story by Mike Gas

published on September 15, 2022

You might have seen House Party on the front page of Steam a couple of times through it’s early-access development. If you like installing adware on your computer, you’ve probably also seen it on the front page of the Epic Games Store as well. Now, I don’t have scopohobia, but this banner certainly triggered something like it for me.

I would often scroll right past this logo, my heart and brain quivering in fear at the uncanny valley character models. There’s something about the typography too that just seems… off. I genuinely don’t know what it is or how to put the fear in words. Perhaps it's the combination of the blandness, the very low effort typography, on top of the flat dead eyes of the characters, that evokes the pain I feel when I look at it. I had this game clocked as something that was not good, and probably something I shouldn’t play for the five years it was on Steam early access.

I forgot about it for a year or two as it disappeared from the Steam store. To be honest, I don’t know much about its development history, nor do I really care to look into it, but suddenly it was back on Steam again, and this time the game was complete, no longer in early access, it had hit 1.0.

Curiosity got the best of me. I had been seeing this game on Steam for so long, I had to peek at what made this FINAL RELEASE version so final. For the very first time, I clicked on the Steam store page. As I assessed the screenshots, expecting to just get a kick out of how grody this game looked, I was reminded of another game, a game that never actually came out.

Remember Facade? It actually had a sequel in development named, “The Party.” It was going to take the scope of Facade and magnify it to be even more dynamic and interactive. Much akin to House Party, there would be multiple narratives going on at once throughout the entire house. You could choose to fraternize with the guests in any order, enter new stories at any point. Paying attention to one narrative may cause you to miss others going on throughout the house, it was a game that would encourage multiple replays to see the entire story. The only thing the House Party developers thought this concept was missing, was sex.