Video games, as a rule, depend heavily on a trick that TV Tropes calls the “Voice with an Internet Connection.” The Voice is the comm link in your head, giving you missions and explaining your world: think Halo’s Cortana, Deus Ex’s many operatives, or even Portal’s GLaDOS. By turns helpful, officious, and hostile, the Voice will tell you what to do and how to feel about it, even when it suddenly starts trying to kill you. But what if you could disobey the Voice? Could you make your own destiny? This is the entire premise of The Stanley Parable.

Here’s how The Stanley Parable starts: Stanley is Employee 427, a mindless, button-pressing drone in an office. One day, his boss stops telling him which buttons to press, and Stanley decides to go investigate. How do we know this? Because we’ve been told by a friendly, matter-of-fact narrator with an authoritative British accent. Stanley makes his way down the hall, where two doors are open. The narrator says that Stanley takes the left one. Which door does he take? And where does that door lead?