Some (...okay lots) of the cultural references in this game are to stuff that many people aren't familiar with. Being as my familiarity with so many of these oft-forgotten things is a big part of why I like Gone Home so much, I thought it might be helpful to contextualize some of its cultural references.
MY SO-CALLED LIFE: Gone Home draws heavily on both thematic and aesthetic elements from a short-lived TV program that aired on ABC channels from 1994 to '95 (uncoincidentally the general time frame in which the game's events of focus take place) in the U.S. called My So-Called Life, which was like my favorite show of that whole decade. The general tone and mannerisms of Sam's diary entries in Gone Home are recognizably inspired by the introspections of protagonist Angela Chase from My So-Called Life, for example, as is Sam's dress style similar to Angela's, and what's more so too in a number of respects does the relationship between Sam and Lonnie in Gone Home bear a striking resemblance to that between Angela and her best friend Rayanne in My So-Called Life despite the fact that the latter two are both heterosexual characters.
RIOT GRRRL: The riot grrrl subculture is heavily referenced throughout Gone Home and it meant a lot to me back in the early and mid-'90s when it was at its liveliest, but I find that it's a scene that many people are unfamiliar with today. Here's a brief primer on the history of the riot grrrl punk movement I thought I'd supply to contextualize the references thereto in the game.
SASSY MAGAZINE: You know that issue of Fresh magazine that you find on the table in the library? That's a reference to a real teen girls' magazine that I used to read back in the early and mid-'90s that was distinguished by its frankness and, occasionally, reader-produced content. There's nothing like it in circulation today. This news report on Sassy and its readers from the mag's heyday in 1992 captures its appeal to many tween and teenage girls and young women at the time pretty well. Pausing the video on the magazine covers will allow you to easily recognize the tone on the fictional Fresh magazine in Gone Home. (In case you're wondering what happened to the TV show also referenced in the linked report, that lasted for only a year. Sassy magazine was a thing for the better part of a decade though.)
Last edited by Jaicee - on 25 October 2020