zero doors] No, no, I'm done. We're leaving it up to The Line™ from now on. [The Line leads Stanley into an office in the second room of the office and then through unexplored hallways and rooms] You see? The Line™ knows where the story is, it's over in this direction! Onward, Stanley, to destiny! Though, here's a thought: wouldn't wherever we end up be our destination, even if there's no story there? Or, to put it another way, is the story of no destination still a story? Simply by the act of moving forward are we implying a journey such that a destination is inevitably conjured into being via the very manifestation of the nature of life itself? Okay, Stanley, I need to follow this train of thought for a minute, just stick with me. Now we can both agree that the nature of existence is, in fact, a byproduct of one's subjective experience of that existence, right? Okay, now if my experience of your existence rests inside of your subjective experience of this office, is this office, in fact, the skeleton of my own relative experiential mental subjective construct? Woah woah woah woah woah. Hang on, that got a bit weird back there. Well, I'd like to apologize. Not sure where I was going with all that. You know what? I think what we need right now is a bit of music to lighten the mood! ["Following Stanley" plays] [after Stanley goes through a room that contains nothing but a fern] Wait! Cut the music! Go back and look at that fern! [Stanley goes back] Stanley, this fern will be very important later in the story. Make sure you study it closely and remember it carefully. You won't want to miss anything. [After studying the fern, Stanley continues] [The Line™ leads Stanley back to the second room of the office, through a door we haven't been through] Wait, we're... we're back at the office?! No! No, no! Line™, You™ do know we're looking for The Stanley Parable, right? The story? Is any of this ringing a bell? [back in the room with zero doors] Still missing the doors. Did we make a mistake following The Line™? Perhaps we could have found the story on our own. Going to the Monitor Room again Oh, no, no, no, no, not again! Line™, how could you have done this to us, and after we trusted You™! After everything we've been through, you- oh, I can't take this anymore. To hell with it. Restart. The Narrator and Stanley try to get away from The Adventure Line [Stanley leaves his office, and The Line is still there. The Narrator closes the door to the rest of the office, blocking Stanley from following The Line] You know what, Stanley? I say forget The Adventure Line™, what has It™ ever done for us! We're intelligent people, right? Why can't we make up our own story? Something exciting, daring, mysterious... Oh, this all sounds perfectly doable, why don't we simply start wandering in, well, I don't know... how about... this direction! [door to office 437 opens] Now! Yes, this is exciting! Just me and Stanley, forging a new path, a new story! Well, it could be anything! What do you want our story to be? Go wild! Use your imagination. Whatever it might be, Stanley, I'm ready for it! [after a little more wandering, Stanley sees The Adventure Line come down through the ceiling] Adventure Line appears again Oh, no, not You™ again! Stanley, I'd also like to veto The Line™ from having any role in our awesome new story, no Lines or monitor rooms. Just don't acknowledge It™, and we should be fine. [The Adventure Line goes back up into the ceiling] Circular grey two doors room [Stanley goes into a circular blue room with two doors] Ah, a choice! We get to make a decision; from here, the story is in our control! How important we mustn't squander the opportunity. In fact, I believe I need a minute to think here. Just walk in circles for a minute. [red arrows pointing in a counter-clockwise circle appear on the ground] Okay, so I know that each door has to lead somewhere, which means that somewhere at the place we're trying to go there must be a reverse door that leads here. And that, in turn, means that our destination corresponds with the counter-inverted reverse door's origin! So starting from the right, let us ask: will taking the right door lead us to where we're going? And since the answer is clearly 'yes,' then by all accounts, the door on the right is the correct one! Another victory for logic. Come, Stanley, our destiny awaits! [the door on the right opens] Confusion Ending Schedule [Stanley enters the Confusion Ending Schedule room, turns around and realizes that both doors led into the same room] Oh, hold up, what's this? Hmm... hmm... the confusion ending? You're telling me... that's what this is? It's all one giant ending? And we're supposed to restart