Crispy Gamer

Games for Lunch: WTF: Work Time Fun

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Developer: SCEJ

Publisher: D3 Publisher

Release Date: Oct. 16, 2006

System: PSP

ESRB Rating: T

Official Web Site

0:00 Comparisons to the WarioWare series had me seeking this one out, but just as a rental. Doesn't sound deep enough to warrant a purchase, based on what I've read.

0:01 There's a large, yawning cat behind the standard screen telling me not to remove the memory card. I press X and a low, distorted announcer's voice screams "WORK TIME FUN!" The screaming guy in the background reminds me of Dr. Tran.

0:02 The default character name is "WTF Jr." I wonder how many people actually choose that name. Also, there's a "?" option for gender. That's ... inclusive, I guess. The game also asks for my blood type. I don't even know!

0:03 An old-fashioned LED message board on a silver background. "You've got mail," says the voice. It's from "WTF Net." They're here to provide support for my e-mail. Um, good to know?

0:04 To the Placement Office we go. A blue-faced demon in a robe carries a beer. "Hey! Did you eat lunch? All right, now get to work," he says. In the background, sounds of whips and screaming. Holy f***, this game is messed UP!

0:05 Traffic Counter is the first game. "Count the people who appear from left and right. You'll lose if you count anything other than a person." Thrilling...

WTF: Work Time Fun

0:06 Robots, ducks, cats and gelatinous cubes waddle to and fro along with crude cartoons of people, all against a simple, hand-drawn black-and-white background. It's like something out of an R. Crumb book. I kind of like the low, repetitive chiptune music and the DOOM-style picture of my face in the bottom of the screen.

0:07 During Round 2, my avatar starts breathing heavily and screaming stuff like "Too Hard" and "Oh Jeez." Actually, it is pretty hard -- trucks and such are stopping me from getting a good view, and they're all moving a lot faster now. I counted 13 when they were actually 15. My reward: a check for $0.00. Uh, why even write a check if it's for $0.00? Let's see if we can improve that number.

0:09 Ah ... apparently last time I didn't count the guy in the tank as a human. I fix that this time, and get to Round 3 before failing. Still no virtual money for my efforts. OK, time to move on.

0:11 So the Baseball Star game asks me to field 1,000 balls. That's right, one THOUSAND! And if I miss just three, I'm done. The graphics and gameplay remind me a bit of Intellivision baseball, except with only one fielder and a demon at the plate. Starts out easy enough, with balls coming straight at me, but very soon I'm diving and missing all over the place. I caught 20 balls for $0.40. Must be the minor leagues. One more try...

0:13 I got 22 catches for 44 cents this time. I forgot to mention the strange way the game screams "Idiot!" in a demonic tone every time I miss. F***ed. Up. OK ... one more try. What can I say, I'm easily amused.

0:14 Only 11 catches and 22 cents this time. Blarg. "Mushroom Xing" is next.

0:19 It's pretty simple, but compared to the other games, "Mushroom Xing" is freaking Metal Gear Solid. It's kind of like Frogger, except instead of a frog it's a constantly advancing pixel person. I can tap O to go in reverse, but I can never stand still as I try to dodge variable-speed trucks and collect mushrooms without getting run over. I earn $6.65 for my five-minute play session. I'm rich! Comparatively. Unlike the first two games, I'd happily play this one again.

0:23 I earn $7.40 on my second attempt. I was pretty proud of the way I managed to hover in the tiny gap between two lanes to avoid certain death there.

0:24 PEN-demonium is a weird one ... tap X to put a pen cap on a pen, then press O to get a new pen. Occasionally I have to flip the pen right-side-up. The most troubling part: The counter on the bottom that has 36 digits! No, I take that back ... the most troubling part is the coworkers saying things like "Thought about divorce?" and "Uh ... I'm tired!" I get into a troubling groove, but quit after 100 pens, earning $2.91 for my efforts.

0:27 Back at the main menu, I have more mail. A $5 gift for completing my first job. Nice! A guy I know from college sent me a missive: "To do the things you like, you gotta make money. I'm going fishing with my money." Wait, so this game isn't one of the "things I like"? That explains a LOT!

