It's the dreaded fate that awaits all first-time apartment renters: Your new place needs to be filled up with stuff, but actual furnishings made of real materials like wood and metal cost as much as a season's supply of Maruchan Ramen Noodles. So, armed with nothing but pizza and a six-pack of beer, you purchase some ultra-cheap Scandinavian furnishings under the charmingly naive impression that "some assembly required" means just what it sounds like.
Then, you say goodbye to the next 12 hours of your life, your thumbs and your sanity.
Now all the fun of Ikea-style home assembly has been captured in the form of a new indie video game, Home Improvisation. Designed by Atlanta-area development team the Stork Burnt Down, Home Improvisation promises to offer the "world's most fun and accurate cooperative furniture assembly experience" (and allow players the chance to "descend into madness").
It's just like building your own furniture — except someone forgot to include the instruction manuals, leaving you to figure out what you're supposed to be constructing and how:
The process starts out pretty simple. The player simply rotates a series of components and attempts to align and insert the proper pegs into the right holes. But as the items of furniture become more complex, the whole exercise degenerates rapidly into a bizarre and rage-inducing comedy of errors that would make The Wire's Jimmy McNulty proud:
"There's no wrong way to play," the narrator of the promotional video intones. "Just so long as you never stop building furniture."
Home Improvisation was entered in this year's Global Game Jam competition and is dedicated to late organizer and SCAD Atlanta professor Toni Tseng, who passed away unexpectedly before the competition began. It boasts cooperative play for up to four people and is free to download for both PC and Mac, although players are encouraged to donate to Tseng's memorial fund.
Fans of Home Improvisation might also want to check out Besiege, a physics-based indie title available on Steam that challenges players to construct elaborate siege engines out of a pile of miscellaneous gears, pulleys and weapons. While it's a little bit more challenging than furniture, Besiege lets players build everything from poorly-designed trebuchets to this monstrous contraption:
Umm, instructions not included.