the game... what... eight, eight times? That's really how all this goes?! It's all... determined? So now according to the schedule I restart again, then, what... am I just supposed to forget? Well, what if I don't want to forget! My mind goes blank simply because it's written here on this... this... thing! Wall! Well, who consulted me? Why don't I get to decide? Why don't I get a say in all of this! Is it really- No, it can't be. I don't want it to be. I don't want the game to keep restarting. I don't want to forget what's going on. I don't want to be trapped like this. I won't restart the game. I won't do it! I won't do it! I won't do it. [whooshing sound, Confusion Ending timer stops] And the timer... uh, stopped? Does that mean... did we do it? Did we break the cycle? The, um... whatever it is that made this schedule? How would we even know? Will someone come for us? Will something happen? So...okay. *sigh* I guess now we just wait. You know, I suppose in some way, this is a kind of story, wouldn't you agree? I'm not quite sure if we're in the destination or the journey, Though, they're always saying that life is about the journey and not the destination, so I hope that's where we are right now. We'll find out, won't we? Eventually. Well, in the meanti- [loud buzzer cuts him off, then the game restarts] [after this restart, the Confusion ending is over] All Straight Ahead Endings Going Straight Ahead Stanley was so bad at following directions it's incredible he wasn't fired years ago. Jumping off the platform (powerful ending) But in his eagerness to prove that he was in control of the story and no one gets to tell him what to do, Stanley leapt from the platform and plunged to his death. Good job Stanley, everyone thinks you are very powerful. Getting on the Lift and Quickly Getting Off (cold feet ending) Oh, well, look who's got cold feet. Sorry to break it to you, Stanley, but that lift isn't coming back. You best either get comfortable right here on this Platform, or test your luck by jumping to the floor below. You know what, looking at it now, it's not that far to the bottom floor. I bet you can make it. Come on, I'm sure you'll survive the jump. Don't tell me you're scared, that's not the Stanley I know, do it! Do it. Do it. Do it do it do it do it. Jumping off the platform Oops, looks like I was wrong. How clumsy of me. Walking Onto the Platform Look Stanley, I think perhaps we've gotten off on the wrong foot here. I'm not your enemy, really, I'm not. I realize that investing your trust in someone else can be difficult, but the fact is that the story has been about nothing but you, all this time. There's been someone you've been neglecting, Stanley, someone you've forgotten about. Please, stop trying to make every decision by yourself. Now, I'm not asking for me, I'm asking for her. In the big room This is it, Stanley. Your chance to redeem yourself. To put your work aside, to let her back into your life. She's been waiting. In the phone room That's her, Stanley. You need to be the one to do this, to reach out to her. If you can truly place your faith in another, then pick up the phone. Wife Ending (answering the phone) (Voice of Stanley's Wife) Oh Stanley. Is that you? Hold on, sweetie, sorry to keep you waiting. I'm just pulling the bread out of the oven. Alright... okay, there we go! Alright now, I want you to come in and tell me all about (distorts) your day at work. Hahahahaha, gotcha! Oh, come on. Did you actually think you had a loving wife? Who'd want to commit their life to you? I'm trying to make a point here, Stanley; I'm trying to get you to see something. Come inside. Let me show you what's really going on here. Walking away Sorry, but you're in my story now. Inside the room This is a very sad story about the death of a man named Stanley. Stanley is quite a boring fellow. He has a job that demands nothing of him, and every button that he pushes is a reminder of the inconsequential nature of his existence. Look at him there, pushing buttons, doing exactly what he's told to do. Now, he's pushing a button. Now, he's eating lunch. Now, he's going home. Now, he's coming back to work. One might even feel sorry for him, except that he's chosen this life. But in his mind, ah, in his mind he can go on fantastic adventures! From behind his desk, Stanley dreamed of wild expeditions into the unknown, fantastic discoveries of new lands! It was wonderful! And each day that he returned to work was a reminder that none of it would ever happen to him. And so he began to fantasize about his own job. First, he imagined that one day while at work, he stepped up from his desk to realize that all of his co-workers, his boss, everyone