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Quit Your Job Simulator 2014, by Caelyn Sandel (as Colin Sandel)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Like a bloody steak - undercooked, but still pretty tasty., May 18, 2014

Let's get this first little tidbit out of the way, as it's been a carnivorous tick in my ear from about two minutes into booting this game up:

The title. Oh, the damn title.

When you slap a game with a moniker like Quit Your Job Simulator, you instill the player with pretty solid list of expectations - perform a marginal amount of the character's everyday work, get a feel for the tooth-grinding tedium of a cubicle's long-term resident, bear the assault of tyrannical supervisors and braindead colleagues alike, and take in some mind-numbing office lore around the water cooler. You know, before going postal on the copier and making obscene comments to anyone within earshot as I steal copper wiring out of the walls.

"But it clearly states that it's a horror story," I hear nobody in particular say. And I would point out that just in case you've never had a job that required you to clean a bathroom used by more than three people, there are a lot of jobs that would merit a 'horror' genre tag - even without all the surrealist imagery this game throws at you.

That aside, I enjoyed the short time I spent with QYJS. It's certainly well-written, and the author's done a fantastic job of giving you the basics of the situation without brow-beating you with details and poetics. The game is built with Twine in the gamebook style, making it user-friendly to those without IF know-how, while also making it far easier to speed through multiple replays when hunting alternative endings. The map is laid out well, to the point where you'll have a very clear mental picture of the office's layout and contents after your first backtrack.

(Spoiler - click to show) QYJS plays around with altered perception, and almost reminds me of a more intelligent application of the concepts behind a movie like The Happening. Or it would, if the game didn't end so quickly after the big reveal. You can escape the building by simply heading to the front door after submitting your resignation letter, and any possibility of death is placed squarely on player curiosity, which is a bit of a drag. The only real puzzle in the game is figuring out how to make your character angry enough to actually quit his job.

I would love to see the author expand upon this basic construct. Perhaps he could use this entry as an introductory chapter in a larger mystery, (Spoiler - click to show) or alternatively detail other individuals' encounters with the freaky spores.

The only thing keeping this from a higher rating is the scope of the story, though as a rapid-fire contest entry it's a solid little gamebook.

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