Day 37: Viscera Cleanup Detail


As someone with a tendency to over-analyze the media I enjoy, there have always been those stray questions living in the back of my mind, the odd barrier sitting in the way of my full disbelief. While I’ve long since given up asking why no one ever has to refuel or reload, Viscera Cleanup Detail recalls the most persistent of these questions, answering it in a blissfully mundane manner.

“Just who the hell is going to clean all of this up?”

I suppose it’s best to describe VCD as an anti-game, in that it quite literally asks you to undo the carnage you’d normally expect to inflict in a first person gorefest. There’s no “hook” or gimmick outside of the very deliberate and time-consuming task of mopping blood and disposing of body parts, urging one to likely see it as nothing more than an attempt at ironic humor, but there’s an odd sense of peace one gets from it, no different than the real life trance we can fall into productively cleaning our own homes with a pair of headphones on. Though there is certainly charm to playing air hockey with a crimson-soaked femur, it’s an equally satisfying feeling to make the smallest corner of the world look pristine again, so much so that you want to leave no space untouched, lest a stray bullet casing hide in the dark.

It seems odd to make a game that’s intentionally boring, but it somehow works. You come for the novelty but stay perhaps for the need to not leave the job unfinished. I spent over an hour cleaning a relatively small area today and don’t feel like my time was wasted. It seems to scratch the same itch that Cook, Serve, Delicious does in that it gamifies such an unglamorous task. The difference here, of course, is that VCD doesn’t bother grounding itself in any sort of reality, forgoing that frantic sense of urgency and not really caring to bog you down with the paperwork that would no doubt be a prerequisite to one being asked to mop around a torso.

I mean, I’m assuming, I’ve never been asked to, personally.

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