Assertiveness Training for the Corporate World
Say No! More is probably one of the most satisfying games you can play, especially if you have ever been a corporate drone. Disguised as a game, it really is a fun exercise in the art of saying “No” when asked to do all sorts of inconsequential and frankly, bullsh*t tasks that get thrown at new hires and low-level employees in the corporate world.
The game is a simple affair; you create your avatar and choose the language he says “No!” in and off you go. Your nameless character is starting his first job as an intern in some mega corp in the city. As such, you may be tempted to just do as you are told to keep your internship and maybe get promoted to a full-time hire. In fact, you are the perfect hire – timid and literally unable to say much at the start. Lucky for you a tape in assertiveness training just happens to land on your desk, along with the Walkman to play the tape, on your first day.
The 80s aerobics instructor on the tape seems to be tuned into your predicament exactly as he guides you through the many ways you can basically tell people to go fly a kite with one word and a variation in tone. Once you get through the first recording you get to run around the office telling people to shove it – an extremely satisfying state of affairs.
The game does not require much input or coordination, it is an on-rails affair where your character runs around the office and comes to a stop when confronted by someone, he needs to either tell off or listen to politely. You can play as the ultimate office grump and just yell no at everyone, but when a conversation appears bordered in pink this is a cue for you to have some choice and decide to listen to the person. If you do, you end up making a friend or at least have a pleasant conversation. What this affects in-game, if it does anything at all, is not clear.
Your powers of assertion grow as you encounter new bosses, literally bosses of the company you work at, like your manager, who acts like a nice guy and even a friend but steals your lunch. Chasing him through the building as he attempts to escape your new superpower is a frantic fun rush hindered by the usual office wastrels trying to get the lowly intern to get them coffee and photocopy some meaningless report or other. Getting to him requires you to have a new way to say “No”; one that packs more of a punch. Luckily your 80s aerobics Walkman genie slash life coach is there to guide you.
This is a pattern repeated throughout the game as you rise through the ranks to challenge more powerful bosses, including the feared company CEO, who has been waiting for someone like you to come along and challenge her. Chasing her down initially is a masterclass in satire as you barge into meetings where she is spouting some corporate nonsense or the other and then dumps it all on you to figure out, guide the staff and implement. Very corporate in the way things get “delegated”.
This is all a fun distraction, great for a short gameplay session, particularly when you are frustrated with something work-related. It is wonderfully satisfying, at least in this safe and fictional context to be able to say “No”, something many of us certainly find difficult to do in our real jobs. Sadly the on-rails nature of the game and the one note mechanic do not make for long-term engagement. There are subtle variations of how you can say “no”, but I found that unless a boss battle really demanded you vary your tactics, for most of the encounters you could just use one or two intonations to get through the game.
Where Say No! More shines is in the social commentary. Anyone who has worked in a medium to large corporate will recognise the archetypes. Your manager likes to think he is beloved and everyone’s friend, but is ineffective, greedy, and hated by his subordinates who do not hesitate to get their revenge when given the opportunity. There is the colleague who sees you as a threat and wants to take you down at every opportunity and of course, there is upper management. A collection of monolithic, despotic cretins out of touch with the daily lives of the people who they rely on to keep things running, but of course will never admit to that fact.
The best way to approach Say No! More is as an interactive novel rather than a game. A game inspired by the developers’ own experiences as corporate drones and their wish fulfillment in how they might have handled the experience. Treat it as a short break into a fantasy world of no consequences and a way to relieve some work stress, but more importantly maybe look at it as a way to train yourself in the subtle art of saying “No!”.
Say No! More ReviewSay No! More Review
Graphics8/10 Very Good
Ease of Play8/10 Very Good
- A great stress reliever
- Hits a little close to home
- Satire is on point
- Little control over your avatar (on rails)