Results From Game Design Challenge: Throw It Out!

By Danny Cowan [02.26.19]

With the release of Netflix's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, there's been a lot of discussion about reducing clutter and throwing out unnecessary belongings. While games about gathering and managing resources are plentiful, there are few that focus on cleaning out inventories. In fact, many games put a strong focus on hoarding as many items as you can. But what if they didn't?

For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, our readers designed games about reducing clutter and getting rid of in-game inventory items. Here are our top picks!

Best Entries

NJIKI.T Eddy Alain, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Aide-de-camp (see page 2)

Logan Brenner, Student at University of Montevallo, Stockpile (see page 3)

HUE Lorène, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Nuclear Wastes (see page 4)

Alexander Hansen, Student at River Valley High School, Blast Off! (see page 5)

Guillaume Schnebelen, Game and Sound Design Student at the Master HIC-MAJIC in Cannes, France, Leave it to Time (see page 6)

Renan Yamao, Game Design Student at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Cooking is Relaxing (see page 7)

Cole Hopkins, Unaffiliated, Thrown Away DNA (see page 8)

NJIKI.T Eddy Alain, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Aide-de-camp


"Aide-de-camp" is a 2D puzzle game with a textual aspect.


You play a squire who works for a treasure hunter who tends to hoard everything he finds in is inventory. You will have to rid his stash of unnecessary items to make enough space to store the treasure he will pick up on his next mission while leaving him with as much useful gear as possible to help him survive his journey.


1-The preparation:

The squire gets a look at the hunter's inventory and all it contains (items collected during the previous mission). He must remove as many objects as possible to make room for the precious loot that the treasure hunter will pick up during his next mission. Each type of object (food, water, sword, shield, healing potion ...) takes a different size in the inventory. When the squire has finished stowing away any item he considers superfluous for his master's next mission and has freed enough space for the next journey, the treasure hunter takes the road.

2-The Journey:

The treasure hunter sets out to get the treasure, he will encounter obstacles and difficulties, to overcome them he will use the objects he has at his disposal in his stash. If he is in need of an object he does not have, he is unable to continue his journey and the mission is considered a failure. If he has all the items he needs, he gets to the treasure and returns safe and sound with a new inventory ready to be emptied for his next missions !

Logan Brenner, Student at University of Montevallo, Stockpile

Stockpile is an inventory management card game where players take turns drawing from a deck and working together through trading and stealing with one another to complete special employee goals.

The game takes place in the Jackal-Mart storeroom, you (the employee) have been tasked to organize and clean out the stores inventory. Work by yourself or with fellow coworkers to organize the messy store room back into piles and discard the waste.

At the beginning of play each player will draw a special objective card, each objective card gives the employee a special task to win, ranging from having exactly five of each item in stock or being the slacker, who ensures as much waste as possible.

There are six different item cards, with nine cards of each item, that players can draw from. They must work to organize the deck and to complete their special objectives by taking turns, either, drawing from the deck, placing an item on the shelf or trading with other players to organize the shelves.

In the deck are also eight event cards that are shuffled in randomly, such as, the shelf leg breaks and knocks over the stock, reshuffle all cards in the deck and start again. Players win by being the first to complete their special task and clocking out before the others finish. 

HUE Lorène, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Nuclear Wastes

Nuclear Wastes is a management game in low poly 3D.

You play as the director of a private nuclear power plant, and you have to manage the facilities and manage of the radioactive waste that accumulates in the storage centers of the plant.


1. Radioactive Wastes: Nuclear waste is produced by the nuclear power plant. They are classified according to two criteria.

2. Management of the different categories of waste: Nuclear waste necessitates treatment, followed by a long-term management strategy involving storage, disposal or transformation of the waste into a non-toxic form.

The player decides himself or store each type of radioactive waste, whether or not complying with the safety rules.

Each storage has a limited slot number, once full, the player will have to expand the storage to store new wastes.

Barrels storing radioactive waste can randomly spoil and leak. The player will have to repair the barrels, otherwise they will contaminate the surroundings.

The space in the storage of the power plant is free and limited. But he must never be full! If the basic storage of the Power Plant is full, the power plant stops working. (see Game Over)

3. In Game Time:

The time involved is fast. Each day in play is equivalent to a few minutes outside.

Time goes into play in terms of days, weeks and years.

Every day the nuclear power plant produces waste to manage, and gain money.

4. Money:

5. Game Over:

  1. If the storage of the nuclear power plant is full, the plant will have to stop working. If the central stops, the director is fired, and has game over!

  2. If improperly stored radioactive waste contaminates surface lands, resulting in the closure of the nuclear power plant, the director is fired, game over !

Alexander Hansen, Student at River Valley High School, Blast Off!

My idea for a game about a spaceship launching into space, but the twist is that the rocket is too heavy and can't properly take off. So you the player in a first person point of view must grab objects from the rocket that you think to be unnecessary for your mission to space. Seems easy so far but you can't get rid of everything some parts are vital for your mission such as food and parts that keep the spaceship flying and you alive.

Bigger objects will weigh more but they may be more important to the mission so you have to decide whether you need it or not. The game will allow you to throw out almost every part of the ship, so you may throw out almost useless items like a comb or something a little more important such as rocket fuel or a motherboard, so be careful what you pick up and throw away.

You will be timed as you you need to be light enough to break the atmosphere and get into space but if the time runs out your rocket will fail and crash back to earth. Each level will be randomly generated to add more tension as you will never know where each disposable object is, how much it weighs, and how important it is, in example one play through might have a ten pound bag of space food while another may have 20 pounds so the player will have to decide if that if it better to have the more food or the less weight on the rocket.

