Written by Joe Pranevich
I would love to tell you that Bureaucracy is a beautiful throwback to a bygone era of games where one screwup at the beginning would, hours later, make it impossible to win. That would be a lie. Playing as we are in gaming history, this was still considered (somehow) good game design. Add to it that Bureaucracy is essentially gamified frustration and it’s inevitable that we’d have some walking dead scenarios. Regretfully, I hit one.
At the start of the game, we have a Boysenberry computer in our house. This is 1987 when laptops might fit in a backpack if you are lucky and tablet computers were a trope of science fiction. This is two years before the Gameboy! My assumption is that this is a standard desktop computer for the era. At one point, I noticed that I could pick it up, carry it around, and even use it without it being plugged in. This felt like a bug where the developers (who can be forgiven for not knowing what computers were like) forgot that they needed to be plugged in and so didn’t code in that logic. Perhaps because of that, or because I simply made an error, I left my Boysenberry computer at my house when I headed off to the airport. Big mistake.
I fought my way through the airport crowds, defeated the evil llama stew, and jumped into a cannibal-infested jungle before discovering that I lose immediately if I parachute in without the computer. While the game hints that the natives we are captured by like computers, it doesn’t explicitly say that we needed to bring one with us; a player would be left with a dead end and no obvious way to advance if it had not been for the hint book. I wasn’t pleased. I am committed to solving this game and so played through the previous sections again. It’s not that they were tremendously difficult or time-consuming, but when I am struggling to enjoy a game, playing it again doesn’t make it more endearing. On the bright side, I’m wrapping up the game today. Let’s get this over with.