Have you been working from home? I’ve been working from home. I’m guessing a whole load of you have been working from home, and if you’re one of those key-workers who have been heading out there day after day to keep the rest of us safe and sound then you absolutely have my gratitude and assurance that I have been doing whatever I can to stay the heck out of your way.
It may not be much, but the best that most of us can do in the current situation is to think about how our actions impact everyone around us
… but, whilst I’m normally a fan, working from home does deny me the simple pleasures of being in the office or lab. Pleasures like mashing the buttons on a vending machine and sending canned beverages flying out across the room or merrily driving a forklift through a warehouse wall. Luckily a short while ago, a super-accurate workplace simulation game, ‘Good Job!’ was released on Switch and, as most jobs are better with a colleague in tow, my wife and I picked it up on a whim after watching the trailer in order to enjoy a bit of couch co-op workplace recreation.
Unlike my previous ramblings on the merits of games that can give you that sense of job-satisfaction, ‘Good Job!’ is more of an exercise in cathartic workplace relief for those moments when you really just want to see what would happen if you tackled tasks with a carefree disregard for the consequences of taking the path of least resistance. The player gets to live this out vicariously as the child of the CEO of a large company. As the game opens we see the CEO themself handing a shiny new company ID to their hapless offspring and literally starting them off on the ground floor of the company. From here the player must complete tasks in each department, gradually moving up the floors, until finally fulfilling their destiny in the penthouse suite.
Of course, as the CEO’s child it’s impossible to get fired, or even raise much of an eyebrow, from your fellow co-workers regardless of how you choose to undertake the tasks you’ve been assigned. The true joy of this become apparent in the first level; my wife and I stumbled in to an office, knocking over various desks and files, picking up the odd water cooler butt and letting it drain all over the office floor before really getting down to the task at hand. We’d been charged with replacing a defective projector in a meeting room. We tracked a projector down in a room across the office, but there were a few tricky steps and annoying automatic doors in the way. That was until I discovered that you could use a power cable like an oversized catapult and launched a printer across the entire length of the office, through various windows and walls, creating a brand new path in the process before casually wheeling the projector in to position… and that became my favoured approach for the remainder of the game.
That’s not to say that our approach was best in terms of ranking; each level ends with a hearty ‘Good Job!’ regardless of the rubble and chaos that happens to be surrounding you at the time, but technically you are then ranked based on how fast you managed the task, how few items you managed to break, and how small the associated bill for the company is. So skipping ahead a couple of levels, it would have been a much better idea (ranking wise) to make sure everyone in the office had WiFi access by strategically placing the routers and repeater stations around the obvious work hub regions. Instead we took to the task by demolishing as many walls with flying printers as we could, creating a throbbing WiFi heart to the now ‘open plan’ office and, by simply ramming empty chairs in to the knees of the office inhabitants until they sat down on them, dragging all the workers in to our WiFi heart. Task complete right? Everyone has WiFi access.
Lucky for us, ranking is not a barrier to progress… or indeed anything else as far as we could tell. The only thing we really focused on, aside from completing the task by causing the most mayhem possible, was making sure that we found all the bonus hats and clothing in each level in order to cause all this chaos clad in the most ridiculous way possible. I think we made the right call in terms of gameplay choice, and if we didn’t then we wouldn’t know because we were too busy wearing a fireman’s helmet and dragon tail, feet flailing through the air, crashing through shelves of lab glassware, trying to tame a rampaging floor buffing machine as we cleaned the floor.
‘Good Job!’ is a dose of what I needed right now. In the current climate I’ve found myself shying away from starting larger pet-projects or intense gaming experiences. I think like many people, I tried to spin some positivity in to the situation by claiming that I’d do all those things I’ve put off doing… and yes, I have done some of that… but it’s also been difficult with everything happening in the world. It’s a game that’s easy to enjoy and well put together; each ingame dohickey or mechanic is used just enough so that you get maximum enjoyment out of it, but discarded before it gets old hat. The cute isometric infographic presentation has echos of the charm of those Portal Aperture Science promo videos and the gameplay contains just the right balance of silliness, challenge, and progression that we managed to chill out on the couch for a few evenings with it and relax.
It’s not long, and I doubt we’ll be returning to it having made it to the top floor, but ‘Good Job!’ is good fun and currently available on Switch – I’d also recommend taking someone along for the ride with co-op play.