What We’re Playing: Facade

Doris says you can win this game, and in fact claims that the first time she played she managed to beat the game and help Trip + Grace. I think she's full of it.

If you come visit us at Fire Hose (and you should!) on any given day you will hear many bizarre comments, like “Always the joker! Ha ha…” , “Ahem…. hem…”, and “We’ll be fine, just GO”. At this point you’d probably think that we’re totally bonkers and/or completely awkward, but in reality you’d be only half right – we’re really referencing Facade, a terrific if not strange game by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern.

Facade is a very weird 2005 title in which you are invited to a dinner party by a pair of old friends, Trip and Grace. During the course of the evening the happy couple reveals that they are kinda miserable, and their marriage disintegrates in front of your eyes. Personally, I like to see how quickly I can get thrown out by being a jerk; Ethan has managed to get booted before even setting foot in the door. The really interesting part is that the game does natural language parsing (albeit poorly) and you interact with Trip and Grace by typing with the keyboard.

This game pushes the boundaries so much it’s terrific. It’s free too, so go download it now.


  1. Matthew

    Brilliant concept, disappointing implementation. I loved it on the first play, but it felt restrictive on subsequent plays, as it became clear what parts of the plot would always be the same. The characters don’t answer most questions, you can’t really interact with their apartment much (ie pour yourself a drink, open the fridge, go into their bedroom, etc). If the effective decision tree was a few orders of magnitude larger, this would be really cool.

    There’s an error with the bounding box of the room- you can sneak out of the apartment without the characters noticing if you walk through the left corner of the window. I was hoping for secret bonus rooms, but no luck.

  2. Agree 100% on paragraph 1. Of course, that would make the game a gajillion times harder to make, but it’d be super cool.

    Yeah, sneaking out onto the ledge is great but unfortunately you can’t jump. If only batman were climbing up the side of the building!

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