Developers have long had no limits on the topics they want to tackle. If design is part of a Sims or Animal Crossing player’s daily life, Unpacking makes it the engine of a unique and moving experience.
The principle ofUnpacking It is simple. The Australian game of Witch Beam invites us on several occasions to empty boxes to fill a house that we take possession of. In short, a game of in and out. Sort, decorate, according to the assigned space, variable. We do Tetris with our things. There is something funny about the idea. Especially because, unlike reality, it does not require any effort. Just a cursor to move and a few clicks.
From there, one could expect a challenge that requires observation and speed. Maybe even annotations and combos signaled by flashy emanations that take up half the screen. Or even a level editor that vicious spirits would manipulate to undermine the Marie Kondo that lies dormant, sometimes very deep, in us. How about a jury to determine if you are an orderly person or not? Forget everything. The eight unpacked for living serve another purpose. It’s certainly not the one that stresses you out or puts pressure on you.
It is a success
It all started in 1997, in a small room. A mezzanine bed with an integrated desk, a chest of drawers and three drawers for emptying. Isometric view, point and click manipulations. Nothing complicated in perspective. We open. A Tamagotchi, figurines, a piggy bank, books, a backpack, board games, a journal, a Game Boy, a London bus, or even a host of coloring paraphernalia all come out messy. It is our universe, the marker of our centers of interest. We can easily guess certain characteristics and passions of the character that we “embody”. Invisible and silent. Or almost.
A snapshot of the completed “level” provides a comment, a hint. It is also proof that there is more than just a series of riddles. More than little stickers to unlock when encountering certain secondary interactions. Well, there is always a playful aspect and rules that can make you sigh: you think you have completed the circle, but some gadgets go in one place and not another, and do not imagine putting them vertically, the location is framed. , much worse for fantasy. Still, if you unpack and fill furniture and shelves over and over again for about 3 hours, it will be the testimony of a lifetime.
Emotion in motion
Years go by, accommodations change. The small bedroom gives way to something bigger, more equipped, older. Or even already busy. The boxes are multiplying, they are scattered throughout all the rooms and are filled with more treasures. And the objects that we collect, like those that we no longer find, speak to us. All very well represented and legible thanks to a fabulous work of Pixel Art, they allow us to deduce the age of our avatar, his situation, his aspirations, to know if his dreams come true. A toothbrush for a single jar, a photo, magnets, spiral notebooks, souvenirs from different cities, very light book covers, makeup bag, boots, diplomas … they are easily understood.
And it is possible to move by falling on one of them, especially since we never know in advance the draw. Or on a cracked wall. The existence told in each new place and everything is made of hopes, loves, successes, challenges, failures, resignations, renewals. And it can resonate with all gamers in adulthood. It is the strength ofUnpacking : manages to tell us a story capable of moving us with very little. By suggesting that we think about our personal path.
As if we were digging into our own memory. Don’t be surprised that it stirs up certain memories and that the music composed by Jeff van Dyck, so subtly in keeping with the periods traversed, adds a layer of it. You can count on other details, like the weather sometimes seeping through the windows, to affect your mood.
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.