The 9-to-5 Scale: Every Day The Same Dream

By Kieron Gillen on December 23rd, 2009 at 7:13 pm.

Ironically, I am also only wearing my pants.

Phuzz is disappointed in the RPS Combine. Normally, he sees games here which turn up on Boing Boing later. Except this time, Boing Boing has beat us to the punch. Man! My only excuse is all the Christmas shopping I haven’t been doing. Anyway, Every Day The Same Dream is an art game about the cubical grind. It’s monochrome, moody and magnificent (though I’m mainly saying that due to love of alteration). There is an ending, and it’s certainly worth playing if you’re one of us chin-strokers. To get you in the mood, here’s Dolly Parton.

I’m not sure why she’s singing to Mickey Mouse and friends. I’m sure no good can come of it.

, , , .

58 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    Alteration!

    At the office christmas party 9 to 5 got karaoke’d 6 times! Which is quite a lot, but always by the boys. The girls stuck to Madonna. Pssh, so 80’s.

  2. Taillefer says:

    “Alteration” actually works as a splendidly clever pun. Maybe it was a pedant trap! *SPRING*

    Either way, it’s rather brilliant. It feels like something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and that’s make a little game as a music video. Something like that works perfectly.

  3. Heliosicle says:

    What a strange expirience…

  4. Wilson says:

    I liked it. Lovely atmosphere. Didn’t feel like it was trying too hard.

  5. Bas says:

    I don’t get the ending, it’s too artsy. Did somewhat enjoy the rest though.

  6. Bret says:

    The important thing about the ending?

    The suicidal chap left his briefcase behind. Now you have 2 briefcases!

    • Bhazor says:

      Score!!!

    • Scandalon says:

      Not me, ’cause I was in my boxers the last time, a nearly truly free man! (But wait, I was in boxers…excited to snag a BRIEFcase…surely this must mean something! ;)

    • vanarbulax says:

      I wish you had more choice about the ending.

      I so wanted to go there, snag the extra briefcase, then return to my cubicle and work endlessly despite no-one else existing.

      I dunno seems more poetic to me anyway.

  7. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    Stroked a cow! Liked it!

    I dunno but there’s something maybe disingenuous about a computer game whining about enforced repetition, or maybe something naive about complaining about routine. Perhaps the programmer should stop eating regular meals?

    Or maybe the whole thing wasn’t entirely serious. I dunno.

    Liked it though! Stroked a cow!

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Stroked a car, then jumped off a roof!

      Odd game.

    • Bhazor says:

      And now your line has been pilfered by the hive mind.
      Basts.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      Bhazor:
      Barely gettin by,
      Its all takin And no givin.
      They just use your mind,
      And they never give you credit.
      Its enough to drive you
      Crazy if you let it.

  8. SRS BSNS says:

    Wow this is SO deep. That made me really think about stuff, important stuff………………..

    ……like closing my browser window and attend to play REAL games. Srsly what people call “art” these days. It’s just sad that those zombies swallow that crap and praising it as “art”.

    • Hmm says:

      Yeah, man. Look at ‘em all!

      People who dismiss things as arty are as annoying as those who praise something for being arty, with the implication being that’s the only valid way to enjoy it. It’s an alienating view. You don’t have to consider this art to get something from it.

    • Bhazor says:

      Personally I just thought it was a cute wee adventure game with a bit of great music.

      But SRS BSNS, do please tell us what games we are allowed to enjoy.

    • TeeJay says:

      Calling something an “art game” isn’t in itself saying it is good or bad, it’s just a useful description, like “real-time strategy” or “first-person shooter”. You could also call it an “interactive cartoon” or “interactive animation”.

      You could equally object to the word “game” since it is debatable how far we are “playing” anything – ie what are the ‘choices’, ‘challenges’, ‘rules’, can it be ‘won’ etc.? Maybe things can qualify if they simply are made in a ‘videogame format’ even if they have no or minimal ‘game mechanics’?

      “Art game” is therefore a fairly useful term for ‘this kind of thing’ even if you decide something hasn’t got much ‘art’ or much ‘game’ in it.

    • Flobulon says:

      Why are you taking a guy called “SRS BSNS” seriously?

    • Aisi says:

      Cause arguing with morons is easy, duh!

  9. Helm says:

    That was pretty nice, sorta something I’d have liked to make. It’s interesting how interactivity works to its advantage because if it were a book or a movie we’d watch someone try to escape his routine with small things, here the ‘gameish’ aspect of it forces us to reexamine how to step out of our own limited options creatively.

