The life of the diligent office worker can be a thankless one. A daily commute to the same headquarters. The same elevator. The same ding as you enter the same second floor. The same march to your desk via the same coffee machine. The same faces. The grueling rat race can mark a life of monotony. Unless your’re doing it in a “Windows 95-looking office simulation game”, such as Payroll [official site]. Against a Seinfield-esque MIDI soundtrack, fetch and carry errands never felt so damned enjoyable. Go on, stick this on in another tab. Let’s get in that late-20th century mood.
Imagine The Stanley Parable, only powered by a ’90s FPS engine rather than Source. And instead of a multitude of purposefully-over-the-top, metaphor-induced endings, you’ll find a few normal, relatable ones that do no less to underscore the tedium of uninspiring work. That’s Payroll:
On my first day in the office, I unpacked my things at my desk. I wandered about my new surroundings and mixed with my new colleagues. I sat back down and a coffee mug flashed intermittently on my monitor, signifying break time. I like it here, I thought to myself. The rest of my week saw me take on the role of the office dogsbody as I carried out a range of menial jobs: for HR, for the law department, for the janitor. I fixed a broken fax machine and a vending machine. I attended a colleague’s birthday lunch. I fell asleep at a meeting, but I think I got away with it. By the end of the week I’d had enough. I handed in my letter of resignation, collected my wages and received a gold watch from the gaffer. Huh, perhaps my hard work didn’t go unnoticed.
As I made my way to the exit, I passed my replacement in the lobby. He held his application close to his chest. He looked nervous. Sucker.
Upon leaving I received my appraisal:
You peed without washing your hands -50 pts
You were a social butterfly 50 pts
You received a gold watch for years of service 500 pts
Total 500 pts
Worker Rank: Busybody
Well, there you have it. Employee of the month.
If you fancy fumbling around in a two-decade old office, Payroll is available on itch.io for one solitary US dollar.