This may well be the most difficult review I have ever written.
No clever analogies. No penetrating insights. No dry witticisms. Not even a screen shot.
I will, however, go so far as to quote the author's web site:
“The Stanley Parable is an experimental narrative-driven first person game. It is an exploration of choice, freedom, storytelling and reality, all examined through the lens of what it means to play a video game.
You will make a choice that does not matter
You will follow a story that has no end
You will play a game you cannot win
...it's actually best if you don't know anything about it before you play it :D”
See what I mean?
But then I really don't have to say much to affect your decision to buy, because The Stanley Parable is a free download. So just get it.
It does require a (free) Steam account. Once you have your account, just download The Stanley Parable and unzip it. Place the resulting folder in
C:"Program Files"Steam"steamapps"SourceMods (or where ever you installed Steam)
When you start up Steam, The Stanley Parable should show up on your play list. Just play it. (The first time may take a little while as supporting libraries are installed, but it should come up quickly after that.)
Is it any good? Yes. It is innovative and flawless in its intent. It is also the work of one independent burned-out person. I give it an “A.”
Editor's Note: According to http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-stanley-parable: TSP does not actually require Half Life 2 on PC. On Mac, HL2 is required.