It's a Tuesday afternoon and, right now, the weekend feels like a million years away. It's a slow day at the office and as you stare at your desktop thinking about the next mind-numbing tasks you should complete, that little devil on your shoulder whispers in your ear. "Hey," it says, "you've already worked pretty hard today. Why not take a little break? Maybe… play a game?"
For many of us, slacking off at work is inevitable—if somewhat shameful. But last week we wanted to ditch the guilt and laugh about all the crazy ways we find ways to avoid doing work, so we asked you to share your best stories of slacking off to play PC games. Nearly one hundred of you commented and we've rounded up the best, most clever stories to share with you today. We're so ashamed of you.
(Just kidding, the effort some of you will go to dodge responsibility and play games at work is inspiring).
There's a bizarre sense of liberty that comes from working a job you know is going to go belly up in a few months—assuming you're financially secure enough to weather the pending unemployment. But when you know the end is coming, you might as well throw caution to the wind and play Doom.
It's coincidence that you guys used Brutal DOOM on the article's image, because I used to play it all the time on my last full-time job. We were a 24/7 tech support agency of a bank, my turn was from 3pm to 11pm, but after 6pm the manager went home, leaving only the operators and the supervisors. We used to turn the whole place into LAN party every night, during weekends when we used to receive less calls we even ordered pizzas. At first we just watched some old movies and played on SNES and Genesis emulators, but one day I showed up to work with a flash drive with Brutal Doom v19 and a few megawads. I sent it to everyone through the company's shared network, and we played every day. I used to bring more map packs to play on a weekly basis.
At some point the bank decided they were paying us "too much" (just barely above minimum wage), and they wanted to find someone who would accept minimum wage for that job. They started to migrate the calls into another company. We started to receive less call every day, which meant more time without doing anything, which meant more time playing. By the end of the year everybody knew that we would be fired in a few months, we were playing on broad daylight, even when the managers were still present, and even the supervisors would join us on Brutal Doom and Counter-Strike matches. Nobody was giving a damn anymore. Once we had a server running Brutal Doom and Doom 2 Reloaded with about 15 people, with two supervisors included.
Save and quit
If you're going to play games at work, I think the best advice would be to not keep that game running in the background all day. It gives you plausible deniability ("I was only playing during lunch!"), which this commenter could really have used.
At my last job, I left the same Total War campaign running on my work computer for almost two years. Granted, I was barely giving it any attention. At lunch, I'd take a turn or two, and then back to work. However, my employer added Carbon Black [a security program that monitors computer processes] to all of the work computers, and it was pretty obvious they were checking the running processes on your machine. It wasn't too long later I was laid off. Related? Maybe!
No one suspects a thing
If you're an expert slacker, you're probably well aware of tools that mask your lack of productivity by turning sites like Reddit into Microsoft Outlook. But if you're a programmer, the trick is simply playing a game that looks like programming.
I work as a systems administrator and I managed to play through Hacknet without any of the work mates noticing it was actually a game. I even had one colleague comment on how "that looks a bit complex" as they walked by whilst I was tapping away commands.
The dark side of slacking
When I asked for these stories a week ago, I imagined most of them would be pretty lighthearted and funny. This one is a bit different, but it's worth sharing because sometimes slacking can go way too far.
I'm an insurance agent working out of my house. Maybe ten years ago I got obsessed with World of Warcraft and started playing it in between customer calls. I got so into the game that I started setting my phone to go directly into voicemail because every time someone called I got mad that my game was interrupted. I would return the calls pretty quickly, but it gave me a chance to get to a proper stopping point (but this is terrible customer service in the insurance business, and I had told everyone to call me directly instead of the 1-800 line). But then things got even worse when I stopped making sales calls to Real Estate agents, car dealerships, and banks. Pretty soon I was getting basically nothing but residuals. I finally quit World of Warcraft when my wife asked why I wasn't bringing in the bucks anymore, but it was hard. I have an obsessive personality and staying away from the game was like kicking an addiction.
Nothing will stop me
The biggest hurdle to playing PC games at work is always the hardware. Unless you work at some fancy architecture or graphic design firm, you're probably rocking a dusty IBM or Compaq with a speedy Intel Core 2 Duo and a whopping 512mb of RAM. That didn't stop this commenter though.
The computers at my workplace are ancient artifacts built from back in the Windows XP era and somehow still manage to boot. The one at my desk would lag just from opening internet browser and Excel. Doesn't stop me from playing Neverwinter Nights in 480p, though.
It's an embarrassing experience getting caught by your boss while you're slacking off. But sometimes those experiences can have a really weird twist.
In my previous job, I had five months of downtime thanks to some clients that contracted my team without actually having work for us to do. As a result, we spent a lot of time in the office just trying to keep ourselves entertained. Didn't take me too long to load up half my GoG library on a flash drive to while away the hours, usually with Netflix going on my second monitor. After a week, I had a pretty comfortable routine going, which naturally resulted in my boss catching me at it. In a surreal twist, she apologized that there wasn't enough work to keep me occupied and thanked me for keeping myself busy. It still amazes me how much money I earned while playing Zeus and Poseidon.
Mike is another commenter with a funny story with an amusing twist about getting busted while slacking off. I guess procrastination can pay off?
Interestingly enough, it's my love for PC gaming that got me my cush job!
