50 games to play at work

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Playing games at work shouldn’t just been seen as idling. You are exercising your mind, taking it to a mental gym. So we've compiled a list of 50 games you can play at work.

We’re going to assume that you, the gaming employee, know about FreeCell, Minesweeper and Solitaire, which can be readily played in any Windows machine. We’re also going to assume that you have internet access that isn’t too badly filtered and limited by The Man. Many large companies will filter-out games sites, and sites such as Facebook that have embedded games, but those that don’t give you a window into a world of gaming. More obscure games and game sites are often the best way to get around these filters, because they won’t be a common destination for other gamers in the workplace. And please be very careful about installing games on your PC without the permission of your computer services people. Because they might give you a proper shouting at.

Remember to always have a work-related document open in the background so that you can Alt+Tab to it when the boss appears. You may also want to consider fitting one of those rearview mirrors to your monitor, too. And get into interactive fiction: there’s an endless supply of great games at IFArchive.org, and playing them looks like you’re just working on a text file. Cunning? It’s almost as if we’ve done this before. If you've got more suggestions for games to play at work, register, and let us know in the comments.

50. Madness Accelerant

A hyperbolic side-scrolling shooter that lasts about 15 minutes, and never stops bombarding you with lunacy. It could hardly be simpler to play, but the effect is intense. Think Metal Slug games pushed through a cartoon sieve.

49. Monkey Lander

Monkeys, as we all know, started using spacecraft to collect fruit in the 1970s, and they’ve never looked back. Now you can join them, while avoiding various obstacles that threaten to stop you touching down safely.

48. The Walls are not Cheese
...But they are fuel for your weapon. As a small purple square you must kill – or be killed by – the blue squares. Blast through the scenery as you go, and hoover-up the debris. Conclusive evidence that graphics don’t matter.

47. Woosh/Waker
Abstractivist versus narrativist: the game. Two puzzle/platformers in parallel, one that has a story explaining its events, and one that is entirely abstract. Yes, it’s an exercise in philosophy, done via a browser game.

46. Demolition City
Destroy each building, using limited dynamite. Those ELSPA warnings about implied alcohol or partial violence in games are all very well, but this game should come with one that says “This Is Going To Keep You Fixed To The Screen Until You Beat It.” Because it will.

45. Canabalt
Games requiring a single button press for interaction might seem too simplistic to ever really be engrossing, but that’s not the case with break-neck running game Canabalt. All you can do in this game is jump, but – after a few minutes of this – it’s all you’ll want to do.

44. Beggar
While you’re toiling in the office, spend a little time thinking about those people who aren't going to get a cheque at the end of the working month. Do it while playing a side-scrolling puzzler where you have to work for your supper, goddammit.

43. 1066
One of the best and most successful of Channel 4’s educational games – a turn based strategy in which Saxons, Vikings and Normans war upon each other. It even supports multiplayer games.

42. Wayfarer
A certain kind of gamer will fall in love with this. It’s a surprisingly sophisticated dungeon crawler whose stickman aesthetic belies real depth. Adventure through randomly generated levels – but read the instructions!

41. Pizza City
Adult Swim’s site hosts a whole bunch of games, but the stand-out masterpiece is the super-retro GTA clone, Pizza City. It’s basically an open world driving game in which you must deliver pizzas. And it gives me melted-cheese flashbacks.