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10 crappy jobs that make for awesome games

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.


2. Farmer

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?


3. Gardener

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.


Above: USELESS 

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.

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20 comments

  • BurntToShreds - May 16, 2010 7:53 a.m.

    Astronaut Real Life: At any moment a rock the size of a gold ball could shoot straight through your space station. Crippling G-Forces on exit and reentry of the atmosphere. Bone and muscle Density loss if you spend too much time in orbit, and finally, space-station restrooms. Video Games: Explore uncharted planets, fly around with a jetpack, teach alien women how to love.
  • ingsoc - May 14, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    As a "scientist" I can say we spend most our day doing two things, reading and writing. The hard sciences spend very little time in the lab just as I spend very little time in field collecting samples. Yeah, it is boring, but for all the many hours toiling away behind my computer (we tend to work a lot of them by the way) the few chances we get to work in the lab, field or attend a conference are well worth it.
  • leprechaun - May 14, 2010 10:30 p.m.

    Amateur surgeon definitely should have been the game that went with doctor
  • Metroidhunter32 - May 13, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    You should have gone with Trauma Center instead of Dr. Mario.
  • Conman93 - May 13, 2010 3:57 p.m.

    The idea for phoenix wright shouldnt work, but boy does it!
  • OnyxOblivion - May 13, 2010 3:49 p.m.

    That lawn defense in that screenshot is terrible. All those sunflowers...
  • Clovin64 - May 13, 2010 2:21 p.m.

    My sister works in Starbucks and everyday has to deal with waves of whiny fat people who just want to moan about muffins and hold up the que. Surly this could be adapted into a sort of Dead Space clone?
  • philipshaw - May 13, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    Great article and I like most of these games but never want to do any of these jobs myself
  • AuthorityFigure - May 13, 2010 8 a.m.

    It's funny that they say Samus is a bounty hunter, because I've never seen her ever make good on that job description.
  • SoutheastSam - May 13, 2010 4:29 a.m.

    Animal Crossing haha..
  • pingyoo - May 13, 2010 4:06 a.m.

    Wow, that is pretty cool. Never thought about that before. Lou www.anon-posting.tk
  • GameManiac - May 13, 2010 3:43 a.m.

    Yet another reason why videogames=escapism.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - May 13, 2010 3:14 a.m.

    i used to want to be a scientist when i was a child, do you know what i do now. community service at my community thrift store. its not all bad though, like i get paid in free soda and 25% off all items and i get to see all the donated items before anybody else. some people are even nice enough to donate ps1 games which usually are crap but whatever game it is is only a dollar -25%. the best games i got so far are resident evil and dino crisis.
  • Ieatedapuppy - May 13, 2010 2:14 a.m.

    OBJECTION! Haha being an attorney is fun, haven't you seen those oh-so-realistic TV shows?
  • ventanger - May 13, 2010 2:11 a.m.

    Haha, I'm surprised U.S. military special forces wasn't on the list. It's certainly been the profession du jour in the majority of recent games. For every high speed dogfight in a jet, there's living on an aircraft carrier for months at a time. For every terrorist headshot, there's eating MRE's in a sweaty tent with a bunch of dudes.
  • barrage7667 - May 13, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    the second i saw the name of this article i said plumber
  • Cyberninja - May 12, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    can i be a video game plumber sounds like fun
  • Hexar - May 12, 2010 10:37 p.m.

    Hmm, I work at a law firm that is solely focused on defense. We don't do any criminal but focus on civil proceedings. I come from a family of lawyers and trust me I've heard them all. That being said it's always a shame that some of these stereotypes keep floating around. You know there are folks out there that aren't necessarily guilty. Defendant does not equate to guilty. But the job is mostly. It's like being back in high school with all of the drama, only this time people will take money from you as well as your girlfriend.
  • Valcrist - May 12, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    Maybe it also holds the opposite? maybe a game about being astronaut or games site editor would be incredibly crappy and boring
  • 2dboy - May 12, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    In short, any crappy job will give you an awesome video game.

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