RWP Unpacking

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where players unpack and organize household items into a new living space, following a female protagonist as she progresses throughout different moves and homes in her life. I recently finished the game.

I think Unpacking is really cute! The actual core gameplay mechanic is usually something that I’m rather opposed to. I’ve never been the type to care too much about the exact distribution of objects and things and so I was surprised that I didn’t feel beleaguered and kept re-organizing things out of my own volition. The only times that I would be annoyed is when the game told me that my decisions for where things were supposed to go were wrong, but this is also one of the game’s tools in distributing its narrative. There isn’t a complete agency in how you unpack but there is a lot of freedom.

The game doesn’t use a traditional narrative structure. It tells a story through the items the protagonist chooses to keep over the years. Very explicitly this makes a lot of claims about the protagonists autonomy and the pressures she faces, whether they be societal expectations around family, career, or personal hobbies. It also makes claims about the pressures forced upon her, and by extension you the player, such as when you move in with an implied to be abusive boyfriend. The game restricts the locations of where certain items can go, although it gives you a lot of agency, but in that particular level, you can only put your college diploma out of sight under the bed or in the bathroom.


By living as the protagonist performing a mundane task, the game puts you into a position of high empathy. I actually sort of felt like I was snooping a bit during the game. Yes, I know it’s a video game, it isnt real, but moving and placing someone’s private property to my liking felt very personal. It’s almost like watching a little sibling grow up. It’s a short game which I think is right, because the core gameplay mechanic probably was nearing a plateau, but the ending was happy and the game settles off on a very cozy feeling right around schedule.



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  1. Hi Khaled,

    Your review of Unpacking really captures the essence of what makes the game so special. I agree that the meditative nature of organizing and unpacking items is unexpectedly engaging. It’s interesting how the game uses this simple mechanic to tell a deeper story about the protagonist’s life and the challenges she faces.

    The way Unpacking uses items to convey narrative and character development is truly unique. The moments when the game restricts your choices, like having to hide the college diploma, add a layer of storytelling that makes you feel the protagonist’s struggles and pressures. This subtle narrative technique allows players to connect with the character on a personal level, fostering empathy and understanding.

    I also found the sense of personal intrusion quite striking. Moving and placing someone’s belongings does feel intimate, almost like peeking into their life. It’s a clever way to make players feel more connected to the story and the character. The game’s ability to evoke such emotions through its gameplay is a testament to its thoughtful design.

    The short length of the game seems just right, as you mentioned. It ensures that the gameplay remains fresh and the narrative impactful without overstaying its welcome. The cozy and satisfying ending is a perfect conclusion to the journey, leaving players with a sense of warmth and completion.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Unpacking! Your review highlights the game’s strengths and its unique approach to storytelling through everyday activities.

  2. Hi Khaled! It’s very interesting to hear your thoughts on this game in the context of you being someone who doesn’t tend to care too much about where things go. I love your comment about the restricted item placements being a mode of storytelling– while I found some of those restrictions frustrating at first, you pointing this out is making me see it in a new light. The concept of environmental storytelling through modifications to the game rules themselves is fascinating, and now I kind of want to replay paying more attention to that aspect!

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