    The ending was sad but I’m not convinced that’s where this all should necessarily lead to.

  10. jRides says:

    Jesse Stiles’ music was outstanding, the rest of his stuff not so.

  11. Hybrid says:

    The art fits well, the music has just enough variation to be entertaining, and the minimalist approach coincides with the main idea. It’s the point where you discover you don’t have to do anything that really makes this stand out, though.

  12. Metal_Circus says:

    Not interesting or meaningful or anything. Somewhat heavy handed message. Incredibly dull to play. Is probably more art than game, really. And even then the art is somewhat lacking.

  13. TCM says:

    I have no idea what just happened.

  14. Linfosoma says:

    I enjoyed it.

  15. Richard J says:

    Ah, I don’t mind arty pretentious games, but I do has a right peculiar disliking for crushingly obvious agitprop, y’know?

  16. gulag says:

    That settles it. New year, new job.

    Fuck this noise.

  17. CMaster says:

    I seem to be stuck.
    Killed self,
    Got fired,
    Went with homeless man.
    These things all seemed to make the woman in the lift reduce the number of steps left.
    However nothing I do now seems to…

    Also, do you mean cubicle KG? I was thinking you were making some weird metaphor about work being like a cube at first…

    • Linfosoma says:

      @ CMaster:

      I belive you are missing petting the cow. You need to get of your car.

    • CMaster says:

      Seems I’m especially dense (or not suited for this game).
      Still have “one last step” after petting cow. Also slightly horrified that despite my repeated attempts to cause a car crash, never tried getting out.

    • jonfitt says:

      Try catching a leaf.

    • Hattered says:

      @CMaster
      I was stuck a bit until I skipped talking to the wife in the morning.
      (edit: Nah, I went back to check and it doesn’t seem to be a trigger.)

      *SPOILERS?*
      The first part of the ending was interesting (especially as I assumed not talking to the wife was the last thing I did), but the end of the ending was lessened by it depicting something you’ve already done. It would have been more cohesive if you went up to the railing and watched some birds fly by instead. Unless the ultimate message is something along the lines of “You idiot.”

    • elyscape says:

      @Hattered
      Or perhaps if you turned into a flock of birds and flew off.

    • Hattered says:

      @elyscape
      That would be properly absurd. They only had six days though and deciding upon a good ending can be difficult.

  18. Ian says:

    Well that was cheerful.

  19. Bema says:

    Mmmmm. I think prehaps people are giving this too much praise? Certainly intresting and it looked good…but i’m not convinced by the ending. Although that’s mainly because I can’t work it out and what it’s meant to mean. Good effort though.

  20. Bret says:

    Thinking about it, the music reminded me a little of the Velvet Underground circa “The Velvet Underground and Nico”.

    Am I unique in this regard?

  21. madrain says:

    Obviously the point of the ending was that even in death you are not doing anything original or different.

    Great game. Too bad most people are too dull to get it.

    • A-Scale says:

      Madrain

      Thank you for pointing out what the ending means. I like to think that I’m philosophical and smart but I didn’t pick up that it was another jumper at all. Instead I figured that it was some sort of time loop that led you to see yourself jumping.

  22. The Walker says:

    That reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rkf5H7J-S0

    [Here be spoilers]

    I thought it was quite a nice game. It got a little rough towards the end, though. I was down with not dressing and going along with the homeless guy, but I think the cow and the cutaway to the leaf were both a tad ham-handed. What I liked about it compared to art games like Passage is that it actually required some effort on the part of the player. You could even say that the game’s message criticises that sort of gameplay; a fulfilling game life is more than just walking to the right.

    • TeeJay says:

      a fulfilling game life is more than just walking to the right

      …or accepting “missions” from random people in an elevator, and jumping off buildings just to rack up an extra point…

  23. A-Scale says:

    That really spoke to me. Not in a pretentious Fight Club, RATM way, but in a much deeper way. I felt joyful when I realized that even in the world of oppressing grayness there is joy to be found. It was also a very strange feeling to desire more affection from my wife, thinking that she was my way out of the monotony, only to see her leave. After she left I felt shocked, but once I got to the elevator I realized that I had bigger goals. The elevator lady also felt like a means to escape, but in the end she disappears without offering any real help.

    I also find it interesting that as you continue to be late the company continues to tank more and more, such that in the end everyone is gone but you and the jumper. I wonder whether our character (or all the people like him) are responsible for that loss and suffering.

