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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bored at work? Play "The Office: The Video Game"

With "The Office" on indefinite hiatus (do you think Michael Scott would walk the picket lines with the TV writers, or just deliver them some of that crummy pizza from Pizza By Alfredo?) how are you going to fill the time without your weekly doses of Dunder Mifflin? In the true spirit of the Scranton branch, whatever you do can't be in any way productive. In that case, I may have just the ticket.

Presenting "The Office: The Video Game."

No, Dwight, this isn't a prank. In the most inexplicable TV/video game tie-in since "Gilligan's Island," NBC turned over the rights for an "Office" video game to "casual" online game developer MumboJumbo.

Before you get your hopes up for a "Halo" parody featuring Michael as Sarge, blasting little Toby-shaped alien mutants, "The Office" game is more like "Root Beer Tapper." Or, in a reference that'll make me seem less like an old man, "Diner Dash."

You play as Jim, doing very uncharacteristic Jim things, such as working hard and trying to please his boss. The object of the game is to rush around the office, delivering files to coworkers, making copies and mailing shipments. You compete against other characters, such as Dwight, Andy, Angela and Michael. You get occasional help from Pam, who will provide you with pranks to pull on your opponents. But don't expect anything funnier than callbacks to old jokes, such as Dwight beating up a pinata, or Kelly talking Ryan to death. The designers likely noticed the lack of comedy, and to make up for it provided a laugh track for every successful prank. (A laugh track? This is supposed to be an "Office" game, not "According to Jim.")

Hardcore fans will pick up on every gag, but if you don't get one the first time, just hang in there, because the game will repeat it ad nauseum before it's over. If the designers' point was to make a repetitive, annoying experience similar to a real office, hooray! they succeeded. But all griping aside, it's still such a bizarre kick to be playing an "Office" video game at all. The gameplay is enjoyable enough for what it is, and at least for the free hour demo, there's fun to be had in manuevering a bobblehead Jim around the familiar layout of Dunder Mifflin, interacting with other creepy little bobblehead characters. It's a pale substitute for the show, but I'll take what I can get.

... That's what she said.

-- Adam Reinhard,

The game is available to download here for $20, or for a free hour trial.

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If the designers' point was to make a repetitive, annoying experience similar to a real office ... Well put.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 16, 2007 at 9:01 AM  


Great find with the Pizza By Alfredo Web site. At first I thought they were humorless pie makers with poor writing skills. Now I have an appreciation for how they spun the "hot circle of garbage" comment by Kevin.

I'm also hungry now.

- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At November 16, 2007 at 9:26 AM  

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