My Apartment

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A common early coding exercise is to simulate an environment one is closely familiar with; sometimes these coding exercises grow into games. Even when not actually trying to replicate their own homes, authors often fall into familiar environments.

Advantages

  • The environments are universally recognisable to the overwhelming majority of its audience; they may be more likely to empathise, to understand the workings of the environment, and so on.
  • Familiarity with the area, or the type of area, should enable more realistic and detailed implementation; all you have to do is observe.
  • Players' expectations of the genre are so thoroughly-established that they're easy to play on.

Disadvantages

  • Having established the situation, you absolutely have to do something interesting with it.
  • Familiarity apparently breeds contempt; players are likely to be bored of universally recognisable environments.
  • It is easy to take everything in a familiar environment for granted; consequently, this type of game is often blandly described and heavily underimplemented. There is a difference between 'universally recognisable' and 'painfully generic'.
  • Players' expectations of the genre are so thoroughly-established that they may give up on you before they realise you're subverting it.
  • The tone of mildly cynical observational humour characteristic of the genre gets old very fast.

Common Varieties

  • My Apartment / House
    • Often surrounded by a cookie-cutter suburban neighbourhood.
    • There will be a fully furnished, but ultimately useless, bathroom.
    • The fridge will contain two or fewer items.
    • The author's cat may make a cameo.
  • My Bedroom
    • Generally the bedroom of a teenager living at home, or a college student.
    • Almost always messy. Searching through the mess will probably be necessary. Look under the bed.
    • College in-jokes are all too likely.
  • My Awful Office
    • Coffee is likely to feature heavily, possibly as a plot motivator.
    • Your boss will invariably be a heartless ogre.