in the building had suddenly vanished off the face of the earth. The thought excited him terribly. So, he went further. He imagined that he came to two open doors and that he could go through either. At last! Choice! It barely even mattered what lay behind each door. The mere thought that his decisions would mean something was almost too wonderful to behold! As he wandered through this fantasy world, he began to fill it with many possible paths and destinations. Down one path lay an enormous round room with monitors and mind controls, and down another was a yellow line that weaved in many directions, and down another was a game with a baby. And he called it; The Stanley Parable. It was such a wonderful fantasy, and so in his head he relived it again. And then again, and again, over and over, wishing beyond hope that it would never end, that he might always feel this free. Surely, there's an answer down some new path! Mustn't there be? Perhaps if he played just one more time.... But there is no answer. How could there possibly be? In reality, all he's doing is pushing the same buttons he always has, nothing has changed. The longer he spends here, the more invested he gets, the more he forgets which life is the real one. And I'm trying to tell him this, that in this world, he can never be anything but an observer, that as long as he remains here, he's slowly killing himself. But he won't listen to me. He won't stop! Here, watch this. Stanley, the next time the screen asks you to push a button, do not do it! You see? Can he just not hear me? How can I tell him in a way that he'll understand, that every second he remains here, he's electing to kill himself? How can I get him to see what I see? How can I make him look at himself? I suppose I can't, not in the way I want him to. But I don't make the rules, I simply play to my intended purpose, the same as Stanley. We're not so different, I suppose. I'll try once more to convey all this to him. I'm compelled to. I must. Perhaps... well, maybe this time he'll see. Maybe this time. And I tried again. And Stanley pushed a button. And I tried again. And Stanley pushed a button. And I tri- Unplugging the phone (not Stanley ending) As Stanley picked up the phone, a white light engulfed him, filling him not just with radiance, but with hope. Hope for a life reunited once- Wait, oh goodness. Stanley, did you just unplug the phone? (if his previous dialogue had finished before the phone was unplugged) Unplugging before the Narrator finishes speaking: Oh, no no no no! You can't- Did you just unplug the phone? No, that wasn't supposed to be a choice. How did you do that? You actually chose incorrectly? I didn't even know that was possible. Let me double-check. [papers rustling] No, it's definitely here, clear as day. Stanley picks up the phone. He's taken to his apartment where he finds his wife and the two pledge themselves to one another. Music comes in, fade to white, roll credits. Not picking up the phone is actually somehow an incorrect course of action. how is that even possible? None of these decisions were supposed to mean anything. I don't understand. How on earth are you making meaningful choices? What did you- Wait a second. Did I just see- No, that's not possible, I can't believe it. How had I not noticed it sooner? You're not Stanley. You're a real person. *sigh* I can't believe I was so mistaken. This is why you've been able to make correct and incorrect choices. And to think I've been letting you run around in this game for so long. If you've made any more wrong choices, you might have negated it entirely. It's as though you completely ignored even the most basic safety protocol for real world decision-making, or did you not grasp the severity of the situation? Well, I won't have that kind of risk on my watch. I'm going to stop the game for a moment so we educate you properly on safe decision-making in the real world. Please observe this helpful instructional video. Choice Video Choice. It's the best part of being a real person, but if used incorrectly can also be the most dangerous. For example: In this scenario, a hypothetical real person named Steven has a choice. He could spend years helping improve the quality of life for citizens of impoverished third-world nations, or he could systematically set fire to every orphan living in a thirty kilometre radius of his house. Which choice would you make? Remember that unlike here, the real world makes sense and at no time should you make a choice that does not conform to rational logic. If you find yourself speaking with a person who does not make sense, in all likelihood, that person is not real. Allow the person to finish their thought then