As a general rule you probably shouldn’t be playing video games at the office. However, back in the day Microsoft decided that they would do their very best to smuggle games into their useful but otherwise rather boring (unless Excel does it for you, of course) office software. These little Easter eggs soon become famous (or infamous?) in their own right, and are still spoken of fondly today. For example…
- The Hall of Tortured Souls (Microsoft Excel 95) – An odd little mini game that is somewhat like Doom (albeit without any enemies). After navigating a strange, brightly coloured 3D environment you could walk through a wall and see a load of pictures of the developers (the titular tortured souls). Kind of creepy, really.
- Flight simulator (Microsoft Excel 97) – A flight (or space?) simulator found in Excel that allows you to fly around and explore a (admittedly rather empty) purple planet. The scrolling 3D slab that displays the game’s credits also bears the rather amusing message “And The World Was At Peace And Stuff.”
- Pinball (Microsoft Word 97) – Not much to look at but still a nifty little time waster in its day. If you ever wanted to play pinball in the middle of writing a Word document, Microsoft were able to deliver.
- Magic 8 ball (Microsoft Access 97) – Although not quite conjuring up a full blown magic 8 ball, this Easter egg did replicate its function pretty well by bringing up a series of dialogue boxes displaying the magic 8 ball’s stereotypical answers. Still, probably best not to ask its advice on any important business decisions (like whether to get serviced offices Aberdeen).
- Dev Hunter (Microsoft Excel 2000) – A racing game inspired by 1983 arcade title Spy Hunter. While blowing up other cars (and also sometimes yourself in the process; its controls weren’t exactly the most responsive), you could also turn your headlights on and off (safety first) and even deploy oil spills Wacky Races style.
However, none of them were quite as good as this.
Read more: Goodbye Disney: How Video Games Are Transforming Theme Parks Forever