Many things are easy in games that I struggle with in reality. A light jog. Climbing ladders. Carrying stuff (my limit’s an eight pack of Pepsi Max Cherry, let alone five axes and a wheel of cheese). But House Flipper, a first-person handyman ‘em up and current chart champion, is based on my bete noire: keeping a house clean and healthy. I stink at cleaning my house. And now my house stinks. So what better way to test the accuracy of House Flipper’s simulation than comparing its virtual dumps to mine?
My findings? House Flipper’s homes are a parody of a dirty house. For every realistic pool of floor filth there’s a tomatoey smear on the side of the bedroom furniture. Maybe I’m an innocent and am missing something, but no reasonable person brings a tomato into the bedroom. I also take issue with the way the game undersells the difficulty of fitting a radiator and sink. When mopping is harder than plumbing (because you can’t find that last atom of dirt), your sim credentials look pretty shaky.
What I do like is the gamification of cleaning – something that could easily benefit my real-life domestic routines. Knowing that there’s 5% of the room left to clean turns it into a hidden object-style scavenger hunt. It pitches the battle as you versus the dirt, where actual cleaning is often framed as you versus the shame of living in a tip. It also helps that you magic away rubbish with a mouse click. If the game replicated the horror of queuing at the recycling centre on a Saturday morning, I’m not sure it would be at number four in the Steam charts right now.
All these thoughts and more await you in the exciting video above. It also includes scenes of me hiding my giant face in people’s bedrooms, which isn’t something that happens on Changing Rooms. Please do watch it and if you enjoyed it, why not sign up for the RPS YouTube channel for more of this kind of thing? And if you want to clean your own pretend house, House Flipper is out now on Steam.