Like lots of other people in the UK, I’m still working from my kitchen table rather than the office. I’ve been at home for five months and haven’t seen my colleagues in person since the middle of March – although I’ve spent far too much time with them on conference calls.
While there are some benefits to this, such as more sleep and less money spent on commuting to London every day, many are now starting to struggle with the arrangement. We might be fed-up of staying at home on our own and are missing the social aspect of being at work, gossiping around the coffee machine and going tor a drink at the end of the day. Or perhaps the additional free time has meant we’ve been reflecting on our careers and realising that perhaps they’re going in the wrong direction.
If you’re feeling down about your job, try to remember you’re not alone: millions of people feel the same way and some of them even went so far as to make a video game about the experience. If you have the desire to live out a version of the daily grind that’s far more fun than the real thing – or if you’re just looking for something to distract yourself with during yet another conference call – then check out the following releases. I promise I won’t tell your boss.
Watching my stepson play this virtual reality (VR) title is even more brain-numbing than spending an hour on Zoom
listening to colleagues talk about their children. In the Officer Worker
level, you’re tasked with ‘making job happen’ and actions like drinking coffee and chatting up co-workers are as important as doing any real work. There’s no proper objective, the gameplay is boring and repetitive, and the graphics really aren’t appealing… actually, that sounds just like working in an office.
One Late Night
There are two things which unite all office workers: the feeling you’re being watched when you’ve had to stay at your desk after hours to complete a project, and doing everything you can to avoid that one colleague nobody wants to be trapped in a room with. This is exactly what short horror One Late Night
is all about. Working late benefits nobody; it just leads to hiding under tables and keeping out of the shadows while trying to escape a malevolent spirit known as The Black Widow. Don’t do it.
The Orwell series
Ever snooped on a co-worker’s social media profile or tried to catch them in a compromising situation in order to earn possible brownie points with the boss? Then the Orwell
games might be the perfect titles for you. They put players in the shoes of a National Security Agency (NSA) agent who’s tasked with monitoring people’s online presence with the purpose of framing them for whichever crimes suit the government’s needs. You can finally put all that practice eavesdropping around the coffee machine to good use.
This one isn’t a fun game at all. Playing as a poorly-paid border-crossing immigration officer for the country of Arstotzka, you’re faced with a constant stream of increasingly tough decisions: do you cruelly decline and detain the refugees you meet in order to meet strict quotas, or do you face the possibility with not being able to provide your family with food and a roof over their heads? It’s both stressful and boring at the same time – and might actually make you grateful for the job you currently have.
State of Mind
The life of this title’s protagonist is a mess
. He hates the lack of journalistic integrity displayed at the office where he works as a writer; churns out articles which sound increasingly cynical; uses the stress of his job as an poor excuse to cheat on his wife; and constantly moans about how his ambitions are stifled. If you decide to play State of Mind
and find yourself identifying with him, the best piece of advice I can give you is to find yourself another career as quickly as possible.
The Stanley Parable
The Narrator’s sardonic voice
can be heard constantly throughout this game and he can end up being an antagonist, deuteragonist or even your friend depending on your actions. He’ll instruct you on the way he wants you to proceed with the tasks ahead and if you choose to disobey, you’ll force him to account for your actions and may possibly find yourself sent straight back where you started. I know exactly what you’re thinking right now: this sounds just like your boss.
Whether it’s poor pay, haunted offices or sarcastic voices narrating their every move, these video game protagonists have got it pretty bad when it comes to their working lives. Maybe they should consider changing careers as quickly as possible.