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Solve First World Problems Cooperatively in Home Improvisation

by Eric Frederiksen | February 5, 2015February 5, 2015 9:30 pm PDT

Whether you shipped off to college for the first time this fall, got your first apartment, or are maybe trying to fill out a house without breaking the bank, you’re probably familiar with a certain Swedish furniture retailer and its stylish, yet surprisingly affordable do-it-yourself furniture.

Most of us either look at that DIY aspect as either a punishment for cheaping out on furniture or as a challenge to overcome.

Game developer StorkBurntDown, however, sees it as inspiration for a game: Home Improvisation.

Home Improvisation was built by the team of four in just 48 hours at the Atlanta location for the recent Global Game Jam 2015.

You and up to three of your friends, using a mouse and keyboard or Xbox 360 controllers, are tasked with assembling something resembling the aforementioned well-known Swedish retailer’s creations. The only problem is, those crucial, language-agnostic instructions we’re so used to have gone missing. We don’t have time to go back to the store, either, so we’re going to have to make do. Did you get a look at the box? Someone went and threw it out right as soon as we got the parts on the floor.

That furniture is one of the few times where real life feels like a video game. Instead of buying a piece of furniture, we buy a puzzle. It comes with a walkthrough, and when we’ve completed it, we get a new thing to put drinks or books on as a reward. The missing instructions and box art in Home Improvisation bring the puzzle element to the forefront, turning a pretty mundane activity into something that requires a lot of careful examination. It’s not so obvious in the first puzzle, but by the third you’ll see what I mean.

This game was created at a game jam, though, so it’s in a very early state. There are three pieces of furniture to build total, no way to rate how good of a job you did (I give myself a D), and no real structure to the game. In fact, I’m not even sure this game would be able to be sold without that Swedish retailer taking legal action. If StorkBurntDown continues to work on it, though, there’s a lot of room for interesting elements.

The game is already multiplayer, but adding timed challenges could be fun. An online multiplayer mode could have one person trying to describe from instructions how to put the item together while the other person tries to follow those instructions. I sincerely hope the team is able (and willing) to continue development on this unique, entertaining project. I can’t wait to put more furniture together. That room’s Feng Shui is terrible.

The best part is that, at the link below, you can download the skeleton of the game for free and put together the lamp and tables included.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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