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What makes organizing fun in video games?

Organizing is a real life chore, so why is it so fun to do in video games?

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Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

If you’ve ever taken the contents of a messy closet or desk drawer and sorted them into a pleasantly organized arrangement, I’ll bet you thought at least a little bit about the video game Tetris. This seminal puzzle game has lodged itself so thoroughly in our culture that just about everyone has organized something in their life by “Tetrising” it.

Tetris is far from the only puzzle game, let alone video game, to make organizing a central part of the experience. Video games are constantly giving us stuff to categorize, sort, and arrange. In real life, many of us consider these tasks a chore, but video games have the power to make even the messiest of us into virtual Marie Kondo’s. Whether it’s sorting our attache case’s in Resident Evil 4 or arranging our day in Stardew Valley, organizing in video games is a rewarding and even pleasurable mechanic. But it wasn’t until I played Wilmot’s Warehouse, a game entirely focused on organizing, that I decided to dive deeper into what makes this chore so much fun in video games.

In the video above, I looked into some of the psychology behind organizing and decluttering, spoke to organizing experts, and interviewed one of the minds behind Wilmot’s Warehouse. If you enjoy it, be sure to check out all our deep dives into video game mechanics on our YouTube channel.

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