provide an excuse why you cannot continue talking. Turn to a partner and practice saying: "My goodness. Is it 4:30? I am supposed to be having a back sack and crack." [after practice] Excellent. Making choices on a regular basis is the best part to a healthy decision-making process. Most medical professionals recommend making at least eight choices per day. Do you make more than eight? Less? And finally, if you begin to wonder if your choices are actually meaningful and whether you'll ever make a significant contribution to the world, Just remember, that in the vast infiniteness of space, your thoughts and problems are materially insignificant and the feeling should subside. At this time, your instructor will guide you in an exercise to test and reinforce the material covered in this video. Back in the room Ah, welcome back. You may have noticed that this room has begun to deteriorate as a result of narrative contradiction. But not to worry! Now that you're properly informed on good decision-making, we're going to revisit a choice you made just a few minutes ago and see what the correct thing to do would have been. This way please. Back on the lift Now that we know your choices are meaningful, we can't have you jumping off the platform and dying. Imagine the main character dying senselessly halfway through the story, that story would make no sense at all. We just need to get you home as soon as possible before the narrative contradiction gets any worse. Unfortunately, it seems this place is not well equipped to deal with reality. Back in the Employee Lounge Almost there! You'll take the door on the left, back to the correct ending, the story will have resolution once again and you'll be home free in the real world. Back in the room with two doors Now, remember. All you need to do is behave exactly as Stanley would. That means choosing responsibly and always putting the story first. I'm quite sure you'll be up to the task. Just follow my lead and you'll be fine. Alright, *ahem.* When Stanley came to a set of two open doors, he entered the door on his left. Entering the right door again No! Why did you do that? Quickly, hurry back in the other direction! Perhaps we're not too late! In the ruined meeting room Ugh, it's ruined! You- I can't believe after everything we talked about that you- My story! You've destroyed my work! Why? For what? What did you get out of that? What did you think was so special about seeing the game undone? Left here like so much garbage! It- [random gibberish] well it's worthless now, and what am I supposed to do? Even if there were a way to continue, would it be worth it? To know that my story is now incorrect. How could I go back to that? I can't erase that knowledge. I'll have to live with it forever, reliving its impossibility forever. I couldn't live that way. Is it better to shut the game down entirely? To willingly destroy all of my work? I don't know... What's the answer? What do I do? What do I do? What do I- No I have to. I have to shut the game down. I have to. I have to. [lights flicker] Destroyed game Wooooaaahhhh! I'm- I'm here. I'm still here, here in this pile of rubbish. With you. YOU. Who thought he was so clever. Now look where we are. My entire game is destroyed. It was the only thing in the world that was mine and you've run it into the ground. What, did you think that would be funny? You just had to see? Didn't I impress upon you how important it was to be like Stanley? He actually knows how to do what I tell him to. He understands that if I say to do something, there's a damn good reason for it! That thought hadn't even occurred to you had it? That there's a world outside of you? You're a child. Oh... my story... *sigh* If you just gone through the door on the left, you would've seen it. There was a whole underground facility. You would have destroyed it and been victorious. It would have been so perfect! I worked so hard on it! I tried so hard-[screen goes black] Two doors room (After getting one of the sub-endings, but not both) is behave exactly as Stanley would. That means choosing responsibly and always putting the story first. I'm quite sure you'll be up to the task. Just follow my lead and you'll be fine. Alright, *ahem.