Executive Suite is one of the most low-fi games I've ever played. It’s also one of the games I've played the most – I used to love it on the first PC my family ever had, an ornery old IBM. Recently, with a DOS emulator slipping into the Apple AppStore
for a few hours (if you missed it then you should have kept a closer eye on the ‘What We’re Reading
’ section of the front page), I’ve been enjoying it again.
Essentially, it’s a business strategy sim, but one where all the strategy comes from negotiating office politics rather than share prices. At the start of the game you interview for a job at Might Microprocessor Corporation, after which you are given a choice of entry positions ranging from engineer to postal clerk. You stay in that role for one year, and then you’re moved to a new role. The format repeats, with each job lasting only a year before you’re forced on.
They don't make cover art like this anymore
Each year/job is presented as a series of multiple choice scenarios. As a compensation clerk, for example, you might be tempted to give a payout to a friend who you know is faking an injury. Do you adhere to policy or friendship? Pass the buck or try to find a compromise? Your outcome will vary based on previous choices and your job performance.
At first glance Executive Suite seems to be a very simplistic game, but on closer inspection it’s remarkably sophisticated. An enormous amount of variables are tracked throughout any one playthrough and there’s even an in-game economy that can alter your promotion prospects.
Year-end prospects function quite cleverly too; since you can only have each job once each occupation also functions as a life. The overall aim is to get to rise to the position of company president, or simply to remain at MMC until you reach retirement age depending on how optimistic you’re feeling. It’s not an easy job – I’ve only ever reached the Executive Suite twice and have been fired for gross negligence enough times to make me question my place in the real world.
Executive Suite is currently listed as abandonware
by many sites where it is available to download, but we’re unable to confirm if the publisher has relinquished the rights officially.