Video Game vs Work

Usually I try to play a few video games when I should be working, as it decreases the likelihood that I’ll go on a shooting rampage. Sometimes it works out well and everything goes fine, other times it doesn’t go so well. There are a good number of games out there, but can it be said that they were truly designed to be played at work?

See, the enjoyment factor of the game is only part of it. Since I’m at the office, I need to be on the lookout for the dreaded eight-headed-management-demon that creeps around corners and peeks through keyholes, waiting for me to shirk my important duties. If a game is well made I can skate by just fine, but if it isn’t…well, there goes that Christmas bonus the kids were looking forward to.

So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at our potential game for the day.

Bouncing Journey 2

Bouncing Journey 2

Alright, let’s get this show on the road. My boss is on the other side of the office right now so this is a good time to give Bouncing Journey 2 a shot.

Okay, standard stuff so far. We have music and an intro, all things to be avoided in the working environment. Unfortunately there isn’t anything I can do about the sound just yet, but wait…what’s that little thing in the upper right hand corner of the page?

Bouncing Journey 2 Intro, with skip button circled in redThe game allows me to skip the intro! This is a great addition to any game that needs to be played in an office. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to play a new game, only to have to sit through 8 minutes of music, animation and shit that I just don’t want to see.

Alright, simple menu layout so far, which is always a good thing. Bouncing Journey 2 MenuThere’s nothing worse than having to sit and work your way through a bunch of bullshit while your boss is lurking about somewhere.

You’ll note that there is an instruction button that I can click on. Well, I have no time to read instructions as my boss is walking back towards me so I’ll just have to wing it.

I didn’t see any options though…that kind of bugs me a bit as I can’t turn down the sound. Granted, it has decent music to go along with it, but if my boss hears me rocking out to game music he’ll eventually get the idea that some kind of shenanigans are afoot.

After starting the game, I find the controls extremely easy, as there is only the mouse to work with. There aren’t any fancy button combinations, no control via arrowkeys, no special power that charges by rapidly pressing the shift key…just plain, old, nice and simple mouse driven controls.

Woo, the game is kinda fun too…oh hell, the boss is walking towards me with a stack of papers, crap, I already lost a buttload of lives and I don’t see a pause button…what do I do?!  Okay, calm down, there’s still a few seconds left to go before my boss is casually looking at my computer screen…maybe hitting the P button on the keyboard will pause this bitch….DAMMIT NO!!!…Spacebar?! Nada! Mashing random keys? Fuck, nothing works! Oh crap, the boss is here….

Luckily, alt+tab saves my ass and Excel pops up with a random yet official looking spreadsheet I made earlier. After the boss walks off, in search of another victim, I head back to my game….wow, that’s a lot of deaths, which should explain the 27 deaths I had in the first picture in this post. On a positive note, it would seem that I can die over and over again and nothing will happen, which takes away some of the frustration of not finding the pause button.

Oh wait, if I right click with my mouse, the Pause screen comes up…dammit. I checked the instructions later (when the boss went out for lunch) and this was NOT mentioned at all, so this game gets marked down a few points for that. Non-intuitive controls have gotten me busted in the office before, it’s a very important aspect of stealth game playing.

The gameplay is fine, it seems to have just the right amount of simplicity mixed in with just enough frustration to make it a somewhat addicting game. Things could be a bit more fast paced, but in some parts it can be challenging enough without having to deal with a faster ball moving around the screen, bouncing off of objects and careening into deadly things such as pink rotati-bars, green inviso-bars, and the dreaded red dammit-bars.

Overall, I’d have to give this game a 7 out of 10 on the play-videogames-in-the-office-ometer. It scored points in simplicity, easy controls, and a skip-able intro but lost points due to complete lack of volume controls and the pause button situation. I really liked seeing that dying didn’t have an effect on the gameplay too much, aside from restarting the level, this is definitely handy given that sometimes there isn’t even enough time to hit a pause button.

I didn’t get busted playing this game and which is always a plus, my boss didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary and I got to play a decent game. All in all, I think I’m ahead on this one.

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