History San Jose Research Library > History San Jose Online Catalog > Office Cubicles at Cryptic Studios, June 24, 2005

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Office Cubicles at Cryptic Studios, June 24, 2005
Sarah Puckitt
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History San Jose Research Library
History San Jose Online Catalog
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Cryptic Studios, Inc. Employees Sean Fish, Brian Robert Gilmore, Floyd W. Grub, Jane Kalmes, and John Yoo are pictured in their office at Cryptic Studios. Cryptic is a game design company responsible for the massive multi-player online game City of Heroes, and the soon to be released City of Villains. Though many game design companies call Silicon Valley home, Cryptic is hailed as one of the most employee-friendly-avoiding the grueling 60-70 hour standard work weeks that have come to characterize the industry. Bull Pens Prior to the 1960s, office staff worked in large rooms with open floor plans and row upon row of desks commonly referred to as "bull pens." In the 1950s a group of German designers created the new "office landscape," a design that was thought to encourage teamwork and cooperation among workers. Desks were no longer set up in straight rows, and screens and plants were used to create privacy. Soon, US manufacturers who were also looking for alternatives to the open floor plan created what they called systems furniture-the modern cubical. By the 1970s the phenomenon took off around the world. What was once considered an innovation to increase privacy and worker productivity has become the source of much wry humor in American comics such as "Dilbert." By 2005, it was estimated that seventy percent of all office employees work in cubicles.

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