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50 games to play at work

The top ten

These games might require some installation, but they're awesome for skipping back to the desktop to avoid the all-seeing eye of middle management.

10. Spaced Penguin

Arguably one of the all-time classic browser puzzle games, Spaced Penguin sees you trying to slingshot a penguin around the gravity of various planets to get him back to his spaceship. Compelling, and wonderful when it finally clicks.

9. Puzzlebloom

This also requires the Unity plugin for your browser. Assuming you've got that safely installed then PuzzleBloom is one of the most beautiful 3D puzzles based on parasitic mind control that you're ever likely to play.

8. Kickabout League

Fierce soccer types might not like bending the rules (no throw in), but this multiplayer footie game is still a magnificent achievement. You might experience some lag issues, but that's a small price to pay.

7. Little Wheel

This little robo-adventure is one of the best things online. It's only about 20 minutes long, but that's like saying that Portal is “only a couple of hours”. Shortness that encapsulates such sweetness is rare indeed.

6. Desktop Tower Defense

Foes are coming! Place armed towers to thwart them! Arguably the most significant tower defence game of all time, this will even help you feel like you're still working, due to it being set on a, er, desktop. Brilliant sandbox mode, perfect missions. It's a micro-masterpiece.

5. Doom

Every computer in existence is required to have Doom installed to test its capabilities. It's your duty to make sure the PC you use at work is not a Doom virgin. There's even a browser version if you can't get it on the hard drive.

4. Minecraft

Multiplayer building might seem an unusual genre to sit at the top of a game list, but Minecraft's gentle pace and browser interface mean you can take your time to plant a few bricks, jump back to work when the boss enters the room, then back again.

3. Travian

Astonishingly popular strategy MMO Travian has made its reputation largely by keeping the office-bound entertained. With a neat village-building mechanic and the opportunity to enter a large clan game, it's got just enough depth.

2. Defcon

Perfectly-paced for gaming in the office, a slow bout of thermonuclear war is all any office drone needs to cheer up. Introversion's multiplayer wargame even comes with a 'boss mode', allowing you to hit a key and appear to be doing your work.

1. Laser Squad Nemesis

For the PC gamer there can be no better game to play at work than Laser Squad Nemesis. Following an unusual play-by-email format, this brilliant isometric strategy game allows you to take your time and play when you are ready to make your move.

Jim Rossignol