Catch Up Buttercup

Speculative Videogame on the Standstills in Life

Selected for display in the Goethe Institut’s “Stillstand/Standstill” exhibition (2022)


Catch Up, Buttercup! is an interactive text-based idle game about productivity and completing tasks. You play as Buttercup (they/them), a sloth who is at a standstill in their career and seeks a promotion. However, on the day of their promotion meeting, Buttercup falls asleep and wakes up five minutes before they were supposed to meet with the corporate CEO. In this stimulating point-and-click game where the player has to get through all their tasks before the meeting , players are made to reflect on what they are willing to give up to achieve maximal productivity.


Rather than being a conventional idle clicking game, Catch Up, Buttercup! is a parody of the idle game genre and a social commentary on the neoliberal capitalism system it represents. Through its unique combination of storytelling and meta game mechanics, Catch Up, Buttercup! highlights the importance of standstills. The game also features a series of unconventional endings involving unlockable cutscenes that reveal a deeper truth about the exploitation of a modern-day worker. Ultimately, the game encourages the player to pause and reflect on the structure of neoliberal capitalism as well as the life they choose to lead.

Player-centric Design: Our entire design process was focused on the player’s experience and how we wanted the player to feel. We knew that we wanted the player to feel frustrated and angry while playing the game. We started playtesting extremely early and conducted 10+ playtests to receive constant feedback and make sure that our player experience goals were being achieved.

Psychologically-embedded Design: our game takes a psychologically “embedded” approach and we applied obfuscation in our game design. Although our game’s ultimate message is about the negative consequences of fast-paced work, we made the game take the opposite stance that encourages the player to work non-stop and not care about anything else to the point of being unethical. Instead of being obviously pedagogical, this design allows the player to experience the frustrations, pointlessness, and immoralities of a productivity-driven mindset.


Click here to play the game!