Like any entertainment media, video games have boom and bust cycles for games centered around a certain theme. For a few years it was zombies, next year it’s going to be space horror games, but right now it’s something no trend predictor could have foreseen: chores. The menial, mundane tasks that define much of our daily lives are now available in highly pixelated form. Mega hit games like The Sims and Animal Crossing have had us doing daily housework for years. Tend your crops, wash those dishes, clean up the pee from your toddler/pet/desperate man you trapped in a tiny room with no doors or windows. But there are games that do away with the fig leaf of narrative and just let us live out our fantasies of doing a hard day's work.

FuturLab

Get that horse clean with your customized washer.

Stemming from the popularity of power washing TikToks, PowerWash Simulator has taken Steam charts by storm. Developed by FuturLab and published by none other than Square Enix, this game has over TWENTY THOUSAND reviews on Steam. The majority of them reaching the “overwhelmingly positive” mark. Developers who have put years into carefully crafting worlds and designing intricate plots are probably feeling pretty foolish right now. The satisfaction that comes from transforming something grungy and dull into something sparkling clean cannot be underestimated.

Another tedious task turned into an addictive game is Unpacking. This is “a zen puzzle game about unpacking a life”. It’s a charming, pixelated puzzler where you gradually uncover a character’s story through their possessions. Moving homes, their life changes across the years, leaving you to discover why they chose to bring some things along and leave others behind. Developer Witch Beam has been roundly praised for crafting such an enjoyable and deceptively simple game, which turns a loathsome task into a fascinating journey.

Witch Beam

So calming and gorgeous, it's the perfect game to zone out to after a hard day of doing actual chores.

Zenning out is nice, but if you’re craving more frenetic gameplay, check out the 2018 title Overcooked 2. This game supports couch co-op and online multiplayer and is as gamers occasionally say “very, very sweaty.” It’s frantic, it’s adorable, it’s about animal chefs working together to cook a meal good enough it’ll save the world. So chop chop! You’ve got some gaming to do.   

For some decidedly less simple gaming: read about the trippiest quests here!

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