Stupid users are lost in the virtual world
The single experience nearly every tech worker shares is that, at some point in their career, they've had to deal with stupid users, more stupid users, and even more stupid users. These users rarely respect the unsung tech worker -- and PC games can provide an opportunity for a little payback.
Let's face it: There's a tinge of happiness when one of these smug users creeps around the corner and right into your sniper crosshairs. It's your "Call of Duty" to put the poor sap out of his misery. Even better, the next day you can chuckle at him in the cafeteria line.
Indeed, users should thank techies for creating an industry of sophisticated games. When users look at a game screen, they probably wouldn't notice poorly overlapping 3-D images if a Hammer of Judgment hit them over the head.
But best-selling games such as "Fallout 3" don't have shoddy graphics rendering or crude artificial intelligence because "top game developers know their work will be scrutinized by trained eyes," explains Jones. "You can't fool them."
Solving problems with bloody execution
Many tech workers are fervent problem solvers. Some are strategic, some tactical. Some solve problems through reverse engineering, others by invention, and a few by sheer luck. PC games play smartly into the many aspects of this problem-solving passion.
In "Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword," a player spends days, weeks, or maybe months shaping a civilization from the beginning of time to the modern era. The goal is to emerge as the leader, and there's not just one solution or path to success. "It's the ultimate problem-solving experience," Jones says, "and epitomizes the mind frame of the tech worker."
Of course, many tech workers don't have weeks or even hours to solve a problem. That's where "StarCraft" comes in. In this game, you're a military leader of an alien species. The game calls for quick thinking and some serious team management during short missions.
"StarCraft" perhaps best mirrors the challenges and successes of life in IT. "'StarCraft' is firefighting," says Jones. "Things are crumbling, and you have to figure out how to fix it in 25 minutes. It's the nature of IT work." (FYI, "StarCraft II" is planned for release next year.)
Perfect PC games for IT
OK, now that it's clear why techies and gaming go so well together, which games are the ideal fit for IT? InfoWorld has picked the ideal game for six kinds of tech staffers. Check them out in our "Perfect techie games" slideshow.