In addition to multiple disposable object locations, the locations of the points where you are able to throw them out will be changed, this will be explained in the game as there will be multiple rockets based off of real life spaceships with some artistic liberties taken to ensure that the player has enough room to move and that the game remains consistently entertaining and challenging, but be careful different spaceships may not even have the same parts so you'll have to determine their importance using your wits.

Once you get into space the game will take in all the resources you dropped off and what you kept to determine if you'll survive your space mission. The game will be controlled with the normal first person shooter controls with the left stick being for movement, the right for looking around, and the x button for picking items up on dropping them (this for if the player is using a normal xbox controller). This game would work perfectly to the idea of throwing out inventory but cranked up to 11 by giving a time limit and different environments.

Guillaume Schnebelen, Game and Sound Design Student at the Master HIC-MAJIC in Cannes, France, Leave it to Time

The principle of my game « Leave it to Time » is thus : You are moving out to a smaller place every level. You must choose what to keep and what to throw out.

Your inventory is organised like many RPGs are. You have a multiple little square organised together to reflect your new house. Every item uses one or more of these squares according to what they are. A photograph only takes one square while your guitar gently takes three squares in a straight line. You can rotate your item to fit the space you have left.

You have a time limit to respect every level, decreasing the further you progress until only little time remains, forcing you to make quick choices.

Every item is an everyday object you can find in a house, excluding item like silverware. It can be photographs with various descriptions, musical instruments, miscellaneous potteries and pieces of art. They are supposed to represent your life and you begin the game by choosing which items you want to put in your first house.

During the game, you will move to smaller locations, thus requiring you to part with some of your beloved possessions. After the final level, you are put into your coffin with the items you ended up cherishing the most, as reminders of what you chose to fill your life with.

Renan Yamao, Student at PucPR in Paraná, Brazil, Cooking is Relaxing

Objective: Serve a determined amount of customers in each level.

You are a cook, you have to manage your fridge so that everything fits in and make sure you have all the ingredients that you need to make dishes.

There's only two ways to get rid of the food on your fridge: you either serve it to a customer or you wait untill it expires and then you can throw them away.
After some time the foods go bad and you'll have to throw them away, but even if you throw some food away there'll be a truck that comes from time to time and lets you grab some food.

Each level has a number of clients that you have to serve to win.

To serve a client you have to make a plate with the ingredients that he wants and if you don't have the ingredients in the fridge then you won't be able to serve them.

During a level the truck will come 3 times and you'll have a limited time to get all the ingredients that you want and organize them in your fridge.

Ingredients that are not used will rot after some time and if you don't use them you can't throw them away because that would be wasteful, so you have to think carefully on what you get from the truck.

After you finish a level you'll get some money depending on the amount of clients that you served.

With the money you'll be able to buy more space on the fridge or expand your restaurant so you'll have more time to serve clients or even extra time before an ingredient expires.
It'll start with only a few ingredients and a few different options for recipes, but as the game progresses more ingredients and more recipes will be added, making managing your fridge harder.

Later clients that want more than 1 dish may appear and they wont be marked as served unless you can provide all the dishes that they want.

Cole Hopkins, Unaffiliated, Thrown Away DNA

Thrown Away DNA is a sidescrolling, single player puzzle platformer which casts the player as a failed genetics experiment discarded by its creators and left to fend for itself in the wild. In order to survive and progress, it must shed useless limbs and body parts, modifying its body to adapt to the task at hand. Each level tosses the player into a unique environment with varied hazards, forcing the player to think strategically about which parts of their body they'll keep and which parts they'll leave behind. 

Each level is a self contained vignette with its own setting, player character, and mechanics variations. It begins with a brief cutscene introducing the failed experiment the player will embody as it gets unceremoniously thrown out of a lab and left to fend for itself. From there, the player takes control of the creature as it gets its bearings. They are able to survey the entire level ahead, so that they can see the obstacles they will face and plan accordingly. Obstacles vary from gaps that need to be crossed to small spaces that need to be squeezed through to rocks that need to be climbed. The player may even come across hungry predators that need to be avoided or sated with a discarded body part. Body parts themselves have various uses and drawbacks. For example, an air bladder could be used to float in the water, but would take up dead weight otherwise. Large claws may aid in climbing, but become cumbersome in tight spaces. Choosing what limbs to keep and what limbs to discard is a key component of the core gameplay loop.

The other key component is movement itself, where the game turns into a sort of physics based platformer. The player can click and drag each limb to move it in a given direction, or use the WASD keys to roll. Body parts may also have a unique action (such as flapping wings or shutting a claw) which can be toggled by double clicking. Though not exactly clumsy, player movement isn't incredibly precise; you are playing as a genetic mistake that can barely locomote, after all. Environmental obstacles are for the most of the part meant to be puzzles more than challenges of timing or precision.

Those environments vary considerably as well, and effect the player's choices in interesting ways. For example, a level set in a cold region may require the player to use shorter appendages drawn close to the body to conserve warmth. A level set near a large lake may involve underwater movement using a crude combination of flaps and air bladders. The introduction of new hazards and mechanics as the game progresses keeps the core gameplay from getting stale.

At the end of each level, the player character's organism finds a sanctuary deep in the wild where they can live in peace. Though there is no overarching narrative, each of the vignettes are similar enough in structure to establish a connection.

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