Sunday, October 23, 2005

Office Shirker

According to the New York Times, there's a positive relationship between the time spent playing "Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games," or MMORPGs, and the degree to which people suffer personal problems as a consequence. This is unsurprising, and may help explain why Curt Schilling is such a sorry asshole. But maybe it's just that people are playing the wrong games.

Because I'm still giddy over the birth of my niece, I'm going to give away the only marketable idea I've ever had. Go forth and develop it, business-savvy readers. Make your billions off my humble back. All I ask in return is a slice of pie once in a while. Oven-warmed, if you don't mind.

Here's my idea: "Office Shirker." It's a first-person-shirker game, in which you, the protagonist, attempt to loaf spectacularly while avoiding professional consequences (disapproval, termination, lawsuits, shame). You are given "work" involving "spreadsheets" or "documents" or "reports" or "projects." You then must endeavor to do as little as possible, instead "surfing" the "internet" while "emailing" and "instant messaging" your "friends," perhaps even "blogging." All the while, you must avoid the watchful eyes of your boss and your colleagues. The basic user interface is the keyboard (especially Alt-Tab to toggle back to your "work" when the boss strolls past your cubicle) and the mouse. But here's the key: it's linked to the internet, so you can play with an online community of millions. Sure, developing a simulacrum of the entire internet might seem daunting to a software developer, but I think it can be done.

I'm flexible; if catering to the masses means a "Schilling mode" option in which you can play as an elf or something, then sure, fine, whatever. But I believe, if done right, this game could be just as engrossing and just as rewarding as the real thing.