Creativity doesn’t come easily when you work in an office. Surrounded by people who say things like “let’s get our processes into a cohesive synergy” - without irony - it is hard to find the motivation to get up in the mornings let alone engage your brain.
Yesterday morning I decided to ignore my in-tray and instead look for the inspiration in the uninspired, the brainwave in the boring. The following game concepts are what I came up with:
You are Jan Jones, a secretary with orthopaedic shoes and a humble collection of plastic snow globes. Fight your way through a treacherous landscape of meeting agendas and application forms. Avoid paper cuts as the crisp white A4 pages pile up in front of you. Can you copy, collate and staple your way to a promotion, or will you be served with four weeks notice and a generous redundancy package? Available exclusively on the Wii.
Stunned by my own brilliance, I told my boss about the game that would revolutionise the world. Her reaction included the phrases “pile of crap” and “what are we paying you for?” Obviously she loved it, but something high-octane might be more her style.
2 HOT 2 HANDLE
A minor kitchen fire starts when someone accidentally puts tinfoil in the microwave. As Gordon Gray, the deputy fire-warden for the third floor, it is your job to assist your team out of the building to the pre-designated assembly area. This platform game has thirty levels of EXTREME action. Help the forgetful Doris find her purse! Manoeuvre around the elderly on the stairwell! Awkwardly usher everyone back into the building when the fire-fighters give you permission! Comes with a free souvenir fire-wardens sash.
This time the feedback was limited to “have you processed those invoices yet?” Clearly I hadn’t picked the best audience to share my genius with. She was right though. My stamping and photocopying skills are one of a kind and those bills weren’t going to pay themselves, so I got to work. Inspiration hit again at lunchtime, when I went to the fridge to discover my yoghurt missing…
After your morning meetings you discover that you have forgotten your lunch and the vending machine won’t accept your fifty dollar bill. It is 11.59am and you are starving! Can you successfully pilfer food from the fridge and your co-workers desks, or will you be caught and given a stern talking to by the Policy Manager? This stealth game should only be attempted by those with high levels of concentration and patience.
Over my yoghurt-less lunch I eavesdropped on some co-workers talking in the kitchen. I grew irritated as I don’t care about ‘prioritising action items’, and wondered how to make dull office-speak a little more fun.
The 9am Monday morning meeting is in full swing when you arrive late and unprepared. This retro-chic choose-your-own-adventure game relies upon choosing the correct nonsense business word. Impress the boss and you will win a square on your bingo card. But be careful – blurting out ‘incentivise’ when you really mean ‘paradigm shift’ will deduct points from your score. Comes with quiz controllers and can be enjoyed by up to four players.
I pictured sitting in my flat with a few friends, a bottle of wine and a copy of ‘Jargon Bingo’. Well, that’s if I have any friends left. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to ask ‘how’s work?’ over the past few weeks has been subjected to a shrill rant about the evils of restructuring. Surely there must be a way to channel my anger somewhere else…
You play Joan Hatchet, a change management specialist who has been hired on a short-term contract to restructure a company. Match skill-sets to job descriptions and then organise teams so that the workflow is not interrupted. Bonus points achieved for arranging desks so that employees cannot see out of any windows. This puzzle game is exclusive to the PC.
I looked over my efforts and was pleased. My high-quality games spanned a variety of consoles and genres, but I felt like my catalogue was missing something with a bit of speed. I doodled on a post-it, wondering if anyone would play ‘drive around the parking building looking for a space’. Probably not. I’d have to go with the only vehicle you were allowed to operate in the building…
It is the last working day of the year before Christmas and three people from the mail team have called in sick. It is up to you alone to steer the mail-cart through the narrow hallways, picking up envelopes and dodging middle-management. Every letter you collect will score points that you can spend at the Trolley Store. Possible purchases include a lug nut tighten and a can of anti-rust spray. Exclusive to the PS3, steering wheel sold separately.
Et voila, success! Realist ideas for an industry that has no time for the impossible or bizarre. Now all there is left to do is sit back, relax, and wait for the bidding war to commence.