Developer: Richard Pieterse
Launcher Quote: “For Hayley.
My relationship with cleaning is one of overwhelm. As I begin to tackle the mess, time stretches out and 2 minutes quickly feels like 2 hours. It may only takes 20 focused minutes to get it all ordered, but I struggle against a powerful sense of hopelessness and sabotage myself with distractions and distorted priorities.
It’s fairly topical right now to have a game like Richard’s that talks about cleaning, especially with all the Marie Kondo talk going around about turning to the minimalist KonMari method to make sure that you’re not overwhelmed with your own clutter and the things you inevitably acquire and keep during your lifetime. I also get and understand the anxiety that you can feel over trying to deal with a mess that’s intimidating and that you might not have the mental space to deal with the encroaching invasion that junk can have on your physical space, too.
It may not be as easy to clean things in real life as the game here makes it out to be, as you click things away into the ether and begin to organize the virtual room you’re given into orderly lines and areas, but there is a certain kind of satisfaction to cleaning, even if it does take some time to get it done. When you see everything set in their place and you’re no longer reaching through piles of stuff to get at what you want, it can feel not only pleasing but also a lot less stressful as well. Seeing results does that, which is why I appreciated that the last shot of the game that you’re given is a comparison between the mess from before and the clean room from after. It gives you a visual sense that what you did actually mattered and that the differences are stark as a result.
It can, however, take time to get used to the idea of cleaning, of having it click in your mind especially when you’re typically a messy person (or if you’re like me, someone who has to clean furiously lest the mess break like a dam over my head and bury me). On a more gamification level, needing to understand and then act to put things in an orderly fashion is the basis for a lot of games, especially those that rely on puzzle solving or moving objects or items in just the right way to progress (I’m looking at you, Tomb Raider 2013, Uncharted, and all the rest of you adventure type games from the last decade). It’s an age-old mechanic that provides the same level of satisfaction not only when the puzzle is figured out but when the pieces fall into place and you’re treated to a scene showing you as such. In that respect, these kinds of puzzles aren’t much different than cleaning a mess in your room on a not-so-lazy Sunday.