You stand on the edge of a strip of asphalt, in the middle of a breezy, weedy, Southern forest. It's nearly sunset and the day's final rays sprawl over hay rolls and a small pond across the road. Behind you, a long trailer home sits in a clearing, piles of old and discarded possessions heaped haphazardly around it. More hazy structures dot the horizon, and at your feet there's a small, elephant-shaped backpack. You pick it up and turn it around. A woman's voice calmly says, "I remember missing the school bus that morning." True enough, the bus never comes and you're free to roam around the immediate area, exploring the forest, trash, houses and cemetery around you, learning more about yourself and your past. This is Home is Where One Starts..., a short exploration game inspired by TS Eliot's The Four Quartets and created by indie developer David Wehle. I spoke with Wehle about the poetic influences behind his game and the wider state of exploration-based games.
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