Discover the real-life origins behind some in-game items.
Hello! I’m one of the developers who made Unpacking, a game about taking someone’s items out of boxes and learning about that person’s life in the process. People often describe the game as feeling very personal, and we think it is, but personal can mean different things.
The items are personal to our main character, and let you learn about her and watch her develop over the course of the game. The items often have a personal connection to you, the player, as you encounter things that remind you of your own life or those people you know. And the items are personal to us, the developers, because part of making this game involved drawing on our own experiences and finding ways to add small details where we could.
The fun thing about this alarm clock is it’s blank until you find a valid place for it, then it’ll flash “12:00”. If you interact with the clock, you can set the time, which is the time in the stage—you’ll see it change along with the lighting outside the window as you unpack the remaining boxes.
If you move the clock again, the display goes blank, then goes back to blinking “12:00” when you set it down. Alarm clocks like this often use a battery backup so they don’t lose the time during short power outages, but I had one when I was younger and forgot to put a battery in it, so it behaved just like the one in game. Realism!
Dragon Plush Toy
When I was seventeen, I thought it would be a good idea to start a webcomic about a bunch of young dragons living in a forest. It ran for over five years and two thousand comic strips. While it never got particularly popular and it’s not online anymore, the characters remain near and dear to my heart, so it meant a lot that one of the main characters makes a cameo in Unpacking in plush toy form!
This set of colour pencils in a tin tray arrives alongside other art supplies, books and evidence of the protagonist’s blossoming pursuit of the visual arts, but for me they’re a reminder of a set of similar colour pencils I received when I was a kid.
I don’t remember exactly what age I was when I got them, I just remember they were my treasure and were labeled with something like “professional artist pencils” or something similarly grandiose that made me feel like I’d put kids colouring pencils behind me. I was in the big leagues now!
Climbing Shoes and Chalk Bag
A while back a friend introduced me to bouldering, and I found indoor rock climbing really fun and interesting until I injured myself! Still, I thought it was a great hobby for the protagonist of Unpacking to have picked up while she was studying, and it lent itself to some distinctive items—climbing shoes and the chalk bag. They’re particularly great because they’re readily recognisable to people who know what they are but end up feeling like mysterious oddities to everyone else.
Desktop Computer with CRT Monitor
Unpacking starts in 1997 and moves forwards through time, so you get to encounter wonderful moments like this level set in 2004 complete with a period-appropriate computer. Join us on a journey to the distant past where people still used cathode ray monitors without being a retro game enthusiast, and bought and used cool mouse mats. Marvel at the sound of PC fans spinning up and thrill to receiving an instant message from your friends.
So those are just some of the items that mean something special to me personally. I’m just part of the team though, and we pretty much all found ways to add something of ourselves to this game we made.
We wanted an experience that felt authentic because we thought that’d be the best way to draw you into the story we wanted to tell. There are so many details and connections throughout the game, and we hope you enjoy experiencing them yourself when our game comes out on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on May 10.
Thanks for reading!