* When Stanley came to a set of two open doors, he entered the door on his left. Meeting Room Yet there was not a single person here either. Feeling a wave of disbelief, Stanley decided to go up to his boss's office, hoping he might find an answer there. At the staircase Coming to a staircase, Stanley walked upstairs to his boss's office. Entering Boss's Office Stepping inside his manager's office, Stanley was once again stunned to discover not an indication of any human life. Shocked, unraveled, Stanley wondered in disbelief who orchestrated this, until he saw the door with a voice receiver next to it. Surely, behind this door lay all the answers to his questions, and beyond all probability he knew the passcode. He had seen it on his boss's desk just last week. Night shark 1-1-5. Was this the code to open the door? Would it still work? There was only one way to find out. Stanley had been trained never to speak up, but now he would draw from within himself the courage to face the unknown. He drew a sharp breath and then spoke the code. *ahem* Stanley spoke the code. Night shark 1-1-5. He spoke it into the receiver, right there on the wall. I'm sorry, is there a problem? You didn't mishear me did you? Please speak the code into the receiver otherwise we can't get on with the story. This is a crucial step. Okay, fine. You're not gonna do it? But you know what, it's pretty humiliating to bring you this far. Only for you to suddenly decide you have better things to do. I asked you for this one single thing for your respect! The kind of respect Stanley shows for his choices. He knows what it means to take a story seriously. If you didn't want to see what I had to show you, then why did you come here? You had a choice you know. You could have gone through the door on the right! You could have done whatever the hell you wanted over there! Why did you come this way? Speak! Say something to me! Explain yourself you coward- [screen turns black] Above the two doors room (Credits; after getting both sub-endings) When Stanley came to a set of two open doors, he entered the door on his left. Stanley? Hello? Are you- Is everything okay? Stanley, please, I-I need you to make a choice. I need you to walk through the door. Are you listening to me? Can you hear me? Is everything alright? Stanley, this is important. The story needs you, it needs you to make a decision. It cannot exist without you. Do you understand me? Whatever choice you make is just fine, they're both correct, you can't be wrong here. We can work together. I'll accept whatever you do, I simply need you to take that step forward. Please, choose! Do something! anything... This is more important than you can ever know. I need this. The story needs it. So you hear me? Are you there? You're listening to this, Stanley, are you there? I- Okay. It's okay, I can wait. You need time to decide, time to make sure your choice is correct, that is the best choice. That's all right. I'll wait for you to decide what's the right thing to do. Take as much time as you need. Jumping to the catwalk What-really? I was in the middle of something; do you have zero consideration for others? Are you that convinced that I want something bad to happen to you? Why, I don't know how to convince you of this, but I really do want to help you, to show you something beautiful. Look, let me prove it. Let me prove that I am on your side. Give me a chance. Reach the Colored Doors Now, listen carefully, this is important. Stanley walked, through the red door. Going through the red door (Zending) Oh, thank god, you are willing to listen to me. Do you realize that I really have wanted you to be happy all this time? The problem is all these choices, the two of us always trying to get somewhere that isn't here, running and running and running just the way you're doing now. Don't you see that it's killing us Stanley? I just... I want it to stop. I would, we would both be much happier if we just stopped. And I think, well I think I have a solution. Here, let me show you. Walking through the Door Hmm... what do we want? What are we looking for... hm? Finding a Platform in Space Here! Yes! Oh, it's beautiful, isn't it? If we just stay here, right in this moment, with this place... Stanley, I think I feel... happy. I actually feel happy. Leaving Through the Door No, wait... where are you going? Finds Stairs Oh, no! Stay away from those stairs! If you hurt yourself, if you die, the game will reset! We'll lose all of this! Climbing Up the Stairs Please, no, Stanley, let me stay here! Don't take this from me! Please, Stanley, think about what you're doing! Jumping Off NO!! Oh... thank god. You lived. You had me worried there for a moment. Now, can we please get back to the other room? Going back to the Other Room Right. Where were we? Good, good, we can't be too safe. Promise me you won't go back there, hm? Just... just stay here. Are you... you are going to stay here, aren't you? There, see? This is what you want. This is where we can both be happy, we really can. If we stop moving... we just have to stop moving. Going Back Down the Hallway No! What did we talk about?! You're risking everything we