Local mobile games studio Arctic Empire launches Office Attacks! at Mercury Lounge
Back in 2011 when Apt613.ca, the local culture blog of record, ran The Great Apartment613 T-shirt Contest, it wouldn’t have been a stretch to predict early-on, as many did, that the winning design would be Steve St. Pierre’s “I AM NOT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE” shirt. After all, the design said a few things. It recognized the reality that over 40% of Canada’s public servants are located in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. And given the fact that public servants work almost exclusively in office environments, it perhaps captured our collective angst towards the idea of big bureaucratic organizations in general. In fact, we have good reason to be wary. According to a study released this past September, the number of senior public service members who reported that they suffer from depression has increased twofold over the past five years. The causes obviously vary, but may include being overworked, lack of recognition or agency at their job, or perhaps simply disagreeable co-workers.
To be sure, these issues are certainly not limited to the Government of Canada. Every single organization is vulnerable to these realities. Everyone reading this knows all too well how even one inconsiderate or disruptive colleague can be damaging to office productivity or moral. In Office Attacks!, Arctic Empire has taken these truths and turned them into an engaging digital experience. In their new tower defense game, which runs on iOS, you are the fictional, but highly relatable, Steve Stevenson, who, as his bio reads, “just wants to get his work done without everyone bugging him all the time.” The game features four chapters with multiple levels with titles like Dream Job and Case of Mondays, and From the Bottom, Cubicle Hell, and Rat Race. Steve’s profile continues: “Maybe they’ll leave him alone when he finishes his latest experiments with office equipment…” The experiments? Turbo-charged office pieces—your towers and weaponry; what you will use to combat your colleagues, stop the stress and save your sanity. “For all of its tasty mechanics, the sheer goofiness of a lot of the towers is what got me,” wrote Simon Sage of iMore, in his assessment of the title. “Gatling Pencil Sharpener? Yes, please.” Indeed, you can build over one million different towers in your quest for office domination. As AE’s official launch trailer concludes, “It’s time to delegate…some PAIN.”
Arctic Empire held a party to celebrate the official launch of Office Attacks! at Mercury Lounge this past Saturday. Attendees, a few hundred of them, were treated to a free drink upon entry, mass amounts of free food, including specially designed cupcakes from The Flour Shoppe, a ridiculous amount of door prizes and the sounds of DJ Shirtless. On an evening when many people in the tech, culture and media scenes could have been at (and likely skipped around to, as I did) Jackpine’s #xmasbeforexmas, MediaStyle’s IdeaSpace launch, Art Party III, and a host of other activities, the show of support at Mercury was certainly auspicious.
Just a few weeks ago, Elizabeth Howell wrote a piece in the Ottawa Business Journal on Ottawa’s emerging mobile gaming scene. In it, she talks to multiple local insiders about the field’s prospects and signals for growth, and she reports that new annual conferences, a growing talent pool and an influx of funding have contributed to the sectors progress and vitality. In the print edition of the article, five firms are featured, with specific attention on founding year, employee count, focus, profitability, growth, and funding sources. Because Arctic Empire wasn’t included, here are the firms details below:
Founded: May 2010
Focus:Mobile games and applications.
Growing? Yes. Started with three employees and now have the ability to scale based on scope of projects.
Funding: Originally funded by family and friends. Now fully self-sufficient with some IRAP and federal development funding.
Download Office Attacks! by Arctic Empire for free in the iTunes Store