It Is as If You Were Doing Work: A Game

Game designer Pippin Barr’s game It Is as If You Were Doing Work does not only suggest a potential future without human labor and the sense of value we draw from it, it positions you as an agent in that very world.

Game creator Pippin Barr writes about the game, “I decided to style in interface so it looked like Windows 95 to some extent. Having a kind of clunky ‘old-timey’ UI style made the game lighter hearted . . . . It pretty quickly settled into more of a desktop OS model of windows and dialogs popping up, with the user performing tasks that both looked and felt like work: typing, moving sliders, clicking on icons.”

As you click your mouse and tap on your keyboard, you are interacting with that future in ways that go beyond an intellectual understanding of its possibility: you are able to entertain how it might feel. You are able to experience the thrill of achievement associated with success in the game as well as the inevitable hollowness that the cumulative “achievements” lead you toward.

Now, get to work—playing!


About Pippin Barr

Pippin Barr is an assistant professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts and associate director of the Technoculture, Art and Games Lab at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. A game designer, he is the author of How to Play a Video Game.