The Definitive Guide To Your Portal 2 Sickie

Pulling the perfect sickie is a lost art. As a child you understand it implicitly, but the passage of time and an increase in adult responsibility tends to dull your natural sickie talents. With the release of Portal 2 you must be prepared to hone these latent instincts. The productivity of the Australian workforce is of secondary concern - your primary goal should be 'moar Portal 2 time'. We're here to help. This is the Kotaku guide to the perfect Portal 2 sickie.

THE BASICS Solid Set Up Is Important If possible, set up your sickie in advance. Display subtle symptoms on the day before if possible - sniffles, sneezes if you're going to play the flu/cold card. Stomach pains and subtle moans if you're pulling the gastro sickie.

Making your boss or supervisor say, 'why are you in the office you crazy, overworked son of a bitch?' is your goal here. You are playing the role of the loyal worker bee, sacrificing the needs of his own health for the sake of the colony. Protip: leave the office roughly 30 minutes early in a weary, ominous manner. 'I'm going to go home guys, I've soldiered on all day, but I'm feeling terrible'.

'What a trooper,' they'll say, in your absence the next day. 'He'll needs a day off that poor bastard.'

Achievement unlocked.

Don't Align Your Sick Day With A Weekend This is just science - a Monday sick day is by far the dodgiest, Friday is equally as risky. The most obvious reason for that is, of course, your co-workers are likely to sit around gossiping about how you've been out partying all weekend and can't handle your booze.

But the less publicised reason is this: you're far more likely to meet Portal 2 interference if you play on a Monday or a Friday. People who work four day weeks may feel like visiting - your parents for example. Or your kids may have one of those stupid extra days off from school they always seem to get. Your day off should be pure Portal 2 time - remember this. Take a Tuesday, Wednesday or a Thursday. That's just common sense.

One Day Or Two This is a tough one. If your workplace is one of those stringent places that demands Doctor's notes, you may want to restrain yourself and take one single day of sick leave. If your place of work is a little more laissez-faire, you might feel like taking two to give the 'illness' more gravitas.

It depends on your excuse to be honest. If you're claiming you have a flu, I'd take two days, mainly because the flu hangs around and you can play the 'I didn't want to infect my co-workers' card. If you're going for the gastro excuse - limit it to one.

And speaking of excuses...

EXCUSES EXCUSES The More Outlandish The Better When it comes to excuses, you can go one of two ways. You can play it safe with the flu or gastro, or go completely mental. Personally, I've always been a firm believer in the completely outlandish, utterly impossible to dispute, crazy illness.

Some quick examples...

Don't say you have the flu - say you have foot-in-mouth disease.

Don't say you have gastro - say you lopped off your genitals in a bizarre gardening incident involving a rogue hedge trimmer and a blind old-age pensioner.

Don't say you have diarrhea, claim that a rabid dog bit you and gave you leprosy.

Honestly - if your boss is a seasoned supervisor, he's heard it all before. Bizarrely, a more crazy, batshit insane excuse is often more believable than a simple, overused one.

Use Your Children This is a solid technique, difficult to dispute. Claim that your your child has some sort of life-threatening, debilitating disease - unless your boss is a cold, heartless descendant of Adolf Hitler, he will leave you well alone.

I'd suggest making it some sort of long term illness - just in case another top quality game comes out down the track. You can pull this bad boy out whenever suits.

Dead Relatives An old, tested classic, the dead relatives excuse has a shelf life, but can be used in order to gain multiple days off - there's time to grieve, time to organise the funeral and, of course, the funeral itself.

Use sparingly. You only have two sets of Grandparents. Use them wisely.

The Enigmatic Personal Day This technique is simple. If you are a women, and your boss is a man, this works particularly well. All that's required is a simple text message or an email.

"I'm taking a personal day."

Those words, so ominous, so enigmatic and vague, will conjure up a million strange images in your supervisor's mind. A curt and assertive email is key. Your boss will be far too scared to ask; you simply come back to work the next day and say very little. Keep a poker face for the entire day - everyone in your place of work will assume the worst. This is the simple base nature of humanity.

ON THE DAY Avoid Social Networks This is school boy stuff, but totally worth noting regardless - stay away from Facebook and Twitter. If you must - head on and post something about how crappy you're feeling. If you're hamming up the personal day, head on and say something enigmatic and weird like: 'sigh'. That's it!

No mentions of how Portal 2 'pwns', or how funny Stephen Merchant is - no rubbish 'The Cake is a lie jokes. Nothing. Radio silence. You have to go dark. Jack Bauer style.

Turn off Xbox LIVE/PSN/Steam Play offline. You don't want to get busted playing this game all day. Be vigilant - you have no idea who is the closet gaming nerd in your office. You never know - your supervisor may have Steam chat on all day.

You just. Don't. Know.

LAST RESORTS Book Annual Leave In Advance I've done this before, but it always feels a little bit wrong. If you have a galactic space dictator for a boss, this may be the best call.

Quit Your Job You have a soul destroying, utterly painful job that you have wanted to quit for some time - maybe this is the best excuse you'll ever have? Drop kick your boss in the nuts and moonwalk your way out of the office for the last time. Do it!

Work From Home It's possible you may have a job that allows for this - very risky. You still have to produce work, people often 'frown upon' this sort of behaviour and check up ever more on what you've been doing during the day. Watch yourself with this one.

Wait For The Weekend Like A Normal Human Being This is absolutely, positively, the last resort.


