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.

Good job: careers in video games

While queuing for two hours to play the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo at gamescom, what else is there to do but discuss video games? The conversation turned to what the best jobs in gaming are and inspired a bit of healthy debate.

I’ve been working in IT for almost 15 years now and occasionally I think a career-change might be in order. But with so many options available to us nowadays, how could I decide what to do with the rest of my working life? Perhaps video games can help us out here. Let’s take a look at some fictional jobs in our favourite titles, currently fulfilled by some of the best characters in the world.

Connoisseur o’ Carrion: Captain Blondebeard

Argh, now here be a career fit for a scurvy seadog, serving those landlubbers only the best blackened cajun chicken on Plunder Island. If it weren’t for that El Pollo Diablo setting all the chickens free from their cages and stealing my ideas to become the next Nando’s! Do you have a reservation? If so take a seat next to the old silent patron – he may not seem like good company but he could talk your ear off about the Grim Fandango. If the choice is either working at Blondebeard’s Chicken Shoppe or having your wife kidnapped by a demon-pirate with a liking for themeparks, I know what my choice would be.

Nuclear and subatomic research scientist: Gordon Freeman

What’s better than being paid the megabucks for pushing alien material samples into other stuff in the name of science, while clad in a Hazardous Environment Suit? Sure, it could cause a resonance cascade scenario and end the world, but that’s not the end of the world when you have your best friend Barney Calhoun to help you clean up the headcrab mess. Oh, you can’t talk either but that’s OK. You can use a variety of guns and alien weaponry to get your message across to those pesky Xen invaders instead.

Archaeologist with a PhD in kicking your arse: Lara Croft

In comparison to that lowlife treasure thief Nathan Drake, here’s one role model who doesn’t stop after inheriting her family fortune. She has a taste for ancient and powerful relics with a side order of near-death experiences and a healthy dollop of the supernatural for dessert. Highly intelligent and athletic, Lara is someone we should all strive to be, never becoming complacent and always looking for the next achievement. Considering how long Tomb Raider has existed, we know Lara’s job description too well and should get through the interview with no trouble at all.

Entrepreneur: Merchants from The Elder Scrolls Online

A more generic role compared to the others, as there are far too many merchants to count in The Elder Scrolls Online. Some have the opportunity to roam specific routes through Tamriel while others are glued to the spot on crossroads and in towns. Well, somebody here has to buy all your junk – including worm bait when some bugger goes and steals the rarest eel out from under your fishing rod for the seventh time that day (I’m so sorry, Kim!).

General-purpose robot CL4P-TP: Claptrap

No, he’s not the worst character ever, PCGamer. Go ahead and name any other robot with the job to entertain us using the art of dancing while beatboxing. Not only does Claptrap have absolutely zero friends no matter how hard it tries, it’s also the most pun-arific robot I’ve ever known. The perfect example of this is Claptrap’s birthday bash in Borderlands 2; there’s a boombox, party favours and tons of pizza. Even though none of the three people invited turn up, it’s still a blast for the Vault Hunter. Let’s hear some love for this endearing robot!



Sadly, not only am I well on my way to becoming the next CL4P-TP, but you may have realised my selection is somewhat ironic. While I love each of these characters, I don’t envy their positions nearly as much and I’m grateful for their existence!

Bad blood: worst jobs in video games

Last month I was challenged by Matt from Normal Happenings to write a Daily Inkling post. The nominated subject was bad ventures: business ideas dreamt up as a child which seemed brilliant when young, but are now clearly terrible when viewed through by adult eyes.

Unfortunately I can’t recall any such brainwaves but I do remember a certain career aspiration which could have been disastrous for everyone involved. I’d wanted to be a nurse when I was about eight-years old. A noble profession yet one which I would have been so bad at. I’m an absolute wimp: I’ve passed out while watching a friend give blood; fainted during a first-aid course when the instructor told the class fractured pelvises; and didn’t get my ears pierced until my early 30s because I really don’t like needles. I think it’s safer for everybody if I stay away from hospitals and patients.

Thankfully things turned out ok and I ended up making a much more suitable career choice when I was older. Unfortunately for certain video games however, they weren’t so lucky. Following on from a post back in June 2017 and in honour of the Daily Inkling series (to put a gaming twist on things!), here’s an article dedicated to Matt about some of the worst jobs in gaming.

