A Vancouver-based video game company has topped Apple and Google’s download charts with a new mobile game based on the popular TV show The office.
And East Side Games general manager Josh Nilson, originally from a small community just north of Prince George, hopes the game’s success will continue to build BC’s reputation as a tech hub and attract more people from all backgrounds to the industry.
The company has already developed games based on popular TV shows, including RuPaul’s Drag Race and Trailer park guysbut always the rights to the American version of The office was a big boost, he said.
Though the program hasn’t aired for almost 10 years, it still has a large following and regularly tops the streaming charts as people rewatch the show’s nine seasons.
The game titled The Office: Somehow we managelets players work in the fictional workplace of Dunder Mifflin, interact with characters and relive iconic moments from the series.
Like his previous games, Nilson wanted The Office: Somehow we manage to feel like a sequel to fan-favorite TV shows.
“We like [the games] to be an addition [show’s] universe that we build on,” he said.
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Developing games as a “blue collar job”
Ironically, Nilson said his story is one that proves you don’t have to work in an office to be successful.
After growing up in Willow River, a small community just north of Prince George, BC, Nilson worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years before moving into game development.
And though he now lives in Vancouver, Nilson says the pandemic has made the tech industry even more decentralized, allowing people to work from anywhere.
“You don’t have to move to Vancouver or Victoria to work at a game studio,” he said. “You can work from where you live.”
Video games in particular are a growing industry. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, 8,700 full-time games industry jobs were created in BC between 2019 and 2021, a 19 percent increase.
And last fall, BC’s Minister of Economic Recovery, Ravi Kahlon, said the provincial government is focused on creating more opportunities in the sector for underrepresented groups, including Indigenous peoples, women, immigrants and people with disabilities.
This is what Nilson wants to be a part of: As a Métis man from rural BC, he wants to prove that people from all backgrounds can work in the video game and technology industries.
“You may not think you can work in tech, but tech is for everyone,” he said.
“I think engineering is the next worker job.”
On the coast6:45East Side Games Acquires The Office