A slacker's guide.
There are three things that get in the way of a serious gaming habit: Partners, Real-Life demands and Jobs. It is an unavoidable truth that sometimes due to our busy lives, it’s hard to get in your Recommended Daily Allowance of gaming, as any rodent will know.
Oh yes, when we were younger we were more than able to squeeze in school work, playing in the park, smoking tabs and fingering girls as well as video games. Such was the unappreciated gifts of those relatively responsibility free days. Unfortunately, many of us are now physically grown up. No longer can we set aside whole hours of an evening to play, relax and enjoy a quick game-spaz at will. Spare time has become an ungainly scramble to fit in socialising, parent placating, eating properly, garment ironing and pleasuring our respective partners to the best of our abilities. So when can we get our gaming fix? They got us hooked on regular doses, then like so many crack dealers, put a higher price on our time.
Fear not though, my little cherubs. Uncle Swith is at hand with a guide to how you can create the illusion of productivity, whilst clandestinely suckling from the raw teat of adrenaline. I bring you the definitive guide to covert office gaming. Together, we can reclaim that lost gaming time – and get paid for it!
Step One: Choose the right game.
There are two main stipulations for office compatible games.
Firstly, the game must be easily closable or minimisable - games in windows of their own are ideal. Anyone who has watched a sullen receptionist minimise a partially completed game of solitaire faster than you can say ‘Tea, one sugar’ will know that this is an important skill to rehearse. Practice makes perfect, Alt Tab / Alt F4 is your friend.
Always be but one click away from real work, one click away from shooting shit.
More importantly though - keep it quiet! If you’re hammering those keys trying to play a bit of Track and Field, you’re going to get caught. Likewise, keep that sound turned down. Avoid shouting phrases such as ‘Shit I died’ or ‘Fuck, I shot that one’. These are hard to explain away under the context of ordinary work.
Game choice recommendations:
You want a game with a bit of meat, son. Sure, there are a plethora of pithy flash games but they never really cut the mustard for a decent session. You want a game with a bit of longevity.
FreeCiv – a free civilisation clone. Bloody amazing. Also, all that looking pensive whilst pondering your next move will make you look like a conscientious little worker.
Armagetron – the absolute best free game in the world. It’s a light cycles clone, with gorgeous netplay. Only two keys; left and right. (ok, there’s a break key, but that’s for pussies.) Satisfaction guaranteed, especially when it slows down the purchasing system in the office.
Gridrunner++ - Great for a quick blast or a prolonged chaotic mouse-quivering graphical barrage. Easily minimisable too!
DeadEye – A windowed tasty skillfest that will definitely make you say a rude word or twelve.
Midway Classic Arcade Games – What it says on the tin. Perfect for quick and gratifying digital mindwank relief.
Step Two: The Art of Inconspicuousness
Not all of us have the luxury of having an office to ourselves, so it is important to use the existing office environment carry out your clandestine gaming.
Here are some tips I have picked up over the years of spectacular underachievement.
Wise desk positioning.
Every office has a ‘Big Dave’. It pays to become good friends with Big Dave (for many reasons) but most especially because with thoughtful positioning of desks, he can provide suitable cover with his ecliptic proportions.
Cheers, Big Dave. Hide me behind your splendour.
The ‘busy boy’ great wall of folder technique
Everyone knows that if you have a lot of A4 folders on your desk you are busy. Thus you are left alone. This, coupled with the visual impedance offered by the foolscap binders is a boon to the office gamer.
Beep bop Blam Crash Zappo! - Minimise, click, talk about sales figures.
Step Three: In case of discovery…
Many brave men and women have been caught in the act. When your speed window minimising fails, or you shout a rude word too loudly it pays to have a few excuses ready.
- What was that? Oh, just a pop-up. The IT boys need to get their acts together, man.
- Big Dave told me to do it (nobody argues with Big Dave, he’s huge.)
- It’s actually a new way of data processing. It’s an experimental program that allows files to be transferred around the system using an interface that happens to resemble solitaire.
- Someone on the nightshift has installed all this shit and I’m just seeing what it is before I delete it.
- It’s cool, I’m on my lunch break.
- At least I’m not looking at Badgerfisting.com
And there you have it. There is a whole world of fun out there waiting for the adventurous white-collar slacker. Follow this simple guide and your life will be enriched beyond your wildest dreams. Claim back those lost gaming hours, you owe it to yourself.
Good luck, and happy gaming!
(Way of the Rodent bears no responsibility to any loss of employment whilst office gaming. This guide is purely for entertainment and education.)