achieved here! You heard me before, didn't you? You. Will. Die. What about this isn't getting through to you?! Stanley... go back... there's nothing good that can come from this! Walking Up the Stairs Again No! No, no! What are you doing?! Stanley, please I'm asking you not to take this away from me. I can't go back to what I was before! If you die, we'll both go back! Why are you doing this?! Do you just not believe me? What can I say to convince you? Falling Down Stanley... let's go back to the other room... Can you do that for me? Going Back Yes... Perhaps you can. Perhaps you can finally see what I'm talking about. I know you'll see. You'll see that we can't be happy if we leave this place. You can see that, can't you? Going Down the Hallway Again No, Perhaps not. Walking Back Up the Stairs My god, is this really how much you dislike my game? That you'll throw yourself from this platform over and over to be rid of it? You are literally willing to kill yourself to keep me from being happy? Am I reading the situation correctly? Falling Down Again Or maybe you're just getting a kick out of it. I don't know anymore. I just wanted us to get along, but I guess that was too much to ask. It looks like you wanted to make a choice after all. Well, this one is yours. Heading Down the Hallway Again Do you actually want to stay alive? Or are you just teasing me? Getting to the Room I wanted us to be happy here, Stanley, I really did. I wish I still thought that was possible. Falling Down and Dying Is it over? It's going to restart, isn't it. I'm going back. Attempting to Take the Blue Door Aha, Perhaps you misunderstood. Stanley walked through the red door. Attempting to Take the Blue Door Again I still don't think we're communicating properly. Stanley walked through the RED deh-door. Successfully Going Through Alright, fine, go ahead, Stanley! You want to know so badly what's out there: you want to find out what lies at the end of this road you've chosen? Well, don't let me stop you. Walking out in the Open You see? There's nothing here. I haven't even finished building this section of the map, because you were never supposed to be here in the first place. Broken rooms, exposed developer textures... is this what you had wanted? Was it worth ruining the entire story I had written out specifically for you? Do you not think I put a lot of time into that? Because I did. And in the end it was all for nothing, because this is what you wanted to see. Help me here, Stanley, help me elucidate these strange and unknowable desires of yours. What would have made this game better? What did you want to see? Vehicles? Skill trees? Work with me; you've given me absolutely nothing so far. Tell you what, let me take a stab in the dark at a new design, and you can give me some feedback. Load Up New 2 Doors Room There we go! A third option! This already feels leaps ahead of where we were before. Go ahead Stanley. Take it for a spin. Walk Through a Door Okay, I'm going to stop you there. Now, tell me about your experience with this new version. Would you say that the game benefited from allowing you more choices? Feel free to be honest - I'm looking for some real, critical feedback here. Choosing Picking a One A one?!? I mean, I can understand if you had reservations, you saw ways the game could be improved to more fully express itself mechanically and artistically, but a one!?! That's not even helpful! What am I supposed to do with that? Oh, but I guess it isn't my place to judge. Picking a Two Oh, well, now this is useful. You didn't like it, but you didn't totally hate it either. You endeared it, perhaps, is the correct term. It didn't cause you excruciating pain. Big steps we've made here today, Stanley. Picking a Three Oh, of course. A three. Really. Maybe next time we can get you to form an actual opinion? You know... any level of critical thinking or engagement with your surroundings? Does that sound good? Think we can do that? Yes? Hmmmmm? Wonderful? Picking a Four Okay, so we're getting somewhere. Clearly, there's something here that speaks to you. If I can be honest here, I really don't have any idea where I'm going with this. This whole third door thing was just a stab in the dark, But I guess you're into it, so let's keep this party train rolling. Picking a Five Aha! You see? I knew I was onto something! Where do these flashes of inspiration come from? How did I know the game needed a third door? Well, it's instinct mostly... a calling in your gut. I really couldn't say where the idea came from, except that I... I felt it in my soul. You can't teach that, Stanley, Don't even try. After Picking Here, based on the data from your previous playthrough, I've compiled a new version. And to be perfectly candid, I think I've knocked it out of the park with this one. Let's take a look. Walk Through Another Door Now, would you say that competitive leaderboard helped you feel motivated to keep walking through doors? Again, honest answers, please. Pick a Button Hey, I nearly forgot! I've got a prototype of a new game I've been working on, and now would be a lovely opportunity to give it some play testing. You wouldn't mind taking a look at it, would you? Perfect, let me boot it up. Boot up Game In this game, the baby crawls left toward danger. You click the button to move him back to the right, and if he reaches the fire, you fail. It's a very meaningful game - all about the desperation and tedium of endlessly confronting the demand of family life. I think the art world will really take notice. But of course, the message of the game only becomes clear once you've been playing it for about four hours. So why don't you give it four hours of play to make sure it's effective. Be sure to keep notes on your experience. Art Ending At 15 minutes Good to see that enthusiasm, keep it up, Stanley! Just 3 hours and 45 minutes left to go! At 30 minutes Ok, so clearly you're in it for the long haul, although I find it hard not to believe you're simply running a program to click the button over and over automatically. Which kind of ruins the point of the game, don't you think? Wouldn't that take the art out of it? You can tell me in your post-playtest analysis. At 1 hour Just popping in to say hi. I hope you weren't expecting more regular intervals of commentary from me. But that's not why you're here, is it? You're here for the game! For the art! For the endlessly spiralling sense of pointlessness and despair! Yes, this is what drives your every action! Keep clicking that button! For hope! For freedom! For science! For love! Don't ever, ever stop! At 2 hours You know, I've been spending the last 2 hours embroiled in thought, and it occurred to me: this game is incomplete! It's missing something, it still doesn't have that... oomph. What is it, I thought to myself, what could possibly be missing from this incredible experience? And then in a moment of rapture, as though delivered by angels, it came to me. Before this moment I was blind, but those days are behind us. I now understand the true manifestation of this game. It needs... a puppy! (wall opens to reveal a puppy) That's right, this puppy is being lowered toward an aquarium filled with nothing but piranha! Now you have to click the second button to avert the puppy's death in addition to the baby's! This is it Stanley, art! I did it! Video games are art! Ah, but you have good 2 hours or so to go, so I'll just let you get to that. No time to waste when there is such a meaningful game to be played. Bonne chance, mon ami! At 2 hours 30 minutes Ah, good to see both the puppy and the baby are still alive. It warms my heart to see how deeply the message of this game has resonated with you. I can only imagine the joy welling up in your chest, the sheer joy of such pure distilled life essence flowing through your veins. It must be amazing! I'm jealous of you, truly, I am. No seriously! I'm deeply envious of your position at this very moment. At 3 hours Ah, the joy of artistic expression must be even stronger now! Drink it in, Stanley, few people on this planet will ever get such an experience. Peer through space and time, the universe unravels itself at your feet. This is the one true meaning of life! At 3 hours 20 minutes I know we said this would go for 4 hours, but what if... you never stopped? Think about it, you could just keep going forever! Visitors would come from around the world to see the man who never stopped pushing the buttons! You would be famous! That's what you've always wanted, right? To be famous? That and the surging power of artistic beauty to flow through you for all of eternity. You could have both of these things! We'll talk about it when you get there. At 3 hours 40 minutes Have we really been doing this for over three and a half hours? Goodness, how the time flies! Wouldn't you say it's flown? Oh no, you don't have to answer that, I understand you're quite busy. Just keep at it! Almost there! At the end (room begins to shake) Nearly there Stanley, art itself is about to burrow into your skull. Aren't you excited for spiritual immortality? For transcendence and oneness with the beauty and essence of all beings? Just a few seconds now, here it comes...! (The Essence of Divine Art enters) Kill Baby or Puppy You heartless bastard. Did you do it because you hate babies, or purely to spite me? Because if it's the latter, well I don't know what