Janitor

Some who visit the attractions in RollerCoaster Tycoon just can’t handle the excitement and intensity of the rides. Their lunch ends up being thrown all over the park as a result – along with burger wrappers and popped balloons so carelessly discarded along paths – and it’s the Janitor’s responsibility to clean up all that mess. You might get a payrise if you seem unhappy, but job security isn’t great and you can be replaced at the click of a button. If only the guests had stronger stomachs and better manners.

Professional Writer

Many bloggers view their hobby as a potential route to achieving their dream of becoming a professional writer but after seeing what happens to a best-selling novelist in Alan Wake, they may sensibly opt for an alternative career path. When you realise that events from the plot in your latest book (one you don’t remember writing, may I add) are happening in real life, your wife is mysteriously missing and shadowy figures are trying to kill you, it’s definitely time to consider changing to different profession.

Treasure Hunter

Travelling to exotic locations all around the world and hunting for valuable relics in the Uncharted series may sound like the perfect job to those who crave excitement. But there’s just one thing standing in the way of you and career-happiness: pirates. They’re everywhere you go, hiding behind crates with their guns and busting into the scene in armoured tanks, and you just can’t seem to get rid of them all. A stable office job may seem boring on comparison but at least the only thing you’ll get shot at with is a stapler.

Test Subject

A lot of employees don’t think of their boss too highly. But when yours is an increasingly- malicious artificial intelligence with murderous tendencies who always promises cake and then cruelly snatches that possibility away, you know you’re going to have a bad day at the office. Sure, getting to mess around with a Portal gun all day sounds like fun; but when it comes to career satisfaction, finding a job with a manager who doesn’t want to kill you on a daily basis could be more fulfilling.

Dragon Killer

Many people are animal lovers who dream of working with creatures, perhaps at a zoo or vetinary centre. But a job where it’s your responsibility to deal with some seriously p****d-off dragons is a whole different ball-game. Forget unhappy pets and minor scratches – in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim you’re looking at being stomped to death, painfully set on fire or eaten alive by flying lizards. You’re better off re-training and accepting a junior position on an entirely different career path.

I’m not sure which is worse: taking on one of the careers above or the thought of me being a nurse. Tell us in the comments below about any bad business ideas you had as a kid, or video game characters who should have thought more wisely about their profession choice!

Office politics: a follow-up

Last year I wrote about the personalities in my workplace with regard to video games. I myself identified as ‘the secret gamer’: someone who doesn’t discuss their hobby due to the attitudes of management above them and the need have to constantly justify their part in it.

Since that time however things have changed somewhat and even ‘the sexist gamer’ has mellowed, now accepting that women play too (but obviously ‘more casually than men’). It means that occasionally I’ll participate in a conversation although more often than not, I’m content to just sit and listen. It’s liberating to have recently found out that my new boss is a gamer herself too; she knows her stuff when it comes to the best practice framework we make use of at work, and the fact she plays video games herself just makes me respect her even more.

There’s also the fact that my team moved into a new office a couple of months ago so we could be closer to another group we work with frequently. As luck would have it, I ended up being placed opposite ‘the inclusive gamer’: someone who has a healthy attitude to gaming and those that play, and who’s open to trying new types of releases. We’ve had a few discussions now about indie games and although he hasn’t heard of many I’ve played, he has tried Celeste and Hollow Knight and has started branching him out of his triple-A comfort zone.

He attributes this change mainly to getting a Switch shortly after it was released in March 2017. Not only has the console raised his awareness of titles from smaller developers due to its eShop, he now has more opportunity to play; his commute into work is a couple of hours each way and having the portability of the Switch means he can use that time to get stuck into a game. Like many of us, it’s not always possible for him to sink hundreds of hours into a release so Nintendo’s machine is fitting in nicely with his adult lifestyle.

A colleague from the other team we’re now based with overheard us chatting about this subject and came over to join in with the conversation. He agreed with the inclusive gamer: the Switch allowed him to play while his other-half ‘watches her crime-dramas’, and he’s enjoying it so much that he hasn’t logged into his Steam account for over a year now. This then prompted 30-minutes of him explaining to me exactly why I needed this console in my life and how I was missing out by not having a Switch.

His arguments:

  • Argument one: you can play video games and not hog the television, so you can sit with family while they watch whatever it is they want to watch.
  • Argument two: you can take the Switch on your commute or to other places, so you don’t always need to be at home if you want to pick up a title.
  • Argument three: the console makes indie titles more accessible through its eShop, and you find out about games you might not otherwise have heard of.

