As nice as it is to have a home in real life that is customized to fit a personal style, building that dream house can be a huge pain. Since it takes plenty of time and effort to design, decorate, find the right furniture, and build everything, the whole experience can be incredibly stressful, even without considering the possible financial issues.
Luckily, there are many mainstream and indie games that allow their players to work on their own virtual homes, which is much more fun and relaxing. Although they’re not real homes, it’s still satisfying to create that personal space in these games.
Receiving many awards after its release in late 2021, Unpacking is an excellent, chill puzzle game in which the player must unpack and place various items in different rooms. As the player interacts with the items, they slowly learn more about the character they are decorating the house for.
Each stage of the game takes place at different points in the character’s life, and the player will need to find places to fit all the necessary items in each small household room. While the house isn’t the player’s own, it grows to feel like their own space as they try to find a place for each item.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Released in 2018, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a sequel to the original Dragon Quest Builders, which is a sub-series of the popular JRPG franchise Dragon Quest. The game follows a customizable protagonist who teams up with an amnesiac character named Malroth, which is significant because one of the main villains of the previous game was named Malroth. Although the characters live in a world where people aren’t allowed to build or create anything, the protagonist, who specializes in building things, continues to build as they travel with Malroth and try to change the world.
Combing the typical action JRPG elements of the Dragon Quest series and the popular sandbox elements of Minecraft, this game is an extremely unique experience. After the story is over, the player can continue to build and develop their own land along with friends.
While the action-adventure sandbox game Terraria places more of an emphasis on fighting enemies, developing a class, and defeating bosses, the building aspect is still a significant and well-developed part of the experience. To get through the game, the player will need to at least build basic houses for the many NPCs and to also store the multitude of items gained during a playthrough.
But, the various types of blocks, tools, and decorative items available means that players can create beautiful and complex structures as well. Without even mentioning the extra options that are possible with mods, players can build villages, castles, tree houses, and more, which is why there are whole communities dedicated to building things in Terraria.
In the farming simulation RPG Stardew Valley, the player gains an abandoned farm from their recently deceased grandfather, which convinces the player to leave their soulless office job in the city for the rural Pelican Town. After choosing from one of the different farm types and clearing away the leftover debris, the player can make their farm in any way they want. Along with choosing where to place crops, they can also build sheds, barns, coops, ponds, and many other things.
This customization extends to the player’s own house on the farm, which starts off small but can be expanded later in the game. The base game has plenty pieces of furniture, decorations, wallpapers, and floorings to create a unique space, and there are also many mods that add even more possibilities.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Released in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the latest mainline entry in the Animal Crossing series, and it takes all the previous ideas in the franchise and perfects them. After purchasing a getaway package from Tom Nook, the customizable player character moves to a deserted island and is able to slowly develop the land in real time however they want. As they work on the island, anthropomorphic animals move into the growing community and new buildings are made, and different events occur depending on the current season in real life.
Since the game is non-linear with plenty of new content being added, the player is able to customize their home and island in many different ways. Because of this, each player’s island and home is unique and reflects the player’s personal identity.
Final Fantasy XIV
One of the most popular and successful modern MMORPGs is Final Fantasy XIV, which was originally released in 2013 as a replacement for the failed 2010 game of the same name. Since then, many expansions and updates have been made for the game, and the player base only continues to grow. Five years after the destruction caused by the dragon Bahamut at the end of the original game, the player character helps the fictional land of Eorzea rebuild and defend against enemies.
While housing is not a required part of the game, it’s still a popular aspect because of all the customization options and the added bonuses such as extra storage, vendors, crafting areas, gardens, Chocobo Stables, and more. Free Companies, which are like guilds, get a couple extra things in their estates that even personal housing doesn’t have. But, it’s extremely hard to get a house because it’s expensive, there are tons of players, and there is a limited amount of plots for housing.
The Ultima series is significant for several reasons. Along with other titles such as Wizardry, the Ultima series was one of the main pioneers of Western RPGs, and many modern WRPGs can trace their roots back to this iconic series. It also helped popularize the MMORPG genre with the 1997 title Ultima Online, which has continued to have plenty of expansions and a strong active player base.
Despite being a fairly old game, Ultima Online still has one of the best housing systems. Players can either buy a house or build their own, and these homes can either be custom made or pre-designed. Since the homes are built in-game, other players can easily visit and admire the houses. But, the best aspect of this game is that all items can be used as decoration in any way the player chooses, which gives an extreme amount of customizable options that no other game has achieved.
The Sims 4
While there are many different life simulator games, The Sims series is still one of the most popular and well-known life sims ever made. Although each of the main titles still hold up, the latest mainline game, The Sims 4, is the pinnacle of everything in the franchise so far. When the game released in 2014, it introduced better character customization, new personality mechanics, and other gameplay upgrades, and since then many updates and expansions have been made to it.
Along with everything else, the game also had an updated house building system. In the new Build mode, players can easily move parts of the house around and buy new items, and there are more building options.
Unlike most games which require the player to complete certain objectives to make progress, Minecraft is a completely open-ended game where players can choose to do whatever they want. While there are many things to do in the game, some of the most active and dedicated players are the ones that build detailed houses.
Using the many types of blocks and items in the game, players are able to make incredibly complex houses. Even with the cubic art style, some players make buildings that are so well made that they look real.
Released in 2018, House Flipper is a home renovation simulation game where the player renovates run-down homes and sells them for a profit. Players can either complete quests or simply buy houses to renovate, and the gameplay consists of completing mundane tasks such as cleaning and painting while fixing the house and then designing the interior of the fixed place.
Although the player will have to follow the specific design requests during quests, the player can also renovate and design their own place for themself. The design options are a bit limited, but there are many mods to add more variety.
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