For the prompt “reversal” I created a concept for a first person adventure game. Everything takes place inside a bedroom. Doing chores triggers memories and leads the player down a rabbit hole of decluttering. Who knows what you’ll unearth when cleaning out your closet?
2023 // game concept, Blender & Photoshop // 3 weeks
Every Saturday I do a thorough clean of my room to prepare myself for the next week. It gives me time to decompress and reflect on the past week while having something to do with my hands. For me this weekly clean is reversing not only my room but also myself to their original state. I wanted to base a game on this habit.
Room reset is a first person cleaning simulator/adventure game. The main part of the game is cleaning and the way to "win" the game is to finish cleaning your room. Certain objects in the game will trigger a surreal mini level. These levels differ from the main game in style and theme.
The mini levels are loosely based on a cleaning action and a topic I think about while cleaning. I wanted to explore the rest of the house in this sense without adding it to the actual cleaning portion.
A - bathroom, cleaning reflective surfaces, focus
B - kitchen, defrosting the fridge, rage
C - laundry room, sorting the garbage, daydreaming
While there are multiple triggers, only the first one interacted with will start the mini game. The objects are also spaced out or covered as to not trigger all three games in immediate succession and allow time to experience the actual cleaning.
The whole feel of the game should be relaxed and methodical. The mini levels are meant to be more of an interactive experience than a question of skill. The cleaning portion will be more mechanic heavy.
The aim of the game is to make it to bed while navigating through a blurry world. Through clicking and dragging you can fix the motion blur and move on to the next area until you reach your bed.
The blur emulates the nausea you feel while drunk and symbolizes a sort of brain fog. My room is usually at its worst when I lose track of time and the days start to blur together so I wanted to depict that feeling.
The triggers reflect a night out.
The aim of the game is navigate through an icy world while armed with a heat gun. You are following the voice of someone that is depicted as a distant signal and have to melt obstacles to find the source.
The emotion I wanted to depict in this mini level was reconnecting with someone after a fight. Interpersonal relationships and how I interact with others in general is something I think about a lot when my mind starts to drift.
The triggers reflect a disagreement or just general frustration.
The last mini game is a few short black and white puzzles, where you have to connect pieces to find your way out of a fragmented house.
While cleaning I sometimes think about parallel universe versions of myself and how choices I've made could have snowballed into an entirely different version of my current reality. What if I hadn't missed that train? What if we had dogs growing up instead of cats? - The house is an accumulation of these small moments.
The triggers here are less universal as some of the objects depict "what ifs" from my own life.
Often times when I am nervous about something or want to delay having to do it, I clean my room. So the first thing I did for this project was exactly that.
I filmed a short timelapse and took some photos of my room in different levels of disarray to use as reference. I wrote down some of the thoughts I had while cleaning. The image on the left is a drawing mindmap.
At first my ideas for reversal leaned more towards relationships & people but shortly after beginning I made the switch to the topic of cleaning. I still wanted to implement some of the themes from my first approach, so I began to ask my friends & family what cleaning meant to them. The responses were mostly positive. Cleaning was seen as a net good even if used to distract from other things in life.
After collecting some input, I set off trying to recreate my own room in different styles. I decided on a more realistic depiction because I want the player to feel a similar sense of satisfaction as actually cleaning a room and I think the style makes that goal more approachable.
While working on the look of the game, I started planning the content. I knew I wanted to have a core game of cleaning and a subset of more abstract mini games to break the monotonous feeling and avoid making the game into a chore.
After laying out some basic ideas in my sketchbook, I switched to digital, made the concept art you see at the top of this page and wrote out the explanations of said levels.