WTF: Work Time Fun

0:28 A desiccated, old, blue nymph welcomes me to the vending machines. They're $1 to play. I pick the middle machine and get a plastic egg containing a cabbage-shaped magnet. I also get a fish sausage ring, a mahjong tile and a Shogi piece. Seems overpriced to me. Then I get "Three Count" and "Lumberjack," which are more games (I think).

0:29 On to the "Hell Cantina," where a green demon in a vest greets me. "Have you eaten any pears this year?" Uh ... yes? It's all multiplayer stuff, which would be cool if I knew anyone else who owned this weird-ass game.

0:33 "Hey, I thought you'd be at home watching reruns," says the demon as I return to work. Is that the dry hell humor I've been hearing about? "Lumberjack" and "Three Count" haven't shown up in the games list. Uh, I'll play more "Mushroom Xing," I guess.

0:38 I hit a groove, earn nearly $10 in a masterful bit of mushroom picking. I'm sidling in between trucks as a matter of routine now. Eventually they speed up enough that I can't outrun 'em, though. By the way, the sound designer on this game deserves an award or something. The music and sound effects are très catchy.

0:39 Now "Lumberjack" and "Three Count" show up on the games list. Weird. Let's try the latter.

0:40 It's an over-the-top wrestling arena right out of the 16-bit era, with cheering fans, a circling referee and even a sponsor (Rick's Extreme Sporting Goods). I get pinned quickly and I have to tap X to get out of the hold as close to the end of the count of three as possible. My times: 2.72, 2.72, 2.82. That's it? I earned 70 cents? Wow, wrestlers get paid crap. Now I feel bad for Mickey Rourke.

0:43 On my first retry, I end up waiting too long and get DQed. After that, I get 2.85, 2.89 and 2.89. Just 90 cents for that. What a rip. NEXT! (BTW, is it troubling that I judge these games based on my earning power?)

0:44 In Lumberjack a super-pixilated granny gets wood from a box. I tap X to chop it with a super-pixilated axe. Then she takes a puppy out of the box. I chop it before I realize, and my character falls over crying. Granny starts mourning. Well why'd you put the puppy up there if you didn't want me chopping it? HUH?!?!? Fourteen logs earned me 42 cents. But a puppy's life? Priceless...

0:45 On my next try, I chop another hapless puppy after only two logs. After that I slow down and avoid puppies AND bunnies for 48 whole logs before faltering on a blue walrus. YOU HEARD ME!

0:46 There's a red lava monster at the menu now. "Yo, you're gonna be rich soon. These jobs are all so good!" Uh...

WTF: Work Time Fun

0:47 Back to the vending machine. I unlocked "Handy Light," "Lumberjack CHALLENGE!" and "Cliff Race 2000."

0:48 Oh my ... I just discovered the $5 Silver, $10 Gold and $50 Celebrity vending machines, to the right of the plain old $1 Bronze ones. The Celebrity machine is in the shape of a golden Japanese shrine. I waste my money on two gold eggs and a silver, gaining a Blessed Yo-Yo, a Computer Mouse and a Magazine Shaped Lighter. What a rip!

0:51 "Cliff Race 2000" is surprisingly hard. I have to stop my speeding car closer to the edge of a cliff than the computer opponent by tapping X at the right point in a red zone. The opponent is really freaking good. Or I'm just really freaking bad.

0:53 After two more sets of retries, I finally get the timing down and start winning consistently. OK, now I'm bored.

0:54 An email from Ken: "Since I'm all grown up now I like to take other people's losses as a chance to profit for myself. I guess I've just shown my weakness." That's profound. Seriously! Especially for this game.

0:59 I finish off the hour with another game of Mushroom Xing. If this alone were a $2 iPhone game, I'd buy it in a second. As is, it's not enough to sustain a full-price UMD release.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Maybe...


Why? I'm morbidly curious about the remaining games left to unlock. I can't help but feel this would work better as a free collection of Flash games on Kongregate or something.

This column is based on a retail version of the game rented from GameFly.



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