Beat Your High Score vs. Increase Profits

Video games work ethic cartoon

The above cartoon came out of a phone conversation with a business associate. The person was complaining about the quality of “these kids” they were hiring. “Maybe if work were a video game they’d be more interested,” he said.

Now I’m part of that generation that grew up on video games. I started with a 1976 Fairchild Channel F system (pre Atari thank you very much) and currently enjoy more time than I’d like to admit on the family Wii console. But I’m also a businessperson, and I have to admit I’ve seen my share of lackluster work ethic in my contemporaries.

After revisiting this cartoon I feel like I sort of reconciled the two sides. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to send out some invoices and get down to some Super Mario Galaxy.

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website,, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,

7 Reactions
  1. That’s actually a pretty good idea! Making it seem more like a game may motivate the younger generations.

    Wii is pretty addictive especially on long winter nights. I prefer Mario Cart though. 🙂

  2. Hi Mark
    You’re on to something here. There are a few biz apps out there that are designing from a gamer perspective. It actually was well received and the company was purchased by a large company. I think the gaming design and logic is getting built into the app, but I’m not so sure about the language…

  3. I played games on Vic 20, Commodore 64 and Amiga 500. But I didn’t have so much patience to excel in the different games. It was fun for a period of time. I wouldn’t mind to test some kind of strategic game in the future.

    I have heard that the gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood. I wrote a piece on this topic in 2007. Click on my “Martin Lindeskog” Says: if you want to read my post, Warcraft.

  4. As in all of your cartoons, Mark, there’s a lot of truth to this. Appeal to something that matters to an employee, rather than what matters to YOU or the company.

  5. That’s a great way to look at your own Biz! Rather than trying to play the game on your own, try to beat the high scores, that’s what motivate the energy of your Business Success, which is what makes Games enjoyable by most Modern-day Gamers.

  6. I guess if you look at setting goals and achieving them as sort of a game than it really does work. Weird! I never read that much into this cartoon. Honestly it was after some advice from a trusted editor about trying to appeal to a more middle-aged readership. Anyway, glad everyone likes it!