This Game Simulates the Thrill of Working On a Computer
You can almost feel the fluorescent overhead lighting.
Image: Pippin Barr
I hate going back to work after a four-day weekend, but pretending to work with a Windows drudgery simulator? That's what game developer Pippin Barr's It is as if you were doing work allows players to experience, and it's actually kind of fun.
I log in and immediately set to "work" writing an email. As I type (it doesn't matter what keys I hit, the text comes out in pre-written nonsense) more windows appear and overlap, asking me to click various options. I hit "Begin" on a prompt about jet engines, "Add" in another about wearable computers, write another email, and slide a slider.
A window pops up—barely heading off an existential crisis about the futility of writing—and asks me to click Enact on Biological Immortality. Another window overlaps that one and urges me to "Work like you don't need the money." A stock image of white men shaking hands says "Stay positive."
Barr said he created It is as if you were doing work as a salve to the office drones who will eventually be displaced by robots.
"The game poses as an application that humans who have been put out of work by robots and AI can play as a way to recapture the sense they once had of doing work and being productive," Barr wrote. "It's a kind of semi-condescending service offered by this new world to those of us who can't deal with it."
"It's a kind of semi-condescending service offered by this new world to those of us who can't deal with it."
He noted that the sound effects are from Windows 95 and Windows 98 systems, and the wacky technology names are from programmer Darius Kazemi's corpora database of words and names on GitHub.
The pace of mundane tasks hits the level of busyness between boredom and panic that could keep you toiling away like it's 1996 and humans aren't yet heading for obsolescence. It might not sound like the most fun game in the world, but it sure beats doing any actual work today.
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