Let's face it: for the most part, work sucks. Unless you're lucky enough to nab a really cool job, like astronaut or gaming site editor, the long, daily grind isn't particularly fun. But for some reason, when these boring jobs are translated into games, they become much more appealing. And as these 10 examples show, even the most uninteresting occupation can be made palatable with the addition of a few pixels and polygons.
1. Defense attorney
In the real world: Is there a more despised profession than that of a lawyer? Aside from those who club puppies for a living, lawyers are probably the most hated professionals on the planet. Doubly so for defense attorneys. They're universally reviled for their ability to protect seemingly guilty people from going to jail, while making plenty of money doing it. And not only are they hated, but it also seems like a downright boring job. Long hours spent arguing in court, late nights pouring over law textbooks, and an entire career of being mocked and hated by pretty much everyone. Not exactly prime video game material.
In videogames: Somehow, the Phoenix Wright trilogy is able to make us both love a defense attorney and respect his profession. A large part of this is due to the goofy cases and over-the-top characters, which make the game much more lighthearted than a real-world legal drama. But most of it is due to Phoenix himself. He's honest, funny, and a perpetual underdog, so you're constantly cheering for him. And unlike the common perception of defense attorneys, Phoenix always seems to be on the side of right. He does what he thinks is best, instead of what pays most, something the shabby Wright & Co offices can attest to.
Plus, the games make being a defense attorney both fun and exciting. Not only do you get to search crime scenes for evidence and take down evil criminals, but you're also constantly followed by an assortment of cute psychic girls. Aside from occasionally getting whipped by a prosecutor or having coffee spat on you, it seems like a pretty sweet gig.
In the real world: The thing about farming is that it's hard work. Like, really hard. You have to get up early, work long hours filled with physically demanding labor, and your only reward is a few measly vegetables. It's dirty, tiring, and not exactly the most exciting occupation. And did we mention it's hard work?
Above: Being at the mercy of fluctuations in the sheep-egg market is no picnic, either
In videogames: The Harvest Moon series does a good job of mimicking the agricultural life of a farmer: you'll plant and water crops, tend to your fields, and eventually harvest some nice vegetables, which you can then sell for a profit. But there are two major differences that make the game equivalent much more enjoyable. First, it takes much less time for crops to grow. Think a few hours or days instead of weeks or months. And second, it's not so damn hard. Moving an analog stick and pushing a few buttons isn't quite the arduous task that actual farming is. Far from it, in fact.
For an added dose of fun, the Rune Factory spin-off series lets you battle evil monsters and explore secret caves as well. There's nothing like smacking some orcs with an axe on your way to water a nice patch of strawberries. How's that for multi-tasking?
In the real world: Gardening is similar to farming in many respects: you get down in the dirt, raise seeds into plants, and then enjoy your meager accomplishments. The main difference is that gardening is almost completely useless. While difficult, farming at least produces something of value (i.e. food), whereas gardening gives us nothing more than some pretty flowers to look at.
In videogames: Of course, gardening could always be made more fun if the stuff you planted actually did something. Like defend against wave after wave of zombies, for instance. Plants vs Zombies takes your green thumb and turns it into a trigger finger, giving you a variety of different flora each capable of laying waste to the undead. Some fire peas like a machine gun, while others turn the deceptively dangerous potato into a land mine.
And the sheer variety of zombies will put your agrarian skills to the test. You'll have to have a strong knowledge of the plants at your disposal in order to defend against, say, a pole-vaulting zombie. Or one driving a Zamboni. Or one that enjoys bungee jumping. PvZ makes gardening both fun and useful.