I've seen a lot of sentiment around that discussing The Beginners Guide too much diminishes it. This is probably true, but I'm going to do so anyway.
Through the earlier sections of the game my response was:
(1) This is way more like the Stanley Parable than I had been led to believe.
(2) I laughed a lot despite feeling like the butt of the joke.
The part of me that's a hobbyist game critic, that is. And that's hard because the thing I'm most uncertain about here is how much of a dig this is meant to be at those of us who like to pull apart a game developer's work and find meaning there. Did the design document include terms like "navel gazing", I wonder?
I mean, I go by "Shallow Depths". My online presence (such as it is) is pretty well tied up in people's perceptions of game criticism and a tug of war between insight and fluff. Which I consider a false dichotomy and that's basically why I'm here.