Could you pass me that block of cheese? No, the other one, the blue one. No, that’s a slice of cake. The chee– oh, for heaven’s sake, I’ll get it myself. Honestly, you shouldn’t be playing sorting simulator Wilmot’s Warehouse with an attitude like that. You’re clearly not enthusiastic about the minimalist pile ’em up we can’t stop playing. Maybe a few of its motivational posters will change your mind.
In this game of not-quite-sokoban you are put in charge of a giant building and tasked with shuffling and sorting boxes of hats and shoes. Thankfully, it is more wholesome than the stressful, bottle-pissing nightmare of a real Amazon warehouse. But the posters are there to remind you: there is somebody else in charge. CJ the manager pops up now and again to reward you one of these new posters. They do not make your job easier. They don’t earn you more star-money. They’re just for looking at, the trivial and thoughtless gift of a distant, desk-bound overseer. Fuck you, CJ. Pay me.
I’m breaking regulations here, you know. You’re supposed to unlock these posters as you earn stars for speedy customer requisition fulfillment (that’s companyspeak for “delivering shoes on time”). They remind me of those awful inspirational posters you get in schools. But here they are also the lightest of light relief. The mildest criticism of working in a megastore for minimum wage. The equivalent of a joke muttered to yourself under your breath when management gathers everyone together for a “team dream” or a “care share” or whatever the goddamn Burke from Management has come up with now.
The beauty of Wilmot’s box fortress is that much of the game happens in your head. You memorise the layout of the warehouse so thoroughly, it becomes your domain. At one point, you get a robot sorting pal, but he is so rubbish, any devoted player will turn him off and put him in a dark corner. Only you can navigate this cavern of coffee cups. Only you know how to pile the butterflies correctly. You don’t need a poster to tell you that you’re good at your job.
The game’s final moments are a stupendous punchline, and the set-up is all in those posters, and the brief snippets of managerial chatter from CJ. I like a lot of things about Wilmot’s box-toting day job but it would not have half the character without its comic undercurrent of criticism about big business.
Anyway, we’re enjoying it, as you can see. So doubtless you’ll see even more chat about this Argos Catalogue simulator in the weeks ahead. For now, pass me that conker please.
This is a walnut, you’re fired.