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The best computer games to play at the office

Duke Nukem

A couple of you who responded to my inquiry about your forbidden behavior at the office had some funny remarks about my gaming history. This being Friday, and a gray, sodden day here in New York, I thought I would spend a little time on the subject instead of, you know, working.

Rebecca from Philadelphia, ever her enthusiastic self, was excited by one of my early game choices. "YOU PLAYED RISE OF THE TRIAD TOO?! I’m so happy!" she writes. "I really thought my brother and I were the only ones. No one EVER knows what I’m talking about when I mention that game. I LOVED THAT GAME!!"

So did I. That was a bloody, violent enterprise with lots of levels and cool weapons and a weird bouncing mechanism you could use to ice bad guys from above. Or good guys from below. I'm not sure which. It came in a line that included Wolfenstein, Doom, Doom 2, Doom 3, the offensive Duke Nukems, the incomparable Quake series, and Unreal. The genre then entered into the massive, crazy iterations like Halo that can no longer be played in a work environment.

At this point, as far as I know -- and please correct me if I am wrong -- there aren't really any fun, light, quick-moving first-person shooters that work at the office anymore. They're all huge and gangling and take enormous hardware resources and huge disk space. A fair number of them require an internet hookup and run like macadam on a corporate network.  Hence my opting for lighter, less graphic and disk-intensive games.

The other consideration is that, for some reason, most people seem to like to play these great first-person shooters not against the Artificial Intelligence, but against other players. I never did and still don't. If I wanted to deal with vicious, predatory strangers, I'd go to a business meeting.

MMORPGs, likewise, are not only highly unsuitable to any kind of business career -- with the possible exception of a permanent seat in the back of the mail room -- but also turn you into a mountainous slab of pimpled jelly. For proof of this fact, please see perhaps the greatest episode of South Park ever made, "Make Love, Not Warcraft." I can say no more.

Allan from Orlando doesn't seem to be aware of these considerations and, being his usual amusing self, takes a dimmer and slightly more sarcastic view of the situation. "Well," he writes, "your early taste in games was cool, but since then…. I mean, Soduku/Mahjongg? Have you just given up? Next you’ll be wearing a beret and black socks with tennis shoes."

I know what he means. I'm a little ashamed of what I've got up on my screen these days. The thing is, for the office, games with repetitive matching are better, for the most part, than the great games I just mentioned. Honestly, how is one to go around fragging drooling monsters while you're in a meeting, or having a conversation, or even on a squawkbox.

People say, "What's that?" when an imp's head explodes or your wand vaporizes a dwarf. And when you get to a Boss level and are battling a huge zombie vampire? Forget about talking numbers on your headset. Either the director of finance will end up getting greased or you will.

Anyhow, I think you see where we're going with this. The Duke (pictured above) has been replaced by the much more sedate sixth-generation Tetris-type games like Cradle of Rome, or mutated board games like the ones Allan finds so ridiculous. There are times, sadly, when I even find myself playing those things where you have to find hidden objects like a shoe, a wrench or a parrot hidden in the Victorian library. I used to do that kind of thing when I was six year old, reading Highlights for Children. It looks like the great days of office gaming just might be over.

Unless... unless... do you guys have any ideas? Are there wonks out there who have found a solution to this conundrum and are even as we speak chasing vicious warthogs down an imaginary path? Please. Let me know. I'm beggin' ya.

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I haven't logged on since my call center days, but there were once hundreds (thousands?) of short, light, fun diversions from the monotony of "Thank you for calling... my name is Mike, how can I help you?"

I usually play flash games at Pretty good community. But there is no way I could run new games on my new Dell laptop from my employer because of its low specs.

Heck, I can barely run the new games on my computer at home, which is why I'm more into consoles.

It's good to know that there's another human being out there who enjoys blowing up AI opponents to multi-player. I commute by car--I don't need to deathmatch any more.

As for webgames, Newgrounds does have a good selection, though you do have to sort through a fairly large pile of garbage to find the good ones. It may be worth using a plug-in like FlashGot for Firefox and downloading the games at home and emailing them to yourself. There is no small amount of objectionable content on Newgrounds.

You could always play your old games over again. If your work computer is too powerful there are always programs like MoSlow, which limit the framrate.

If you've got a serious executive level computer, you could always try the Civilization games. They're quiet and turn-based, but they have a habit of eating your soul. I've been clean for two months now, but it's really day to day.

