Wait, Computer Games That Look Like Office Productivity Apps?
By Matt Peckham
Pilot a spaceship, paddle a ball, even play horizontal Tetris, all while crafting reports, cutting costs, and scanning monthly performance charts…or at least appearing to. It’s the latest way to avoid work while looking like you’re furiously engaged in it.
The brainchild of four developers from the Netherlands, CantYouSeeImBusy.com teases a collection of free Flash-based mini games that let you slack off, chameleon-like, by adopting the form of an office productivity suite. Each one opens like a full-screen pop-up and offers a panic button that’s smarter than the average escape hatch: Tap the space bar and the “game” elements vanish, leaving just the “productivity” features in place.
“Let’s face it, we all want to relax every now and then, but still want to appear professional or busy!” reads the site intro. “That’s why all the games at CantYouSeeImBusy.com are designed in a way that nobody can see that you’re gaming. In fact, your boss and colleagues will think that you’re working harder than ever before.”
Remember Lunar Lander? “Leadership” trades the moon’s surface for an Excel line graph, adds a line above, then tests your ability to pilot a ship between the two lines from one side of the “spreadsheet” to a flat “landing spot” on the other.
How about Breakout? “Breakdown” morphs a Word-like document into a tennis match between you and snips of corporate jargon. The horizontal scrollbar at the base of the document becomes your racket, and instead of zapping bricks, you’re targeting blocks of words.
And everyone’s heard of Tetris, but how about “Cost Cutter”? Vertical bars in an Excel-style spreadsheet march from left to right, and you have to click like-colored segments to knock them out of the chart.
The site lets you enter your “company name” and uses it to track high scores. It also displays a “cost calculator based on an average annual European income of €31,500 (about $43,000 USD) that aggregates the time spent playing games by each visitor.
Total cost of the site for the economy as of this posting: €4,548,757, or about $6.2 million USD.