You’re probably familiar with r/oddlysatisfying—a subreddit of pleasantly arranged posts ranging from immaculate footprints in the snow to neatly interlocking floor tiles. Go and have a look and come back in six hours when you finally escape.
What follows, then, is an attempt to find similarly satisfying bits from the world of PC gaming. There are fewer semi-frozen puddles, more decapitations, and about the same number of oiled boards. Also: if there’s a game about semi-frozen puddles that exists and I missed it, please do let me know.
You don’t have to understand what’s happening in Opus Magnum to derive some satisfaction from the clean, rhythmic movement of whatever the hell is happening here. In fact, it’s probably best if you don’t think about the time and effort that went into creating this, and instead just enjoy the pleasing shapes. Look at them go! Fantastic.
This entire feature could be dedicated to House Flipper’s deeply enjoyable loop of before-and-after filth removal, but there are a few moments that stand out. Cleaning windows is immensely satisfying (so long as you don’t miss a spot) and there’s something about rolling out a layer of perfectly manicured turf that’s like chamomile tea for the soul.
We got three entries in without anything violent or specific, but now it’s time to look at an entry that will delight anyone who played Halo 3. If you didn’t know, Bulltrue is a badge awarded for killing an enemy player with the sword after they’ve started their usually-fatal lunge towards you. It’s easy enough with the shotgun equipped, but less so with a Battle Rifle, which makes this one especially nice.
Anyone who’s done much IRL demolition will know that smashing things to pieces, while fun, is often a more time-consuming and gruelling process than games would have us believe. But instead of thinking about that, let's enjoy this GIF of crates being smashed up like Easter Eggs. No vibration white finger here, lads. Wonderful.
Pac Man Championship Edition DX
Imagine scales played on an instrument that keep rising until they reach sounds the human ear shouldn’t be able to hear, transporting you to a whole new plane of existence. Well, that’s a bit like eating ghosts in Pac Man Championship Edition DX. And it’s great.
Alright. So maybe a GIF of a sad lost boy getting decapitated in a lonely forest might not immediately make you think, ‘this is precisely what I need to relax’. But there’s something about the clang of the metal jaws and the lolloping ‘plomp’ of chopped noggin that just feels… right. Admit it. You watched this more than once.
Now you’re desensitised to the sight of heads being removed, please enjoy this perfectly synchronised gif of two zombies being decapitated like an undead dance act. This is especially for anyone who spent the first five hours of Dying Light battering walkers with pipes, sticks, toasters, table legs, and whatever other ineffectual blunt tools you were able to lay your hands upon.
And, as a bonus, switches! Mmmmm.
For many of us, Woodworking Simulator is one of those games that’s only satisfying when other people do it. The bird box I made, for example, is the thing sparrow mums use to frighten their chicks when they don’t eat their worms. But done properly, it’s almost as satisfying as the real thing.
We’ll have none of that 'beating Ornstein and Smough' piffle here. No. The most satisfying thing in Dark Souls is rolling through a sweet ass pile of crumbly barrels. And best of all, they don’t fight back (unless you count the flaming ones that bounce down flights of stairs, which we don’t).
Resident Evil 4
The inventory system in most Resident Evil games can be a cause for constant, gnawing unease. Resi 4, however, strikes exactly the right balance between limiting what you can carry and making a game of trying to pack everything in neatly like a regency gentleman’s butler. 'No, Fitzwilliam! The shotgun goes on top of the grenades.' The ASMR of ammunition arrangement.
And to finish up, here’s an absurdly satisfying cloth tearing simulation (opens in new tab). It’s not a gif and it’s not from a game, but by God it should be. I’m just not sure what type of game.