I suppose if all else fails, you could buy a Nerf gun and shoot your underlings. That's like Quake, right?

Man..Mike! I'm very envious and could of used the stress relief. I worked in a call center once and never got to do that. They blocked the whole internet except the corporate website. Lucky you!

Personally, Sonic The Hedgehog or PacMan passes the time if I'm not in the mood for Tetris. And they are in an Excel File...perfect for gaming on the sly...

You know, you could always opt for Doom RPG on your cell phone. It has helped me pass through some brutal months.....

Desktop Tower Defense - I would go into 12 step to quit playing, but I can quit anytime I want. It's an internet game, so it's subject to blocking by the IT dept.

My two favorite games to run on the office LAN right now are Civ4 and Def-Con. As was posted earlier, Civ4 will steal your soul, so you need to be careful when handling that one.

Def-Con is a non-resource-intensive game that technically falls into the Real Time Strategy genre. It is highly reminiscent of wargame played at NORAD in the early Matthew Brodderick movie War Games. And the fun part is that while you can play head to head with up to 6 or 8 players, you can turn the speed way down so that the term "real-time" actually has some meaning. If you send your jets from London to Moscow, they'll take an hour to get there. That way, everyone sets their pieces in motion after coffee, get alerted to the enemy's actions during the day (the game will run minimized and alert you when there are in-game events that need attention), and finish annihilating the world by quitting time. Good times all around. You can download it at the uplifting URL of

I have had someone pass me a file containing many of the old/classic Nintendo games. Excite bike, Contra, Froger, Rampage etc. Perfect games for short sperts but you will need to turn your volume down during your phone calls.

Doom was by far the best at work game back in the day. Can I still get that somewhere?

Afternoon Bing, had to laugh when I saw this today. I know I may be a tad late on the comment but I'm sure you'll forgive that :)

I actually work in one of the few corporate jobs that allows for gaming in the office and promotes it, video game production. There are a few solutions to gaming on the sly or gaming on the usual substandard PC at work that I've found. Many coporate PCs use global profiles so you cannot actually install a decent game you bought in the store, or are too pathetically slow to run anything far beyond a good game of duke nukem (great choice btw) so this usually requires a bit of digging.

Good choices these days include the following:
Starcraft or Warcraft 3, both of which are very much not intense on your PC, can be installed without having your global profile have a hissy fit (install to a new folder in "my documents") and have great single player stories. They're RTS' though so that might not be your speed and may require you have a real mouse instead of one of those keyboard knobby things some people use.
Worms, in it's many incarnations this game never gets old. Ever. And if you have a buddy in the office somewhere that you'd like to play with (or 7, I think there's up to 8 players) you can easily run it over the network. Even a 486x66 used to be able to run this game sluggishly, so I'm going to bet your office PC can tough it out. There are newer incarnations with slightly better graphics out there to work with, but this series will definitely be enjoyable.
This may take a little hunting to get right, but there are Emulators and Roms for just about every classic gaming console, and all found online w/o a p2p file transfer. Great for the laptop users among us especially for the train ride.
And then in the end, one of the greatest additions to your gaming is either a DS or PSP for those train or bus rides you do twice a day. You'd be suprised how much gaming you get in there!

Great game list if you want to see movies at work you can check out

When I got promoted to Executive management I was told that I’d have to start using two monitors. One to do my regular daily work and another to monitor the queue to ensure quality service for all of our clients. That said the company didn’t have any of the tools needed to make this a reality. So guess who they sent out to get the parts? That’s right I spend a couple of hours looking pretty silly wandering around the computer department at my local Best Buy. I was told I needed to buy two switches so that my computer could switch between monitors without me having to program it to do so. I finally got it with the help from a really cool sales rep. Now I’m using both of them and it’s not as confusing as I once thought.

Well I mainly play simple flash games at my office .. sort of fun when competing scores with other colleagues


Why not try something different and emulate the role of many CEOs during the subprime mortgage crisis less than a year ago and play World Golf Tour. A Golf multiplayer online game found at:

Start a four ball with your co-workers in this addictive flash based game.
You've been warned.

One of the best computer games is Gemsweeper , a nonogram puzzle game from Gemsweeper is a logic puzzle and starts from a 5by5 puzzle to 30by30 puzzle.Nice graphics and theres a cute old man to help you out when you get stuck.The game tests your logical skills.Great fun and ideal for kids as well.