We’ve all been where Stephen Lavelle is going with his latest video game. And that’s standing in our kitchen, something’s smoldering in the oven, trying to get a fucking potholder out of the drawer except a pair of salad tongs won’t let us.
That is the premise of Drawer Simulator (h/t Digg), a browser-based Unity game that reminds you your kitchen drawers are just as much a real-life physics puzzle as loading your dishwasher is a game of Tetris. In Drawer Simulator, your job is to jiggle, jangle, slip, slide, shove, push it, pull it, do what to it to get that damn drawer open.
It usually comes free after a minute or two. Try waggling the thing side to side and then once you’ve got some daylight, give it a couple of hard pulls back and watch it all fly out. Drawer Simulator features a potato masher, salad tongs, a spatula and a soup ladle, all of which belong in some kind of canister beside the range, not in a drawer. But, lazy idiots that we are, we stuck them in the drawer, where they autonomously repositioned themselves to catch, snag and jam the drawer shut.
Apparently, the object is to pull the drawer all the way out of the cabinet and spill the contents on the floor, because only that gives you the “Congratulations you did it!/Gluckwunsch! Du hast es geschafft!” victory message. I kept trying to leave the drawer open but still in its track, because I’ve pulled two drawers out IRL, shortly after moving into my home seven years ago, and I’ve never properly re-seated them.
Lavelle has made a name for himself in both short-lived experiences and teeth-gritting puzzle games like this one. He’s the Stephen behind Stephen’s Sausage Roll, a bizarre and brutal puzzle game that luminaries like Jonathan Blow and Bennett Foddy (creator of QWOP) have praised as “the Dark Souls of puzzle games.”
Lavelle has more than 350 games on his website, 160 of them for browsers. Drawer Simulator was his most recent new launch, coming Jan. 30. (At the end of 2014, Guinness World Records named him the “most prolific independent game developer,” for a catalog spanning 178 games dating back to 2008.) His 2012 game English Country Tune was a finalist for Excellence in Design at the Independent Games Festival Awards (an award taken by Spelunky.)