In a world where household chores often feel mundane and burdensome, video games offer a surprising twist by transforming these ordinary tasks into exciting virtual experiences. Australian game developers have ingeniously tapped into this concept, creating a range of innovative video games that turn domestic duties into artful entertainment. Drawing inspiration from popular titles like ‘Untitled Goose Game’ and ‘The Sims’, these games offer players an immersive and enjoyable way to engage with everyday settings through fun and relaxing gameplay.
The Thrill of the Move: Moving Out and its Sequel
One standout example is the game ‘Moving Out’, developed collaboratively by Australian and Swedish studios, including the creators of the beloved ‘Overcooked’ cooking game. In ‘Moving Out’, players step into the shoes of a removalist, tasked with moving various furniture items such as fridges, beds, and sofas within a time limit. However, this seemingly mundane job quickly becomes an athletic adventure as players navigate treacherous obstacles like animals, swimming pools, and even ghosts. Each new setting brings an element of the surreal, transforming the typically dull task of moving objects from one place to another into a thrilling experience. The game allows players to break windows and throw objects, embracing the joys of recklessness and providing a cathartic alternative to the obsession with material possessions.
Unpacking Stories: The Intriguing World of Unpacking
Another captivating game that reinvents domestic tasks is ‘Unpacking’, described as a ‘zen puzzle game’. This unique game invites players to explore the lives and environments of unnamed occupants by sorting their belongings through a series of removals. The pixel art graphics in ‘Unpacking’ tantalize players with unreadable book covers and journal entries, leaving the occupant’s life shrouded in mystery. By engaging in these banal tasks within the game, players can temporarily escape their own lives and delve into the narratives of others, discovering unexpected stories in seemingly ordinary possessions.
‘Florence’, a game by the lead designer of ‘Monument Valley’, takes a different approach by focusing on spatial organization and relationships. Players face the challenge of managing limited storage space as Florence’s partner moves in, mirroring the real-life task of combining households. As the player arranges objects like kitchen utensils, clothing, and books, they gain insights into the couple’s differences. The absence of dialogue in blank speech bubbles adds an additional layer of intrigue, leaving the couple’s interactions up to the player’s interpretation. By providing a familiar yet unfamiliar setting, ‘Florence’ encourages players to reimagine everyday tasks in an extraordinary light.
‘Rumu’, an earlier Australian game, showcases the potential of narratives within domestic environments. Players assume the role of a sentient robot vacuum cleaner tasked with tidying up spills and investigating the disappearance of a home’s owners. As players navigate through a maze-like home filled with advanced technology and secrets, the game blurs the line between the surreal and the everyday. ‘Rumu’ challenges players to solve puzzles and explore the emotional complications of an artificial intelligence home assistant, highlighting the unexpected depth hidden within the seemingly mundane setting of a domestic space.
Transforming Gender Roles and Domesticity
These inventive Australian video games not only offer entertaining gameplay experiences but also provide an opportunity to challenge traditional gender norms associated with domestic work. While statistics indicate that women spend more time on unpaid household labor than men, the fact that almost half of video game players in Australia are women opens up avenues for reimagining gender roles in gaming. These games often allow players to choose avatars of various genders and species or control characters embodying both masculine and feminine traits. By connecting domestic labor with fantasy and adventure, these games encourage players to imagine everyday life and ordinary places as extraordinary.
Conclusion: Rethinking the Extraordinary Potential of Mundane Tasks
As video game developers continue to explore the untapped potential of everyday settings and tasks, players are presented with new and exciting ways to interact with and appreciate the world around them. By transforming mundane chores into captivating gameplay experiences, these innovative Australian games challenge our perceptions of domesticity and offer a fresh perspective on the extraordinary aspects of everyday life. Whether it’s moving furniture through obstacle-filled homes, unpacking the belongings of mysterious occupants, organizing possessions to navigate relationships, or exploring the emotional depths of a sentient vacuum cleaner, these games unlock the hidden magic in the most ordinary of tasks, proving that even the mundane can be an extraordinary source of entertainment.