  • And my responses:

  • Response one: playing video games don’t mean hogging the television in my house. More often than not, my other-half and I can found playing something together.
  • Response two: I don’t like playing titles on my commute. I use that time for blogging and getting Later Levels in order, so I’ve got more spare time at home for games.
  • Response three: I find out about indie titles through other blogs, gaming websites, expos and word-of-mouth. I don’t really need a Switch to put them front and centre for me.

  • He’s adamant he’s going to manage to convince me to buy the console before Christmas but I doubt he’ll succeed. It’s mainly down to the way video games are viewed in my family; they’re our preferred form of entertainment, and we’d much rather play something or watch a stream than gather around a television show. I’ve come to realise I’m incredibly lucky to have a partner who shares my love for the hobby and who wants to participate in it together.

    But it’s also good to have colleagues with whom you can discuss games – even if they do try and talk you into getting a console you don’t want or need. As written by Fitzy over on Game Time recently: “There are people I can talk to comfortably and that alone makes my job so much more enjoyable. It’s still work at the end of the day but now I have people to talk to whilst we share that misery. Yay!”

    UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
    Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
    (*Not guaranteed.)


    Monkey business (a QotM answer)

    May’s Question of the Month is brought to you by Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie: a relatively new blogger on the WordPress scene but one who’s made quite an impact. To find out more about her and her site, as well as how you can get involved, take a look at this post.

    JOB DESCRIPTION: TRI-ISLAND AREA GOVERNOR

    About the company:

    Here in the Tri-Island Area, we believe that piracy isn’t a career choice: it’s a way of life favoured by many salty seadogs. Our departments work hard to deliver a world-class service, immoral support and a range of pillaging opportunities to ensure our place as one of the most desired destinations for buccaneers all over the Caribbean.

    With thought-leading Important-Looking-Pirates and dynamic learning solutions, we empower those seeking to take the first step on their violent voyage by offering a transformational experience to broaden their operational knowledge and global mindset. As well as preparing cutthroats of the future for the Three Trials, we run professional development courses for aspiring captains to help identify the strategic direction of their ships.

    With the ocean in our hearts and the wind in our hair, we draw inspiration from the high-seas to attract a diverse range of deckhands, creating an abundance of opportunities to network with industry experts and motley crews worldwide.

    About the department:

    The Tri-Island Area’s Governors Office (TIAGO) oversees Mêlée, Booty and Plunder Islands, providing strategic, administrative, information, customer and assurance services from our primary location deep in the Caribbean.

    Within TIAGO, we spend a lot of our time building relationships with pirates, demonic skulls and cannibals alike, trying to truly understand their goals and how we can best serve those needs. We respond rapidly to changing requirements, continuously asses our inventory for the best opportunities, and ultimately challenge ourselves and those around us to be the very best crew we can be.

    We have a team of scalawags who support the whole community in their use of the nautical services we provide. In addition, we establish appropriate policies to ensure the Islands are compliant with all contractual and regulatory requirements, and our shores are kept safe from invading zombie pirates and three-headed monkeys.

    About the role:

    The Tri-Island Area Governor has overall responsibility for all three Islands, although they will have some influence in a number of other locations throughout the Caribbean. The role involves daily contact with our constituents, inspiring them to fulfil their pirating potential and fully open their emotional treasure chests.

    Key areas of accountability:

  • Leading continuing investigations into Monkey Island with a view to discovering the location’s secret by the financial year 2020
  • Vetting all proposed sword-fighting insults for consistency, relevance and humour while avoiding undue bovine discrimination
  • Continuous improvement of the Thievery Trial to achieve maximum confusion and learning benefits for wannabe pirates
  • Responsibility for the regulation of voodoo magic use throughout the Tri-Island Area, and adherence to the relevant health-and-safety guidelines
  • Formulating plans to escape and defeat zombie pirates with continual oversight of the emotional wellbeing of junior buccaneers
  • Coordinating the Tri-Island Area’s grog production and exports, extending business reach while maintaining recipe confidentiality
  • Ongoing non-conformance to the damsel-in-distress stereotype and advocacy of equal opportunities for all pirates across the Caribbean
  • Ensuring policies and procedures are in place across TIAGO and the entire Tri-Island Area, to aid and drive pirating excellence
  • Qualifications and experience required:

  • The Three Trials Certification (distinction preferred, grade A minimum)
  • Previous gubernatorial experience, preferably gained in a piracy or other nautical environment
  • A positive leader with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, able to manage conflict and see the ‘big picture’
  • Must be driven and passionate about providing better solutions and support to pirates at all stages throughout their career
  • A competent user of compasses and treasure maps, able to captain their own ship and crew while effectively managing an inventory
  • Proficient in personal combat and battle strategy, able to adopt a ‘common sense’ approach and stay composed under pressure
  • Resources and benefits:

  • Personal use of the Governors Mansion
  • Monthly personal allowance (250 pieces of eight)
  • A pack of piranha poodles
  • A tremendous dangerous-looking yak
  • 50% discount at Stan’s Previously Owned Vessels
  • Annual cannon servicing plan

  • Your next career: the ‘best’ jobs in video games

    In a recent trial at the University of Glasgow, it was found that playing video games could help improve your employability. Gaming was shown to help gain ‘graduate attributes’ such as communication skills, resourcefulness and adaptability, in a relatively short amount of time. Bonus!

