Many of us often turn to video games to help relieve the stress of our real-life jobs, so it’s always a little ironic when those games also have us holding virtual jobs too.
We are talking about games where our in-game characters can engage in activities that meet the criteria for legitimate work in the real world. These can be optional side missions, mini-games that give you extra cash, or an integral part of the overall gameplay. Whatever the case, here are some games where you can get the job done.
6 paper please
In Papers, Please, you take on the role of an immigration worker whose job it is to check the passports and travel documents of those trying to cross the borders of a fictional country called Arstotzka. The game is set in 1982, at a time of high tension between the communist country and its neighbors.
The gameplay involves using various means and tools to judge the authenticity of the documents presented, in an attempt to weed out suspicious travelers such as known criminals or would-be terrorists. Ultimately, you must decide whether the documents fit the traveler’s stated purpose of travel, but risk suffering a deduction from your daily wage for every questionable traveler you allow into the country.
5 Grand Theft Auto 4
The Grand Theft Auto series features lots of side activities that can earn your in-game character money. But most of those odd jobs are not exactly what we would call legal because they require doing one criminal activity or another. GTA 4 on the other hand allows you to take on the role of a legal taxi driver by transporting passengers around Liberty City within a set time limit.
Unlike other GTA games where you embark on taxi side missions by stealing any taxis you come across, GTA 4 requires you to call your cousin, Roman, who owns a struggling taxi company. After you tell him you want to pick up some fares, you head to the taxi depot to grab a cab and you’re ready to start earning money, lending missions an extra layer of legitimacy.
4 Red death redemption
After many criminal adventures that players were asked to take part in while playing previous Grand Theft Auto games, Rockstar decided to shift gears a bit and bring things back to the Old West for their next game, Red Dead Redemption. Released in 2010 on PS3 and Xbox 360, the game serves as a further refinement of many of the advances showcased in GTA 4.
While you’re technically playing as a former villain named John Marston, it’s still possible to land and hold a rather respectable job as a government-sanctioned bounty hunter in Red Dead Redemption. It involves hunting down various criminals with certain bounties on their heads throughout the Wild West and taking them for their crimes, life or death.
3 Part time worker
Moonlighter is an action RPG that mixes rogue-lite and life sim elements. It is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. As the title suggests, the game has you part-time as an adventurer by venturing through ancient portals to various uncharted realms in search of loot and glory.
But during the day, you take on the role of a shopkeeper as you see in the day-to-day management of the shop in the commercial village of Rynoka. You can choose which items you want to sell, set prices, hire assistants, and improve various aspects of your shop over time, all the while keeping an eye on rival shop owners and others who might want to steal from you .
2 The Sims 4
Speaking of life sims elements, The Sims is considered to be one of the pioneers of such gameplay features, helping to popularize the genre with the PC release of its first game in 2000. Originally a spin-off of the larger SimCity series, the offshoot has grown into its own series with four numbered entries and several smaller titles and expansions between them.
Careers are a prominent feature in all four main games. These act as specific jobs that Sims can do to earn money. Each has specific conditions that must be met for a Sim to qualify for the job, which includes their skills and education level. For example, after the expansion of the University, certain career paths in The Sims 2 such as Natural Sciences were restricted to university graduates.
1 Job Simulator
With a title like Job Simulator, there’s little imagination left for the sole purpose of this VR game. Developed and published by Owlcherry Labs for PC and PS4 in 2016, this game finds players taking gamified versions of four real-world jobs.
Its physics-based gameplay makes it difficult for you to cope with the daily demands of an auto mechanic, shop clerk, office worker or gourmet chef. Each job brings its own set of challenges, requiring you to think fast and be inventive to solve puzzles quickly while trying to reach the goals you set. It’s a satisfying gameplay that makes work fun for everyone.
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