Many video games include lockpicking or unlocking minigames. Some of these are annoying, while others are memorable or even fun. And a single game, more a virtual museum, has collected all of these unlocking minigame experiences into one experience, offering players and game designers a fantastic way to re-experience (or discover) how various games have handled this common mechanic.
Museum of Mechanics: Lockpicking has been out on Itch.io since 2020, but after its initial release its developer, Dim Bulb Games, continued to update the digital showcase, improving its visuals and adding more minigames. Since it was first released, unlocking minigames from Wolfenstein, Gothic, Mass Effect and more have been added to the museum. It’s easily the most comprehensive digital lockpicking museum in existence, mainly because (as far as I can tell) it’s the only one.
Now Museum of Mechanics: Lockpicking is coming to Steam, complete with all the updates from the last year. This new version, out January 13, will cost $US10 ($14) and includes some fresh features, like Steam achievements and Steam leaderboard support. Now you can find out who really is the best at unlocking doors in Oblivion.
It should be noted that this isn’t a game with an ending or anything like that. In fact, Dim Bulb Games explains that the primary audience for this museum is other game devs and designers.
“As a game designer, you often find yourself doing research on how other games do things — it’s a good way to get ideas, see what works and what doesn’t, and build an understanding of the space you’re solving problems in,” said Dim Bulb Games designer Johnnemann Nordhagen. “How nice it would be, I thought, if someone collected all the references for particular ways of doing things in one place.”
Still, even though this collection is more a tool for game devs than an actual game, it’s an awesome idea that not only sounds like a lot of fun to tinker with but also serves a useful purpose. As games get older, they become harder to find and play, especially less popular games. So creating something that preserves specific parts of video games for future designers and players to experience is a brilliant way to help preserve history.
And while Nordhagen and Dim Bulb Games have started with lockpicking, the designer has future plans to build more virtual museums focused on different video game mechanics. Personally, I want a museum dedicated to inventory management. And if that happens, it better includes a Resident Evil 4 section featuring that game’s absolutely perfect attaché case.