    So it turns out that our parents have been wrong all these years: the time spent with our controllers wasn’t a ‘waste’ and it has in fact been helping us secure the best and brightest jobs for our futures. So what careers do we have to look forward to?

    Vacancy: Merchant

    We’re looking for an experienced salesperson to join our team of qualified Merchants throughout the beautiful land of Hyrule. Your goal will be to maintain customer satisfaction to the highest level and ensure our clients are provided with only the finest goods that rupees can buy.

    Your primary responsibility will be serving customers – well, customer – ok, that weird blond kid with the sword. Accounts will need to be balanced and hexagonal gemstones banked on a daily basis; and the handling of flammable goods such as bombs and lamp oils must be undertaken in line with all current health-and-safety legislation.

    Requirements:

  • Experience of working in a customer services environment
  • Stock-management skills
  • Willingness to trade in an area constantly threatened by the reincarnation of evil
  • To register your interest, please apply to the Royal Family of Hyrule – by appointment only.


    Vacancy: Archaeologst

    A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has arisen for a gifted Archaeologist to join us on our upcoming expedition to an exotic island in the middle-of-nowhere. No experience is necessary and training will be provided on the job; however, you must be willing to provide your own equipment.

    The successful candidate will be expected scale tombs, ruins and associated risks in their search for ancient relics and buried treasures. Setting up camp will be a regular requirement of this position, as is the healing of stab wounds, gun shots and injuries from bear-traps.

    Requirements:

  • Flexibility to travel to countries across the world
  • Quick-thinking, with ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Able to adapt to unexpected reductions in team size
  • Please contact Winston Smith in writing at The Fridge, Croft Manor, Surrey, England.


    Vacancy: Mechanic

    Los Santos Customs is looking for a talented Mechanic to join our crew. You will be responsible for overseeing the repair of all vehicles deposited in the garage and delivering these to our clients at any location, although you may be ‘otherwise occupied’ at certain periods during your day.

    This role comes with serious risk but a steady salary will be provided to compensate. Please note that we are an equal-opportunities employer, willing to consider those under a wanted-level; however, we’re unable to accept applications from individuals with police associations at this time.

    Requirements:

  • Automotive Maintenance and Repair NVQ
  • Ability to quickly grasp new vehicle technologies
  • Prepared to accept risk and provide own bullet-proof vest
  • Please hand your CV and covering letter into the garage between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday.


    Vacancy: Plumber

    An experienced Plumber is required for a long-term contract in the Mushroom Kingdom. We’re looking for a new addition to our customer-focused team as we provide all aspects of support to residents throughout the land, keeping their pipes free of unwanted debris and dangerous vegetation.

    Hours are flexible although the person in this role will be expected to attend to call-outs in other dimensions where there is risk of hazardous reptilian infestation. Other duties as required will be assigned by line management; and a company van and uniform will be provided.

    Requirements:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing and Heating
  • Willingness to take on duties outside of normal role
  • Please note: candidates with an allergy to fungi should not apply for this position
  • Interested parties should speak to Princess Peach at another castle to arrange an interview.


    Vacancy: Dancer

    A well-known, busy nightclub in the centre of the Citadel is recruiting for full- or part-time Dancers. With a ‘lively’ atmosphere supported by music provided by only the ‘best’ DJs, we provide excellent working conditions on a good starting salary with plenty of tips.

    Successful applicants will be responsible for providing visual entertainment and charming our exclusive clientele in between their business meetings. Matters of a confidential nature in connection with national security are regularly discussed by our patrons and as such, a sense of discretion is of the utmost importance.

    Requirements:

  • Friendly, well-presented, with a love of working in public
  • Continuous sense of rhythm regardless of beat
  • Plenty of stamina – employees a required to move non-stop for a minimum of 10 hours
  • Auditions can be arranged by contacting either Doran or Rita at dance@fluxnightclub.me.