Welcome to Kenny-s Blog

New game simulates the old grind

Pippin Barr, Assistant Professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montréal, has released a game that I’m sure you’re all going to enjoy. It’s called It is as if you were doing work and it simulates the day-to-day activities of the average knowledge worker. Need to write a document? Close a bunch of notifications first. Finished with one task? Handle another that is equally cryptic. I couldn’t get very far without getting absolutely frustrated and I doubt you’ll make it very far either.

Barr writes:

It is as if you were doing work had been around for a long time before I really managed to start working on it properly. I actually documented the original moment that sparked that game in a blog post titled Close analysis of having a game idea – basically I was watching Rilla resizing an image while working on a project and suddenly felt like it would be amazing to have a game entirely premised on totally conventional operations with traditional user-interfaces. From there it became the idea of a WarioWare-esque game where you would complete simple interface operations under time pressure (I will likely return to this) with various ideas for layering on some kind of meta-narrative, or AI-twist, or something to make it more ‘spectacular’.

After a couple of months with it on the back-burner, I came back to the game thinking mostly in terms of technologies. Specifically, I was teaching a web development course at university and started thinking it would be interesting to build a game using a kind of standard-issue user-interface library like jQuery as opposed to building it with a game engine. It felt like there was something appropriate about using tools that actually fit in with the nature of the game as interface-oriented. So at that point I started nailing down what I’d actually be able to implement with jQuery UI’s tools (e.g. checkboxes, radio buttons, buttons, progress bars, etc.).

The game is best played on a desktop, just like a traditional cubicle warrior would, so put down your phone for a minute and remind yourself that this is just a game and your entire livelihood and, for some, societal and health protections are based on the need to reproduce these actions for equally baffling reasons in the real world.

Have something to add? Share it in the comments.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *