Remember The Boss Key From PC Games? Cricket Australia Just Brought It Back

Remember The Boss Key From PC Games? Cricket Australia Just Brought It Back

The boss key is something I remember from all the old MicroProse games, a key you could hit in a pinch that would throw up a fake spreadsheet. It was the go-to key so you could keep playing games at work without your boss or supervisors being any wiser.

It fell out of favour for obvious reasons, but the most unlikely source has brought it back for 2015: Cricket Australia.

Today marks the start of the Test cricket season in Australia once again. I accept that many of you will not care about this. This is irrelevant for now, but play along for a second.

Let’s say you’re working in an office and you want to keep a track of the score. This is traditionally what you’d have up on your screen:

It’s not particularly subtle, and the Cricinfo tracker isn’t much better either if you’re trying to keep a low profile.

You could fire up Cricket Australia’s radio stream, but not everyone is in the position where they can have an audio feed playing over the course of their work day. But what if you want to keep in touch with the score?

That’s where Cricket Australia has brought back the boss key — or at least the idea of it. They’ve rigged up a separate scorecard that looks, from a distance, like an ordinary, average spreadsheet. There’s no colour or nothing particularly flashy. It’s just rolling black-on-white text, with a simple comment and the traditional notation system that cricket tragics are fully familiar with.

Nondescript would be the best way to describe it. It’s a modern boss key, something supervisors would only be immediately familiar with if they looked up close.

For reference, here’s what the old-school boss key spreadsheets used to look like.

Image courtesy of Mobygames

Boss keys vary, of course, so the above isn’t indicative of everything developers came up with. But it’s interesting to see what things were like, and Cricket Australia’s little trick today is perhaps the closest we’ve come to bringing the boss key back.


  • That’s fantastic. Also, I’m not sure if I’m proud to say that I’m one of those people who’s entirely familiar with the traditional notation system…

    • So am I. Not sorry in the slightest.

      Now that we’re in the comments, we can ACTUALLY talk cricket.

      Burns: solid bloody knock. Don’t care that he didn’t get a century, just wanted him to see off the first session, and 71 isn’t a bad effort anyway. Proud.

  • Is there a way of converting that into an excel? stills looks dodgy when you have a web browser open to view a spreadsheet 😛

      • Yeah, but how many workplaces use it rather than MS Office?

        Frankly, I’m surprised they don’t offer it as an Excel sheet with an refreshable query connected to to their site.

        • We do a lot of stuff in Google Docs at my work. With employees spread all over the world, and the need to occasionally share documents outside of the company, it fits pretty well.

          It certainly doesn’t have all the features of MS Office, but the collaborative editing features work really well, and enable some workflows that aren’t nearly as easy to do with other tools.

      • Not at my place of work although i often have a google doc open for personal stuff. And at least that looks a bit more realistic than this one.

        Now ESPN need to do one so i can watch other sports on the sly.

  • I find the cricinfo site works well just having it in a tab. You don’t get much bat at least you get the scores refreshing in the tab while you work in another so nothing is every shown on the screen

    • I’m with you on this one Tigs
      I’ll have it tabbed so I can at least see the “live” scores

      BTW: I saw you at PAX in the Tabletop area, but your little one didn’t look too happy, so I didn’t want to disturb you

      • If there was anybody else about you should have come over, they were probably other Taybies.
        Although it doesn’t really narrow down the time, she went through phases of being really upset on all 3 days.

  • the article is as applicable as the UFC entries so all good – besides i like cricket 😛

    what are the chances of a test at the Gabba not raining out? Ugh just checked the weather forecast

    • *sigh* seems pretty likely at this stage.

      On the flipside, Warner is killing it and Khawaja and Burns have both done super well so far. Solid effort from our top 3.

  • Sooooo Alt+TAB and having work in a window isn’t easy enough?
    I always have some ‘work’ in a window… “yeh I am busy! What do you want?”

  • They’ve had this around for at least a year now i remember it from at least last season. Good start on day one. Been hoping burns got a shot as an opener for awhile now.

  • Now everyone at work is going to know why you have a spreadsheet open all day at work Alex.

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