David Byrne considers IKEA as a video game

David Byrne just took his first-ever trip to IKEA and came back with this neat little analogy:
IKEA is huge. We went up to the second floor where the shelves, sofas, tables and lamps are all arrayed into tasteful little room settings – rooms, but with mysterious tags hanging everywhere. Immediately I thought it was like entering a videogame world. Who lives here? What do they do? Why is that book on the table? Is that significant? Could it be some kind of clue to the occupant’s identity?...

One soon realizes that one of the goals of this “game” is to decide which cabinets, in which wood or wood-like material, would, could or should be combined with which counter materials, and then to match them to a particular style sofa and upholstery, and finally, to select the color and texture of floor material that would coordinate best with all the above.

There are free measuring tapes available to help you, dotted lines are painted on the floors (to help determine square footage), and personnel hover at computers waiting to guide you through the whole mix and match system – game spoilers, one might say.

Link (Thanks, Marilyn!)

See also: If IKEA was a video game

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  1. You may say to yourself “This is not my KONSUL!”

    You may ask yourself “My God, where is my allen key?”

  2. Absolutely brilliant observation from DB, one of those “yes!” moments. And it’s just great that the game analogy stands up right through the IKEA process – including I guess getting the stuff back home and having to figure out a series of strange graphic signs to get to the next level…

  3. >>Who lives here? What do they do? Why is that book on the table? Is that significant? Could it be some kind of clue to the occupant’s identity?

    I know someone who worked at Ikea as a decorator/set designer. She said they have to write a little storybook to go with each sample room it, describing the person living in it, such as “15 year old, likes computers, reads BoingBoing” or “Single mom, age 32, 1 kid”. They then build the room around that for more realism, also providing other designers with info for future work.

  4. I guess that makes those sneaky little cut-throughs ‘skip a level’ cheats..

    anyone found any easter eggs?

  5. I found this easter egg:

    If you jump up and down on one of the beds (in any level) you can make an Ikea Worker come running across and you get booted out of the game. Kinda sucks.

  6. I’ve always thought IKEA stores would make for great first person shooters. It’s an old level designer’s trick to make the player weave through many turns and corridors to trick him into believing the level is anything other than a huge cube with walls in it.

    If you’re itching to blast something familiar be very sure to check out City 7 – a George Brown College project where talented students have turned many familiar Toronto locales (such as the subway system, Mel Lastman Square, and Dundas and Bay) into dystopian nightmares you can perforate real good!

  7. I’ve always thought IKEA stores would make for great first person shooters. It’s an old level designer’s trick to make the player weave through many turns and corridors to trick him into believing the level is anything other than a huge cube with walls in it.

    If you’re itching to blast something familiar be very sure to check out City 7 – a George Brown College project where talented students have turned many familiar Toronto locales (such as the subway system, Mel Lastman Square, and Dundas and Bay) into dystopian nightmares you can perforate real good!

    http://torontoist.com/2007/11/city_7_toronto.php

  8. Oh, David Byrne, your completely alien observations about the human world make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. <3

    What a smart weirdo.

  9. “One soon realizes that one of the goals of this “game” is to decide which cabinets, in which wood or wood-like material, would, could or should be combined with which counter materials, and then to match them to a particular style sofa and upholstery, and finally, to select the color and texture of floor material that would coordinate best with all the above.”

    Heh… And that’s a videogame-like task? Here are some other things that are like videogames then:

    – Hiking in the woods
    – The DMV
    – Returning a book to the library
    – Watching TV
    – Walking the dog
    – Oh, and in addition to IKEA, every other store ever

    If calling any series of enumerable “tasks” with “goals” and obstacles a “videogame” is a brilliant observation, well, I can supply you with plenty of brilliant material.

  10. Right On…David Byrne is hardly the first person to make up weird real-life video games. I love David Byrne’s work as much as anybody, but come on, people, it doesn’t mean his every last insight is profound…

  11. Guesstimate Jones, it’s profound to them. Are they right? You’d have to talk to them to find out.

    I want a game where you drive in NYC. There’s a lot of room for complex play there. Then, if you accumulate enough points, you get to escape to Elizabeth NJ, visit the IKEA, play the furniture game, and have meatballs with lingonberry relish.

  12. My favorite “game” is McDonald’s Fast Food Drive-Thru: It challenges the player to build communication skills by ordering breakfast over a faulty intercom from somebody who speaks a foreign language…

  13. Video game? or just “rats in a maze”? My first time there I didn’t realize that once I went up the escalator, I couldn’t go back– BOTH escalators went UP!? I had to weave through the damn (crowded) place until I found a way out, lotsa dead ends, stairs down that lead to closed off areas with only fire exits. Ridiculous.

  14. Who lives here? What do they do? Why is that book on the table? Is that significant? Could it be some kind of clue to the occupant’s identity?

    Have we come full-circle, Mr. Byrne?

    This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. Well, how did I get here?

  15. In a world short on idols for people like me, David Byrne is a boon. He is a musician, an artist, an author, a geek – a modern-day polymath, a true creator in an age that deifies destruction.

    His every insight isn’t profound, but his insights have a high rate of profundity. That’s enough for me.

  16. I like the part in WORLD ONE: PARKING LOT where the walkthru reminds you that “Every person you run down in this world is one less you’ll have to deal with in future levels, so never miss an opportunity for carnage!”
    Or this tip, from WORLD TWO: SHOWROOM–“As you enter the main area, you will see an EKHARD oiled solid-oak dining sideboard. Quickly kick it apart to acquire the TABLE LEG WITH NAIL.”
    http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/how_to/the_nonexpert_ikea.php

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