    On the plus side of getting motion sickness from Portal 2, you actually do feel physically ill!
    Now excuse me while I go lie down and get rid of this headache and generally not play Portal 2 because I've been playing Portal 2.

      I don't get motion sickness. Even if I did, I think that playing Mirror's Edge all of last week would have helped build up quite a resistance.

    Wait for the weekend? If Portal 2 hadn't been released early, the day after its release would have been Good Friday and everyone could have played it over the long weekend.

    It's all Valve's fault. By doing the ARG to release the game slightly earlier, the retailers got jumpy and broke street date. The good news is that we all got the game early. The bad news is that none of us were able to prepare our sick leave around it.

    Good thing Portal 2 is a short game, I'm near the end after just one night's playing and I could have finished it if it wasn't for my need to rest my weary head.

      Also, the trick is not to play offline. That means no co-op and I know that a lot of people are looking forward to that. The trick is to have no co-workers on your social networking or gaming friend lists.

      Any colleague that does get on those lists would be the sort who would also take a day off to play Portal.

    I've done this. I don't even remember what game I did it for now, but I remember that it was a great day.

    Going dark is one of the best bits of advice in this very useful little guide. I've known people who went off sick, and then spent half their day on Facebook talking about what a great day they were having.... :|

    As a last resort I have always planned to play the "shat my pants on the tram/train to work" card. As soon as you say that they're not going to question anything and get off the phone as fast as possible.

    But you can only use it once. So I'm saving it.

    Coincidently, I was off work genuinely sick yesterday, which didn't stop me running to the nearest EB (about 5 mins away). So it all worked out well.

      Once you use that excuse, ring in and say that you shat someone elses pants. There will be a million questions but none will be brave enough to ask.

    If you ever want to get out of anything, just say you have the shits. It's simple. No one visits or rings when there's bowel movements involved.

      I'm with you on that one, and was going to post a similar comment.

      I find it helps to teeter on the edge of "Too much information"

      it helps to lay ground work by lunching on pungent kebabs and cheap chinese takeaway while in the office.

      Then when you claim plumbing malfunctions and explosive ablutions nobody bats an eye.

    RDO tomorrow for me, the missus has been told not to expect any housework to be done or phone calls to be answered.

      Hey Daniel,

      I'm a postgrad Journo student from UTS and I'm putting together a news story on gamers scheduling leave or calling in sick for game releases. I focus is Portal 2 in particular (seeing as it was the most recent major release). Any chance you would be up for an interview?

      Mod Edit: You'd probably have more luck if you posted this in TAY, here:
      More people look at that regularly and would be more likely to help out!

    I don't really need to chuck sickies to play games (Although I have for some, Enslaved was the last one!). If I want time off to play games, I tell my work I want some time off, they give me time off.

    In my office people usually only take sick days when they are sick. When you take a day off around here all the work will be waiting for you the next day... along with that day's work. Good luck with that. Ah the joys of cubicle dwelling.

    In other news I'll be coming in to work on Friday to run month end reports so I don't have to kill myself doing them Wednesday next week.

    Haha, I love it :)

    Pro-tip: If you work with gamers, avoid earning trophies/achievements! They're a dead giveaway that you've been gaming on a sick-day.

    In that same basket, turn off Facebook updates for these

      Good luck with that one! These days you get an achievement every time you do/complete something.

    It's important to keep your sickie plans from your significant other as well. And not just for the familiar scolding you expect to receive either.

    I've had several game release sickies (Halo: Reach, Civ V) ruined by the missus staying home as well to take advantage of me in a salacious manner as I pretend to be ill.

      Great point. They'll also try and get you to do stuff as well - shopping, chores, etc.

        This made me lol...
        Its happened too me too often so its nice to know I am not the only one.

      Spot on, my wife comes home and excepts everything tidied if she knows I am staying home for something like this.

      I just hop into bed 15 mins before she gets home, works every time!

    I woke up this morning feeling pretty ordinary, and it hasn't really improved. But I'm really worried about waking up tomorrow morning and needing to take a sick day - because regardless of supporting documentation, who's going to believe that I was legitimately sick on the day before a six day long weekend‽

    Regarding online presence on these sick days, I don't really see it as a problem. I have spent entire genuine sick days under a blanket playing computer games, so I'm not worried if anybody else knows that's what I'm doing. In fact I've done some of my best gaming when in an illness induced trance!

    I'll take note of this when preparing to play for future games.

    5 day weekend for me, thanks to... you know, Good Friday, Easter and Anzac Day. Don't go to work again 'till *Wednesday* SHIT YES!

    I'm so gonna play that game where you stare at your installed games and can't decide on what to play so you alternate between games 10 minutes at a time WHOO~!

      I soooo know that game, the worst part is getting to end of all those precious days off in a row, and thinking, "if I just had of played xxxx for all those days, I would actually have finished something".

    Kitteh in the blanket is SO COOT.

    Good article, sneaky plans.

    I never knew I had a galactic space dictator for a boss, but it would explain a few things. I book time in advance, better excuse than 'I'm sick of the lot of you'

    I pulled a sickie for Final Fantsy XIII. Boy, was THAT a wasted day!

      Hey Jamie,

      I'm actually putting a news story together for one of my uni assignments on how some gamers take time off work for major game releases - any chance you'd be interested in speaking with me?

    Pffft Prtl2 *adjusts his well worn in hat now* It doesn't even count as a sick day unless a classic Ferarri is involved.

    Great article tho btw MS!

    I have already booked annual leave for E3 2011

    I'd also add "avoid posting your sickie confessions on Kotaku" to that list.

    Never know who will google your online presence one day.

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