Skip to main content

Unpacking doesn't let me leave stuff on the floor and I feel personally attacked

To me, the floor is a shelf

A horde of boxes lie unpacked in a kitchen, in Unpacking.
Image credit: Humble Games

I'm not someone who usually likes little puzzles or point-and-click games as I'm far too impatient. I'd much rather solve the puzzle by battering it with my fist so the pieces go flying everywhere, or turn my pointer into a fist so I can batter the dialogue out of the dialogue box and watch the wizard's words spill onto the dirt like I've just shaken an open can of spaghettios.

Unpacking, a game where you click on items and shelve them nicely, has somehow tamed my urge to punch the boxes open. Except it's done one thing to personally attack me, and that's by not allowing me to unpack stuff and leave it on the floor. It's a fight I simply can't win.

I'm not very far into Unpacking but I think it's a really soothing time. I'm surprised by my hunger to pop the boxes open and place things where I think they should be. I like carefully placing little figurines on a windowsill, or thinking to myself, "hmmm, where would I have placed the poster if this was my room?". There's a real convenience to it, too, in the way each box is the houseware equivalent of a Hello Fresh delivery. They're filled with stuff and all the stuff is tailored to the rooms you've got to outfit, so the faff of interior design has been taken care of by the person I'm growing up with. I take it out, revel in the story it tells, then plop it somewhere.

The photo album menu in Unpacking, showing an unpacked living room with TV and bookshelf in a snapshot put in a photo album.

Often, "somewhere" is a bedside table or a desk. A little drawer that slides open, a modest shelf, on the awkward bit that's a bit too high so there's a risk you might knock some glasses over if you accidentally elbow something while reaching up. I think it's a neat touch when you unpack lots of little socks and you've got to place them on the floor in piles before you slot them into their wooden compartments. The game understands the in between periods of unpacking, where your stuff doesn't immediately slot somewhere the moment you take them out.

What I think Unpacking doesn't understand is people like me, who use the floor as one enormous shelf (not the same as a floordrobe). I fully understand the game wouldn't work if you could just chuck everything on the floor. I get it. I'd also like to say that day to day, I don't live in filth (only moderate filth), but I do use the carpet or the corner to just leave things. I have a yoga mat standing upright next to my little kitchen table, for example. To me, the yoga mat is unpacked. It exists in the yoga mat spot, which is on the floor next to the kitchen table, so I can unfurl it after some exercise and stretch my poor hammies. To shelve it in a dark space would mean the most minor of inconveniences, and I can't be having that, sorry. I also have a box on the floor filled with cables and a spare keyboard. To me? Unpacked.

Despite my misgivings, I'll continue with Unpacking because it's genuinely really good. Although I have to ask, is anyone with me? Are you a floor-packer? Am I alone in my views on the floor as one shelf?

Read this next