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Games and dolls’ houses are an interesting mix

It must be Animal Crossing, but for some reason I’ve spent a lot of the last week thinking of video games in relation to dolls’ houses.

Animal Crossing is very dolls’ housey, of course: to a lot of people the game is really about collecting furniture and arranging it just so, and then about making sure the whole place is populated with the right people. The shock of Animal Crossing back when it first came out was how domestic it all was. Here was a game with no guns and no winning, but it had armchairs and throw rugs and one of the best things that could happen to you was earning enough money to put another floor in.

It worked, didn’t it? This week I’ve also been playing Moving Out, which is kind of like dolls’ houses in their more seismic moments. This is a removals game in which you have to clear locations of stuff and get it on your truck as quickly as possible. It could very easily have been dressed up as a burglary game, but by making it a game about removals there’s an extra frisson – a dolls’ house frisson – in that this domestic stuff you’re lugging about should really be staying in one piece.

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