I typically really enjoy the analyses on these podcasts, and especially the exceptional written analyses on HG101, but I'm only about 45 minutes into the Gone Home one, and am having a really hard time listening to it. From the dedication to totally missing the point of the (of course intentional, of COURSE not an advertising bait and switch) horror tone, to the inconsistent arguments (at first someone is irritated that some story elements are related through the environmental cues and set dressing when they 'should' be overtly stated in the journal entries - because subtlety sux, rite? - but then five minutes later complains about how, when compared to the contextual narrative, the journal entries are "hitting you over the head"), to the extended, pointless - and occasionally *wrong* pedantic nit-picking about the '90s-ness' of the setting (during which one of the pedants wildly mispronounces the word 'zine' in a way that should be impossible to do), to the completely unironic use of the ord 'gamer' to describe themselves... This was a really frustrating a disappointing listen, and I'm not especially looking forward to the rest, as it's indicated above that there's more tiresome discussion of the "controversy" around the price and the "bait and switch" advertising down the pike. Honestly, I feel like this episode serves less as an illustration of the shortcomings of the game, and more of an illustration of the shortcomings of self-identified "gamers" who tend to miss the forest for the dorky trees and rankle at any sort of subtlety.
I *am* curious, though, to listen on and see if there's any discussion of the child abuse backstory in the game. So far there's been a lot of complaining about the lack of characterization, which makes me suspect you didn't look into that plot thread at all. I'll give it another pass on my way to work tomorrow, though.
I forget if we mentioned the child abuse backstory in the podcast proper, but we did discuss it at some point before recording.
Keep in mind these are meant as gut reactions to the games we play more than an in depth analysis (although we do that too sometimes!), and both of us admitted to not listening to the developer commentary before recording. However, I'm not sure why you're complaining about us discussing some of the anachronisms given the game relies heavily on its 90s setting as a plot device, and also because this is a classic gaming site, so naturally we're going to pick up on that first!
(of course intentional, of COURSE not an advertising bait and switch)
This is not predominantly about the mild hints of spookyness within the game itself - have you seen the trailer in question? If you want to frame that as anything other than deliberate deception of customers (at the very least as "collateral damage"), you'd have to work from the assumption that the creators were convinced no one would buy a game on the basis of viewing a trailer, which on the other hand would betray a not insignificant detachment from reality.
For the record I don't recall being annoyed at them subtly including elements of the plot in the environment, in fact we really liked that. If I remember it properly we were more concerned that the story couldn't decide what it wanted to do - it flips between force feeding you via journals while at the same time the other story elements are basically entirely glossed over with no real pay off outside of the core story.
The characters lack a great deal of characterization, they're mostly hollow shells for the writers to expose the main progress of the plot rather than feeling like real people into themselves. It's hard to discuss them (although we do talk about it quite a bit) in detail when they're kind of sporadically embodied themselves.
While I appreciate any reasonably constructive feedback you yourself listed several critical elements we did break down in the podcast in question so I am somewhat concerned you're more bothered we weren't 100% positive about the game (although it was highly recommend by both of us). I had hoped we didn't overly *gamer'ed* it up (which as a social group is something I don't personally feel connected with regardless) as that's not a market we really have an interest in. Although I completely agree the Gone Home one isn't our best because it waffles a bit in places.