A little Dexter with a lot of Winston Wolf.
Musicians play scales and painters clean brushes. Apparently, serial cleaners like to mop up murder scenes. Think back to the memorable character, Winston Wolf, who played “The Cleaner” in the movie, Pulp Fiction. Everyone who saw the movie remembers The Cleaner. More recently, one must admire the skills of the crime scene cleaning team on Scandal, or of the multi-tasking lawyers on How to Get Away With Murder. Up until now, it’s an interesting premise that you’ve probably not heard before in a video game: try to clean up a murder scene while not being detected by bystanders and the authorities. Ah yes, a stealth cleaning game.
For some reason, gamers love to play games about the mundane. I perhaps first realized this during my first play through of Heavy Rain. Several years of toiling away at Harvest Moon and overstocking my acorn supplies in Don’t Starve should have offered me a clue, though. There is something addictive about the mundane, I suppose.
Similar titles like Viscera Cleanup Detail have carried the same mundane, if not noticeably morbid idea, although it seems like Serial Cleaner takes this up a notch with a top down element reminiscent of Hotline Miami. But since your job will be to clean up murders, not commit them, it’s like Serial Cleaner will play almost exactly like Party hard, as you tediously hide behind corners cleaning up bloodstains instead of causing them.
Apparently, the levels featured in the game will be modeled after actual crime scenes from the 1970s. Whether that means you’ll be walking into a recreation of the last scene from Taxi is hard to tell. We sure hope they don’t mean actual murder scenes. That would be very disturbing and probably unethical.
We may be only a few games away from the dreaded new genre: Chore Simulator. Yes, this genre already totally exists and has been well innovated already by the Sims, I Am Bread, and just about every other “game” that requires you to surrender to the repetition of remedial tasks, but something about Serial Cleaner feels like we may soon be moving into a new sub-genre too: Stealth Chore Simulator, or SCS.
It’s not hard to imagine what could come after a game like Serial Cleaner. Infiltrate neighborhood homes to replace smoke detectors. File taxes at the bank while posing as a distant cousin with an elaborate backstory. Steal outdated canned goods from restaurant pantries and replace them with farm-fresh organics. Wait a minute…we have surgeon simulator, barber simulator, and a goat simulator…why not a dentist simulator. Fireman simulator. I’ll stop now.