  24. john t says:

    I love it just for that moment on the second day where i realized i didn’t HAVE to go to work. I was on my laptop this morning before going into work and thought about calling in sick just because of that.

    Then I went to work and sat at my cubicle for 8 hours anyway.

  25. Jake says:

    To cheerily quote Kefka:
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate
    Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate

    To quote Kafka:
    “When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams,
    he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”

  26. Hattered says:

    It seems to be from the same guy as ERGON/LOGOS.

    That said, the game brought this to mind, for some reason.

  27. godwin says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Wow this is SO deep. That made me really think about stuff, important stuff………………..

    ……like closing my browser window and attend to play REAL games. Srsly what people call “art” these days. It’s just sad that those zombies swallow that crap and praising it as “art”.

    What do you personally want out of “art” actually? Why does everyone expect a capsulised enlightening experience from this thing? Art as a term goes broad and deep, if you are placing it on a pedestal demanding it to work for you, the problem lies with your perceptions of it. This also brings to question what you want out of a “game”. And “life”, at that.

  28. robrob says:

    I stroked a cow just to try it.

    • The Walker says:

      I stroked a cow just to try it
      I hope my chickens don’t mind it
      It felt so wrong
      It felt so right
      Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
      I stroked a cow and I liked it
      I liked it

  29. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    getting name-checked on the front page of RPS == best christmas pressie this year :)

  30. Joseph Farthing says:

    @Flobulon:

    Serious bassoons?

  31. Vinraith says:

    Great music, great atmosphere, novel sense of exploration, but I’m not sure I understood the ending.

  32. BonusWavePilot says:

    @The Walker: you win Christmas.

  33. John says:

    Strangely enough, i don’t get how so any people though you were seeing yourself in the end. It was much clearer to me that it was someone else, some other worker.

    And this is, i suppose, the strength of games like these. Or Art Games, if you call them that. They seem to show different worlds, by using the differences between the players. For example, to me it was a clear example of those “Am i the only sane one?” kind of things, something i blame on my own view of the world, not much different from the one i’ve mentioned.

    How you were the only one capable of not dressing correctly, not turning off the tv, talking to the homeless person, stopping and exiting the car, watching the leaf, befriending the cow, getting late to work, all of these showed yourself as the only one noticing these things. As if no one else knew they were there.

    And in the end, you learn you weren’t. In the end, you learn the others were also suffering, getting to work on time, making sure they were going the right direction. But you were late. Everyone else has had enough. They can’t take it.

    So they all get away, or kill themselves. The way i see it, the jumper was the last one of them, one those workers you saw before, one of those people who you though couldn’t see anything beyond their work, who were happy with their world. But they weren’t. And because no one said a thing, it’s all over. No one asked for help, no one changed anything. They just offed themselves.

    Christ, this was big. Sorry about that.

    • Hattered says:

      @John
      I like your interpretation, though I find it amusing (you might also, given the “Strangely”) that you state you are unable to understand other people’s viewpoints while putting forth the idea that the game is about overlooking other people’s viewpoints. I’ll help you out a bit by explaining my own attempt at interpreting it (granted, I only played through once).

      Personally, I saw the game as taking place in a dream(/series of dreams, a bit like the Twilight Zone episode, “Shadow Play”). Because of this, I saw the elevator woman’s statement as a means of escaping the dream. The dream-ness of it was reinforced by the fact that the more severe changes in routine (getting fired, jumping off the building) don’t alter anything the next cycle (you still have a job and are alive, apparently). When everyone disappeared, I assumed they no longer existed and the dream was closing down. When I got to the balcony just to see someone else preparing to jump, I thought, “I’ve already seen this.” (At the time, I assumed it was myself because I also assumed no one else existed and it being myself fit the dream logic I expected.) Whatever the point of the ending, the impact (death-wise) is lessened by it being previously established that jumping doesn’t necessarily kill the jumper.

      Ultimately, my own interpretation has become that the game is about the ubiquity of routine and repetition. The ending is more of the same, with no real escape. Maybe you are a new person, but how would you tell?

  34. Eldoop says:

    @John/Hattered:

    When I saw that all the workers were gone, my first thought was that each cycle/day had you playing as another person, someone who found one of the escapes and never came back. I assumed that the game had simply followed this through for you, so that every other worker had found something, but you didn’t have to go through every single person. With this interpretation, the message seemed to be one of uniformity, that all these people had the same life, until they chose to take control of it and escape the mindless drudgery.