Long story short, I was working as a shipping assistant here making crap pay when one day I was watching some Twitch streams on my break. The IT Manager walks by and spots me watching and we talk about our mutual love for PC gaming. A few weeks later, he asks if I want to come work with him instead!
Two years later, I'm making decent money and literally playing games ALL day WITH my boss, haha. Can't complain one bit.
If you've ever worked a job where you feel exploited and overworked—where more responsibility keeps being thrown your way without fair compensation—you know how frustrating it can be. I can't say I condone the way Ryan handles the situation, but I admire his determination to go down in a blaze of glory.
It has been a grand total of six months since I gave enough of a shit to actually be productive at work. After a series of escalating responsibilities were placed squarely upon my shoulders without a modicum of compensation I decided to be as much of a drain to my office as possible. So one day after doing the absolute bare-assed minimum I installed Civilization 5 on my workstation and haven't looked back since. No big thing since, on top of telemarketing administration, sales, office management, and middleman between our office and corporate, I am also the IT guy for the whole building. Guess who doesn't get paid for four out of five of those hats I'm forced to wear? Surely not digital Montezuma and his very real productivity-based revenge.
The key to slacking off properly is to make sure you always have good visibility of your surrounding area—because your boss will sneak up on you and catch you red-handed. Armaan, fortunately, could see his boss coming from a literal mile away.
A friend and I were interning in a small architecture firm where there was only one other employee apart from my friend, the boss, and I. Sometimes it'd just be me and him in the office, and on those occasions I'd quickly whip out my controller and we'd play FIFA on my laptop!
Even better, you could see the road from the window near our desk, meaning when the boss returned we'd have a headstart of about five seconds where we'd disconnect the controller, throw it into my open bag, alt+f4, and return to our desks pretending to work. Good times!
Of course, the next best option is playing games on a netbook so small no one can tell what you're doing behind your workstation, like Lilith did.
I used to work night shift at an MHMR hospital on the switchboard. I actually worked swing shift, 12-hour day shifts 7am to 7pm on all Saturdays and Sundays, and then eight-hour night shifts from 11pm to 7am every Monday through Thursday, with all Fridays off to rest. Sundays were the worst, I'd get off a 12-hour shift then have to stay up all night and go to bed Monday mid-morning to get up to work that night.
So, being a hospital switchboard, there's lots of calls but they are spaced out, and they take no time and, once you're used to how it all works, no attention to connect calls. So I started bringing in a deck of cards and some books. Then I started playing myself in matches of Magic: The Gathering to tune some of my decks. Then I bought a tiny Netbook so I could play games and browse the net, strictly prohibited by company policy, but I got the Netbook because it was so short it couldn't be seen behind my desk and I could very quickly and easily hide it away when someone was coming by.
I spent two years using the company's ethernet to play Wrath of the Lich King, Minecraft, Morrowind, and doing the vast majority of my Sobitur Facility mod for Morrowind while on the clock at work. They started to get wise to the strange internet activity and usage during my shift, and demanded hardware ID's and some other things through commands I was to type in on my Netbook, but I did it on my laptop instead, which I always had with me but never used except for college work. They never knew about the Netbook so they never got wise when the ID's from my laptop didn't match the ID's on their network, and apologized to me and assumed it was someone else at the facility, but they could never figure out who.
It's not slacking if you finish early
Nothing beats the feeling of finishing up an assigned task ahead of schedule. A good employee would do the honorable thing and notify their boss so they can get started on a new task. But this article isn't about those employees—it's about the ones that instead spend the remaining time they were allotted playing Terraria.
I'm from Argentina and one big company (250,000-plus employees around the world) was starting a Network Operation Center in our local office. It was part of a bigger plan of creating a global delivery service location. They hired me and another guy to work on the start-up and mimic other locations in which they already had a similar structure and workgroups (like India or UK).
So in our first week, they sent a German to teach us the basics, and we were supposed to learn how to do our job in less than three months. We did in three or four weeks, probably. Do you know how we spent the rest of the time? Playing Terraria.
Too bad I don't have a screenshot right now, but we managed to beat the Wall of Flesh and play the game on nightmare difficulty. We had a fortified castle with lava and spike traps on both sides. At some point, we passed several blood moons successfully without effort. The sad part of it is that I only needed one more Broken Hero Sword to craft the True Night's Edge, which was essential to create the (back then) most powerful sword in the game—the Terra Blade.
Workload started to increase and we stopped playing it. Now we remember it as a magical moment that bonded us for ever as bros. Technically, we were paid to play Terraria, therefore we were pro players for at least 2 months. Love you, Mario.
You loyal slackers
Officially, I would never condone reading PC Gamer while you're supposed to be working. But more than a few of you chimed in to say you do just that, and we're all very flattered to be the thing that distracts you from a deadline. One commenter, however, has a hilarious story about being caught.
The height of my at-work slacking is reading PC Gamer. It would probably be a different story if my monitor weren't visible through the window and office door. One time I was browsing and there was a vaguely torture-pornish picture of Lara Croft on an ad just as the company owner walked by.
Owner: "Are you looking at porn at work?"
Me: "No, that was just an ad for a game."
Owner: "An ad for a porn game?"
Me: "No, a regular game."
Owner: "A regular game where they tie women up?"
Me: "...yes. It's complicated."
This is just a small sampling of what you slackers had to share. Be sure to check out the comments in last week's article if you want to read more.
Some comments were edited for grammar and clarity.