It's Game Over for Productivity as Tower Defense Invades the Workplace
Employees who are playing tower defense at their job instead of working is cause for alarm to employers.
PR9.NET April 11, 2008 - Sacramento, CA - An alarming new trend at the workplace is causing employers to take note of tasks left unfinished as employees leave from work. This is due to a new wave of addictive "flash games" (games that are played in an Internet browser). Of course, employees slacking of at work is not a new trend, but there has been a notable increase in the amount of "cyberslacking" as of late, due in part to a new genre of flash game called "tower defense."
Tower defense is a genre of strategy game that was born out of "mods," or user created maps, for a popular real-time strategy game. The premise is to build towers that shoot at invading monsters, called "creeps." If too many creeps get past the towers and reach the end of a maze the player will lose. The immense popularity of this style of game has spurred uncountable amateur and professional developers to create their own versions of these games, and they are popping up all over the Internet.
This may sound like a good innovation. The problem is, people are playing these games at their job when they should be working. Some companies deploy Internet blocks to stop their employees from accessing game sites, but web pages that allow users to play these tower defense games are coming up faster than anyone can contain them. Such as the popular site, http://www.defendthetowers.com, which has set an unprecedented growth record in it's number of visitors.
Games such as Vector Tower Defense and Desktop Tower Defense (whose owner has made over 100,000 dollars from in-game advertising) get players so involved that they are becoming more blatant in their disregards for their employer's wishes. Employees are now using a Windows shortcut key, Alt+Tab, to switch windows when their boss comes within their proximity. Some of the people interviewed even referred to this keystroke as "boss defense."
Managers need to be educated on this new trend. Increased supervision is not a bad idea for offices with Internet access. Network administrators should not rely on browsing history logs alone, as there are many "proxy" sites that can hide the user's tracks, and even let them access web sites that are blocked. Some of the more tech-savvy Internet users have been using these for years without the workplace knowing.
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