Help Wanted

Help Wanted

Written by Dave Gamble on 8/17/2009 for Wii  

So, times are tough. We all know it, and we all have our own personal challenges. Unemployment is approaching double digits and no relief is in sight. Even those that still have jobs are worried, and many of those folks, like myself, are worried because things are changing so very rapidly. It seems as if the ideas of debate, planning, and deliberation have been tossed out the window in favor of cramming massive new entitlements through Congress before we can collectively catch our breath from the preceding trillion dollar boondoggles. Debt is piling up faster than a sane mind can comprehend, and anyone standing in the way is trampled by a stampeding media that is more than ready to demonize those advocating a more measured approach.

There are certain industries that are targeted for vilification for alleged greed and malfeasance, and I have the misfortune to work in one of them. What can one do to prepare for the potential loss of one's job? Socking away money whenever possible helps, but that has to be tempered with the understanding that the inevitable inflation that follows unprecedented levels of deficit spending will erode the value of that nest egg mercilessly. No, the only thing to do is prepare to find a new line of work.


Which brings us to “Help Wanted,” a new game for the Wii. With the tag line “Saving The World, One Job At a Time,” it seems to have a messianic quality to it, although we've become somewhat inured to that kind of thing lately. In any event, desperate times require desperate measures and it also promises exposure to “50 Wacky Jobs.” One cannot afford to be too choosy, right? Now I will grant you that at my ever-advancing age things described as “wacky” don't hold the appeal for me that they once did, but it bears repeating: desperate times require desperate measures. Certainly at least one of the jobs would be suitable for me, so it was worth a look, right?

Well, no. Not so much. Help Wanted is a collection of what are essentially the mini-games that you would bypass with a shrug if you were to find them included in any other game. Adding insult to injury, the mediocrity of the games is overshadowed by the incredible awfulness of the surrounding story line. At the end of the day, Help Wanted comes across as a game developed by five year olds, for five year olds. There would be nothing wrong with that, of course, if it was a game that a five year old would enjoy, but I don't think that's the case. There are life lessons to be learned from the game, but they unfortunately are along the lines of “grandparents are mean and quite possible insane” and “your co-workers are idiots.” Seriously, let your kids discover these essential truths on their own, once they're old enough to understand. These are not lessons that need to be rushed into.


Another lesson to be learned is that some jobs are easy, some are hard, and some are fun. That's actually a pretty good thing for kids to know – if you can make a living doing something you enjoy, go for it. The problem here, though, is that the games are short. The ones that are actually entertaining don't last long enough. Naturally, the inverse is true in that it's a blessing when it comes to the ones that aren't any fun at all, and there are a few of those included as well. Even the short game play periods would be bearable if it wasn't for the time spent between games navigating through the storyline. It's also somewhat frustrating that jobs have to be unlocked through the purchase of the applicable uniform from a TV shopping network. I'm an instant gratification kind of guy – I learned that when I was, well, a five year old.

While there are some entertaining moments to be found with Help Wanted, it's $30 that can be better spent elsewhere.
There's not much fun to be had here. The games are too short and the cut scenes are too long. Very young children might see things differently, so you might consider it for the little ones.

Rating: 7.5 Above Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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About Author

I've been fascinated with video games and computers for as long as I can remember. It was always a treat to get dragged to the mall with my parents because I'd get to play for a few minutes on the Atari 2600. I partially blame Asteroids, the crack cocaine of arcade games, for my low GPA in college which eventually led me to temporarily ditch academics and join the USAF to "see the world." The rest of the blame goes to my passion for all things aviation, and the opportunity to work on work on the truly awesome SR-71 Blackbird sealed the deal.

My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 1 that I bought in 1977 when they first came out. At that time you had to order them through a Radio Shack store - Tandy didn't think they'd sell enough to justify stocking them in the retail stores. My favorite game then was the SubLogic Flight Simulator, which was the great Grandaddy of the Microsoft flight sims.

While I was in the military, I bought a Commodore 64. From there I moved on up through the PC line, always buying just enough machine to support the latest version of the flight sims. I never really paid much attention to consoles until the Dreamcast came out. I now have an Xbox for my console games, and a 1ghz Celeron with a GeForce4 for graphics. Being married and having a very expensive toy (my airplane) means I don't get to spend a lot of money on the lastest/greatest PC and console hardware.

My interests these days are primarily auto racing and flying sims on the PC. I'm too old and slow to do well at the FPS twitchers or fighting games, but I do enjoy online Rainbow 6 or the like now and then, although I had to give up Americas Army due to my complete inability to discern friend from foe. I have the Xbox mostly to play games with my daughter and for the sports games.
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