Housebroken: The Very Organized Thief

By Adam Smith on November 19th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

Invading someone’s home to steal all of their most precious possessions should be empowering but in The Organized Thief, a free first-person robbery sim, it’s utterly terrifying. The house is the same on every playthrough but the list of objects on the thief’s checklist aren’t always found in the same place. I just spent several frantic minutes running from room to room, leaving scattered pillows and cushions behind me, as I tried to find a toaster. As it happens, it was in the kitchen and I had already collected it but I was in a blind panic and had forgotten where toasters normally live. The owner of the house had arrived home while I was performing my pilfering, you see, and I was trapped upstairs, cut off from the exit. They found me in a closet, trembling. Why not see if you can be a better thief than me?

Originally built in seven days by Redefinition Games, The Very Organized Thief has been released for public consumption following the application of a spot of polish. It uses the small space of the house extremely well, encouraging exploration by means of the checklist and then transforming that same area into a trap once the car pulls into the drive.

There are plenty of interactive elements too. Most things can be picked up and lobbed across a room and I’m half tempted to leave all the loot behind and simply rearrange all of the furniture. Sadly, the blocky little lord of the manor doesn’t notice the disarray so the obsessively tidy creeping of my first visit was unnecessary.

A single attempt only takes around five minutes and there is replay value, but what I’d really like to see is a bulkier version. It feels like an excellent prototype and reminds me of playing with daft 3d home design software on my Amiga. Except with an added thief.

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27 Comments »

  1. Bloodoflamb says:

    I’m convinced that the mobile phone isn’t a real item.

    • age says:

      Who leaves the house without their mobile phone anyway? Luddites!

      • Grayman says:

        Has anyone checked the owner for it? Maybe she goes to sleep if the house is not noticibly disturbed leaving the phone on a dresser or in a charging location?

        I managed to get out in 2:34 without the owner going home in one run. I got lucky and didn’t have too many items I hadn’t found before on the list.

    • Grayman says:

      Contrary to my great theory I dialed in on one of the mobile phone locations.

  2. blobb says:

    That 5 minute demo is better than the entirety of Gone Home.

  3. Opiniomania says:

    I would sue the hell out of everyone using the holy word ‘Thief’ in the title of anything but Thief. Just seeing those five letters together in this order sends butterflies to my stomach!

    • Bugamn says:

      I would say that this game sounds like a better Thief game than the upcoming “Thief” game.

    • Hypnotron says:

      surely when you decide to pick a single word title you are partially responsible for the confusion that will ultimately arise when others start to use that words as part of their own product titles. You can’t own words.

      • Opiniomania says:

        You got that right! If I’ll ever make a game I’ll call it ‘Flabbergasted – The Exponentially Increasing Complexity of Living. Part One: The Befuddlement. :)

        • Hypnotron says:

          you have to make a game now. I don’t think you have any other choice really. You have set certain thingies within the Universe in motion.

          • Opiniomania says:

            The gameplay mechanics will revolve around two energy pools – life and confusion. The lower the confusion levels, the less life you have left, and when you’re out – boom, kaput. The incentive for the player is to proactively seek out confusing situations to stay alive.

            Now I just need to get Gabe Newell to set me up with a team and it’s a done deal. :)

  4. redredredguy says:

    I don’t think my heart has ever beat so fast in a stealth game. An impressive achievement.

    • Berzee says:

      Confirmed.
      I cut the power and turned off my flashlight to remain invisible, but this just caused me to run smack into that lady without seeing her. Wonky slapping animation is Very startling when it looms up out of the darkness. O_O

  5. SillyWizard says:

    This game is scary as balls. HOW DOES SHE KNOW WHERE I AM?!

  6. Professor Paul1290 says:

    This is pretty fun. I think it will be really nice if the developer finds the time or otherwise gets the opportunity to flesh this game out.

    I don’t know if anyone remembers this anymore, but we used to have this TV series on the Discovery Channel in the U.S. (I don’t know if they ever aired it elsewhere) called “It Takes a Thief” that ran from 2005 to 2007 (there’s an older TV series with the same name but this had nothing to do with that).

    You could probably go around the internet to find more specific details on this show, but to keep it short it was a show were that involved thief who would break into poorly secured homes while the family was away and steal as many valuables as possible to demonstrate the importance of home security.
    Obviously it’s rather questionable whether such a TV series was a good idea to have and I guess that may have contributed to it disappearing after a couple seasons, but it was one of those shows that I watched and thought “This could make an awesome game!”.

    It used to be one of my favorite TV shows because of all the interesting and unexpected challenges that come up for someone breaking into a home (admittedly that went against the point of the show).
    There’s so many things that a burglar would have to deal with that you often don’t think about much when you think about the possibility of a burglar breaking into your house.
    For example, the burglar has to make sure nobody is left in the house, as maybe there might be a child, grandparent, or other unemployed individual in the house during the work day. They have to somehow neutralize or otherwise remove cats, dogs, and other pets to make sure they do not interfere. The burglar would have to sort out what’s worth stealing and what would simply be dead weight as you can only carry so much crap. Even when they find what they want they have to get it out of the house and transport it somehow, which often involves finding and/or improvising containers from items already present in the house. Also, if the burglar arrived on foot they’d likely have to find some kind of transportation, perhaps by stealing the family car, as they would likely find more valuables than they could carry on foot. Even if they get all that “right” they’d have to worry about what to do if the owner came home from work early.

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be alone in thinking the above would make for an interesting game. Perhaps having a “burglar sim” would be rather controversial in a lot of ways, but I think you’d have plenty of material to make challenging and interesting gameplay.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    I didn’t feel like a thief, I felt like I was going into an ex-girlfriends house and getting my stuff back while she was out after a messy break up.

  8. perfectheat says:

    I’m still confused at why the game takes place at the Simpsons.

  9. Hanamigi says:

    Uhm… Sorry Mr. Smith, but I just now managed to get away with everything, valuing 300k or something, in around 8 minutes on my first try, getting a master thief rank…

    • David Shute says:

      Are you sure about 300K? I’ve got ‘master thief’ and ‘very organised thief.’ (Given the title of the game, I’m not sure which one is best.) But never got over 38K in loot.

      Really good game, my last run had me opening the safe as the owner unlocked the door, then sneaking past her into the garage – only realising at the exit door that I’d missed the kettle. So I crept back to the fuse box, cut the lights, waited for her to go upstairs then ransacked the kitchen. The perfect crime!

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