Looking at places to live in games, it would be easy for the most magnificent, pompous and elegant palaces and castles to dominate any appreciation. But there is plenty of room to appreciate those residences that are tucked away, perhaps underrated, that are not major hubs or destinations and that are only subtle intrusions. Some draw a curious sense of attachment from players, eliciting a sense of pseudo-topophilia - a close relationship with a virtual land or place. The resulting effect is sometimes enough to cause the sentiment: if this place were real, I would live there.
Seeing as it's fresh from winning the Best Game award at this year's Baftas, we thought it might be a nice moment to return to What Remains of Edith Finch and take another look at a few of the things that make it so very special.
You've read Eurogamer's games of 2017 list, but how did we settle on the top 10? A mixture of science and alcohol, it turns out.
Editor's note: As you may guess, there are spoilers for What Remains of Edith Finch ahead. Read at your peril.
What Remains of Edith Finch, a surreal anthology of short stories centred around an eccentric, uniquely unlucky family, was borne underwater. Creative director Ian Dallas, best known for the whimsical PS3 curio The Unfinished Swan, previously told us that this follow-up effort was inspired by a scuba diving excursion.
I half remember a brilliant review from the old, old days - which in games probably means it was around ten years ago at most. This review was for a shooter sequel of some kind, back in that period when designers were starting to experiment with putting physics objects into their games for the first time. The shooting was fine in this particular game, the review stated, but the environment was a problem. All those physics objects, those parts of the background of games which were suddenly, emphatically, promoted to being parts of the foreground. They got underfoot. They got in the way. They turned a John Woo ballet into a prolonged Laurel and Hardy pratfall. I wish I could remember the game, but in truth, the date alone would do. The date that games first encountered things - properly encountered them - and then discovered that games and things had to coexist.
There are a lot of books in the Finch mansion. Books on the shelves. Books on the floors. Books on chairs. Books over doors. If you find your way into the kitchen - if you find it by fighting your way past stacks of books, naturally - you'll find that there are books all over the kitchen, too. I don't remember checking the sink, but there are books everywhere else, piled on work tops and spread over counters.
SPOILER ALERT! This article mentions key plot points in What Remains of Edith Finch, and I'd hate to ruin anything for you. Don't read on until you've finished a playthrough.
What Remains of Edith Finch, the upcoming title by The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow, is about a young woman exploring her family abode. It's a strange ramshackle concoction predicated on one ludicrous notion: that once a family member dies their room shall remain forever untouched. Naturally this leads to diminishing real estate opportunities, but the Finch lot is nothing if not resourceful, continually building new additions to this most haunted of tombs.