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Office jobs in video games

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.

Job Simulator

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.

Papers, Please

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.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

12 thoughts on “Office jobs in video games Leave a comment

  1. My next-door neighbour has been a zookeeper for 20 years, worked all over the world. She’s just put her house on the market and quit her job to go back to Holland and figure out what she wants to do next. After Christmas, if she can, she’s going to travel around Europe for leisure 🤣

    My other neighbour is a commercial electrician, he’s going all-in on early retirement because he now knows for sure that he would never get bored.


    • I have a plan too. I’m going to win the lottery, quit my job and then buy Cat Mansion Island with Ellen / Genni.


  2. The first 3 months of being quarantined was fun, then July and Aug hit and I was over it. I am an educator and we are back to school now. We are half remote and half in building but even now it is still not the same. We have to keep away from one another to the point only 2 of us are allowed in the break room at a time and our classes stay in one room all day for every subject. It’s wild
    The one game here that def has my eye is the Orwell. I use to have to find cars to repo and that was my most fun job so taking me back to those days i think i could be good at this game.


    • I work in education too although I’m not directly involved in the teaching, and it’s crazy to think how different things were a year ago. Right now it’s kind of hard to imagine students all being taught in the same room together again – but it’s positive to see my employer doing what they need to do to keep everybody safe. Hope you’re staying well over there too. 🙂

      Orwell has had some really good reviews, although my other-half and I found it pretty difficult when we played it together. Maybe we’re just not observant enough! ha ha

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the premise of this post. I remember watching let’s plays of The Stanley Parable years ago. The amount of different endings and ways you could mess with the narrator was genius.


    • I love a video game with a good narrator! Kevan Brighting does such a good job in The Stanley Parable, I’m not sure if it would have been the same game with a different voice-actor. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Have had my eye on Papers Please for a little while, it’s in the ‘one day maybe’ mental list of games to play. Have to say I’d struggle to find any fun in a banking simulator, ‘play the stress of being shouted out at daily. Now in 4K with added curse words’ 😏


    • *checks Steam for ‘banking simulator’*

      Nope, can’t see anything there yet. You might want to get on that before a developer comes along and steals your idea. 😉


  5. Maybe the only thing worse than a boring workplace is a “fun” one. You know the kind; quirky and designed to appeal to first-time employers straight after graduating. I like the idea of them and the buildings’ openly-planned, bright colour schemes but, often, it’s the complete anti-professionalism philosophy that achieves the opposite and the people who run them are so casual and laid back that it’s just annoying, like being surrounded by stoners (which was, in fact, literally the case at Atari before their Warner Bros. buyout). So many distractions everywhere that no one seems to be getting anything done.

    It reminds me of when I was recently replaying the Friend Request mission of Grand Theft Auto V, where Michael infiltrates Lifeinvader. The whole place is a parody of that sort of thing, with people learning how to juggle, being indoctrinated to speak in weird, incoherent slang and everyone using their computers to watch porn. Even Rickie Lukens does air guitar through one of the demo rooms, which have weird names. In fact, prep for the mission is changing into some cargo shorts, a vest and a backpack to “blend in”. Still, at least I got to blow-up Not Mark Zuckerberg at the end.


    • The thing I dislike most about working in an office is ‘forced fun’. I don’t want to take part in a team quiz, build statues of famous landmarks out of straws, tell colleagues a little-known fact about myself or any other of the numerous team-building exercises.

      I just want to do my job and then go home, so I can play video games. 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aaaah broomclosets…

    Also nice to see Orwell mentioned, the eventual reveal of the plot and the name of the Zulu character was significant, was a very pleasant surprise to see such a character presented


    • I played and enjoyed the first game, but I haven’t yet tried the sequel. I should really get around to picking that up!


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