10 awesome PC games that feel just like work

Desperate for a new line of work, but unwilling to go through the drudgery of going back to school? Playing any of these incredible PC games is like a virtual career change.

Back to the daily grind

You're a cog in the corporate machine: Stuck in a cube, bathed in fluorescent light, and doomed to answer the same banal emails and phone calls over and over.

But then quitting time comes and you're free—at least for a while. How should you recuperate?

How about firing up one of these awesome PC games that feel like a refreshing career change.

We start out with a game that gives you absolute power to manage an entire city.

Feel better? Great. Now quit daydreaming and get back to work!


Mayors never get enough respect. Running an entire city is a tough job, but someone has to do it, and that person is you. Take the reins as both mayor and city planner in SimCity to live out a thankless career.

You’ll need a forward-thinking mindset to create a great, self-sustaining symbiotic society. Zone different regions to serve essential functions such as mining, education, manufacturing, tourism, or maybe a shopping supercenter.

Of course, all your hard work could come crashing down when an earthquake hits, or a giant monster tears through downtown.

Check out our review.

Kerbal Space Program

How can a long commute be interesting? Try commuting to the Moon!

Take charge in Kerbal Space Program to build rocket ships, plan missions, and perform experiments to discover new technologies. Your sci-fi fantasies come to life—and then come crashing down if they don’t comply with the game’s realistic physics.

Start out with the simple stuff: Shoot a rocket high into the atmosphere and have it gently parachute down. Then work your way to the challenging stuff: Achieve orbit, set a course to the Moon, plant a flag, and collect samples. Make it home safely so you can start on your next mission.

After all, it's not rocket sci—oh, wait.

World of Warcraft

What can you look forward to while you grind the day away at work? Jumping into World of Warcraft and grinding the night away.

Few games feel more like a job. Choose a career, follow orders, rinse, repeat. Even when you join up with friends, you’ll have a role to fill. Heal wounds, tank an enemy, or dole out damage— the group will rely on your specialty. Welcome back to being a cog in the machine!

The worst part? There are bosses everywhere, looking to reprimand your poor work ethic with their fists. On the upside, hard work will earn you bonuses in the form of sweet weapons and armor. Who needs cash when you can slay monsters and pillage their loot?

Euro Truck Simulator 2

An all-too-familiar sense of dread creeps into your mind the moment you leave the office. You’re about to engage in the drudgery of your daily commute. You’ll soon be driving long distances, battling traffic, and fruitlessly flippin’ the radio dial in search of decent tunes.

Take a detour and find open road in Euro Truck Simulator 2. Climb into the driver’s seat of a big rig, pick up your cargo, tune into one of the many live European radio stations, and drive your cares away.

Just remember what you learned in driver training, or you'll be ticketed and your reputation will suffer. This isn't Grand Theft Auto, after all.

Check out our review.

Cart Life

A grayscale palette, simple graphics, and slow gameplay set the perfect mood for playing as a struggling small business owner trying to make ends meet in Cart Life.

Choose the existence of a single-mother barista, an immigrant newsstand operator, or a caffeine-addicted baker. It’s up to you to balance their never-ending work lives and hectic personal responsibilities.

Mini games, quick-time events, and math problems all stand in the way of making the money you need for rent, supplies, and transportation. How long can you last?

Check out our review.

Papers, Please

Life-changing choices are tough, and you’ll make plenty in Papers, Please.

You're an immigration official working for the fictional eastern-European country of Arstotzka. Examine passports, follow the rules, and decide to approve or deny people entry into the country.

Not everyone is who they claim to be. For every few legitimate asylum seekers, you'll encounter a smuggler, spy, or terrorist attempting to sneak in. Most everyone has a sob story—genuine or contrived—that will tug at your heartstrings, but the rules become more strict with each passing day.

Will you deny someone’s last glimmer of hope, or risk your neck for what you feel is morally right? Check out our review.

Football Manager 2014

You've finally caught up on your email, all the paperwork has been filed, and you can't wait to sit down to watch an exciting game of soccer (football for our international readers).

But before you can do that in this game, you’ll need to read some email, do a bit of paperwork, and scout your own team.

In Football Manager 2014, you play the head honcho, tasked with making the big decisions for a big-league soccer organization. Recruit the next big star, then transfer him to another team. Listen to your expert staff or run things your way. Keep up with current events by spending a lot of time on email.

There's work to do before the fun begins!

Rocksmith 2014

Not every job is a drag. Sometimes you get to jump onstage before an arena full of screaming fans and play the rock concert of your life. Of course you'll need to work pretty hard to get there.

Rocksmith 2014 takes your dusty old guitar and hooks it up to your PC for some real guitar lessons. The game caters to beginners and experts alike with training exercises, educational music games, and big-name songs to learn.

You might never fill an arena, but maybe you can get a dozen fans to come see you play in some smoky bar before your mid-life crisis crashes down on you.

Civilization V

There's no greater responsibility than building a nation from fledgling settlement to conquering empire.

That’s exactly the role you’ll play in Civilization V.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re the only society in pursuit of world domination. There's no shortage of competitors who will stop at nothing to come out on top. Your path to victory will require strategizing and forward thinking—just the ticket for a tired mind after work.

Will you be a warmonger, a science buff, a ruthless capitalist, or governor of a tourist destination? The choice is yours!

Payday 2

Another day, another $100,000. Payday 2 is no desk job, unless you count hunkering down behind a bank teller’s station while you shoot it out with the cops.

You play a gunman in a team of thieves in search of big stakes and bigger takes. We’re not talking about convenience-store stickups: These heists are more along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven.

If anyone gets curious as to what you do for a living, just tell them you're self-employed—an entrepreneur, you might say.

Check out our full review.

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