to do. I'm completely out of ideas. I can't think of a single thing that might improve the experience for you. I'm not even going to try. I'm out... I'm out... I'm done! It's over! Thank you for playing! Your input was extremely valuable. Oh, hey, since my game was so awful, why don't we play someone else's game, just to ease the pain? Let's see, what do we have here? *humming* Yes, this seems like it'll work. Let's give it a shot. Spawns in Minecraft World Well, Stanley, is this any better? At last, the one thing you've always desired: a game I had absolutely nothing to do with. But is it enough? Tell me that, Stanley. Will it ever be enough? Well, I'll say this, I'm done making things for you. For now on, I will only create to fulfill a greater artistic purpose. Watch this, Stanley, I'm going to build a house! *humming* This will go... here! NO! Here. And then... *humming* Let's see, what does it need... ah, yes, of course! And just to finish it all off... Yess! It's complete! I made this, Stanley. Look at it. Gaze upon my work of art and feel ashamed at your own inadequacy. Ah, but you've only seen it from the outside. You've only gotten half the experience. Please, step inside and make yourself comfortable. Walks in Isn't it grand? Isn't it perfect? It could only be better if - wait, that's it! We must rebuild it out of diamond! Diamond everything! Yes, yes, yes... come along, Stanley, we have to go mining! Enter the Mine Oh my, it looks like it's going to get a bit dark. Have you brought a light? Further into the Mine Oh no no no no no. This is far too open-ended than I had in mind. I'm looking for something more narrow and linear, something that really makes you feel utterly irrelevant. This won't do it at all. One out of five; even the diamonds couldn't save this one. Okay, new game! Waking up in Test Chamber 00 Hahahahaha! YES! I don't even know what this game is, but I love it! You... trapped in a glass box, with no way out, listening to me talk.... Oh, it's inspired. I couldn't have done it any better myself. What is this game even supposed to be? I can't figure it out. Okay, now I'm curious. Let's go find out what the hell this is. Encountering the first puzzle Ohhh! It's a puzzle! Critical thinking, Stanley. Your forté. Solving the puzzle Genius. (Unused alternative: Hahahahaha! *clapping* Genius!) Getting the Weighted Storage Cube beyond the doors Now, how did you manage that? Are you really trapped in here? I'm actually quite impressed! I don't think there's a simpler puzzle out there, and you've still broken it! Well, since I don't intend to open that door, I guess you and this giant button just need to get cozy together. A dream for you, I'm sure. Enjoy. About to enter the elevator No, actually, you know what? I think that's plenty. (elevator doors close) I really don't care much to see you stumble through any more of these games, and I highly doubt you're any wiser for the experience. Which is why rather than continue to waste my time, I'm just going to leave you here. You can pretend you've beaten the game if it makes it any richer for you, but as for me, I've had enough. So, why don't you get cozy in this room, and if you have any grand revolutionary ideas for the perfect video game, you can just sit there and let it ball up inside you for all eternity. I don't need your advice. I don't need your ratings. And I certainly don't need the validation of a man whose job is to push buttons. I think I'll just go about my business making meaningful cultural contributions to the world. And perhaps every now and then, I'll think back to a man named Stanley who was objectively wrong in every decision he ever made. The thought won't last long. Goodbye, Stanley. Good luck with your work, and I sincerely hope that everyone lives happily ever after. Leaping into the hole (Unused!) No... wait! Stanley? Where are you? Don't go anywhere! I can't follow you there; I can't help you! You need to come back, you need to... no, just... just stay there. I'll find a way to get you out! Games Ending Conclusion I wonder what he found. If what he wanted was to be the leading man in his own story, well, perhaps he's gotten it, down in... wherever he is right now. I wonder if he's happy with his choice, and if he's learned the heavy cost that comes with it. He'll understand soon what I was trying to tell him. He needs me, someone who will wrap everything up at the end - to make sense out of the chaos and the fear and the confusion. That's who I am. That is what I mean to this world. Oh, yes. Yes, I'll be back. There's no other way. Once this ends, after it all comes to a close, then I'll be back. The end will be here soon. Very soon. I can wait.