Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is a comedic Virtual Reality game for PC (through the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets) and PlayStation 4 (through the PlayStation VR headset). The game, which tasks players with simulating comical approximations of job-like tasks, was developed and published by Owlchemy Labs. It was first released on the PC platform on April 5th 2016 before later coming to the PlayStation 4 on October 13th 2016.
In the game players select between one of four jobs from a job museum. The job museum is run by robots which resemble a floating CRT computer monitor with faces. The jobs themselves are tongue-in-cheek approximations of real world occupations.
The player is accompanied by a robot supervisor who provides the player with instructions regarding the tasks to perform that are associated with that occupation. The tasks and activities players are required to vary from realistic activities to ones used for comedic effect. For example, in the "Office Worker" simulation, players must perform roles such as evaluating new employees and transferring calls, but are also required to eat doughnuts, share photos at the water cooler, and participate in other stereotypical office tasks.
Much of the game's humor comes from the stereotypical and exaggerated activities the player is called upon to perform. Additional examples of this include:
- As the chef, the player is asked to bribe a food critic and navigate around the particular allergies of an underage customer having a birthday
- As the car mechanic, the player is instructed to sabotage cars or strip a car for parts
Additional humor is introduced through puns and the game's use of word play. For example, as a chef, the player is instructed to bake a cake for an underage customer's birthday party, and one of the ingredients is a flower, which sounds phonetically similar to "flour."
The player's supervisor also continually comments on the human nature of the jobs in contrast with the efficiency of robots and repeatedly mentions the obsolescence of humans in general.
Players are afforded a large amount of creative freedom in completing their task. For example, as a chef, whilst cooking pizza, players can choose any ingredients within reach to use as pizza toppings. Player are also free to mess around in their setting and play with the various objects in their environment. Typically this amounts to throwing items around or at the player's robot supervisor.
Upon completing a set amount of tasks, the player is give the opportunity to return to the museum and select another profession or alternatively to stay in the current environment. Once the player completes all four job simulations, the player is offered a variety of modifiers which change the physics of the gameplay.
Players have the choice of 4 professions:
- Office Worker
- Gourmet Chef
- Store Clerk
- Auto Mechanic
Smaller Human Mode
In response to player feedback requesting that the developer make the game accessible to shorter players who were having trouble reaching some of the higher placed items within the game, developer Owlchemy implemented a “Smaller Human Mode” into the game.
Not wishing to introduce standard menu and options into the experience to break the immersion and “revert back to the olden days of interaction” of the game, the developers brainstormed different methods of incorporating this option into the game. Eventually the team settled on the idea of introducing a panel near the ground level of the museum kiosk behind which is a switch allowing the players to turn on the mode.
The option, which increases the size of the player opposed to reducing the decreasing the size of the world, adjusts the world around the player’s new height. One such adjustment that is made is to reduce the size of the player’s hands so that the smaller hands match the smaller world relative to the height of the player. To ensure that the system was functional one of the developers, Alex Schwartz, was forced to play through the entire game on his knees.