David Gallant is a nice guy with some nice aspirations. He’s a local indie developer in Toronto, and he’s made a bunch of games for free on his website. But that’s only on the side, as he’s been working a call centre job to help pay the bills, and would love to get out of his job and strictly focus on game development. It’s really hard to make it down that path, but sometimes art imitates life. He’s distributed his first game called I Get This Call Every Day, and it’s about working at that very call centre.
The first thing you notice is the hand-made art David has created. It might not be the prettiest creation, but it’s very indicative of the work environment. Working at a call centre looks ugly in your mind, and David has properly created that atmosphere. It helps in making you feel desolate and underappreciated.
Soon after the game’s start, your phone starts beeping, indicating someone’s calling for assistance. The caller wants his address changed, but unbeknownst to him, it requires a heavy amount of security to go through.
This is where you can choose which dialogue options you want. You can be a jerk in a “I don’t want to be here” kind of way, or follow the strict procedures to the point where it annoys the caller. But that’s the idea, the caller is going to have to go through these steps and they won’t like it; much like calling any institution and having to answer a load of questions. Nobody wants to do it, but it’s part of the job and the law.
Some of the questions you’ll go through involve asking for prior addresses, Social Insurance Number, and Date of Birth. But does the caller have that information? He doesn’t even know some of his prior addresses, and can give incorrect information. Eventually, you’ll be able to get the correct data in order to succeed.
But, be careful how you answer. The more lenient you are, the more likely you’ll get fired. On the inverse, the information you get from the caller might prove to be faulty or inconclusive. Be wise with your choices and hopefully you’ll come out fine in the end. There’s no real way to beat the game in a traditional fashion, but one playthrough could be over as quickly as it started. Just like working a government job, one little mistake and you’re out. If you do manage to get to the end, the caller still might not be happy with the results.
David not only programmed and did the art for the game, but everything is fully voice acted. You can even choose if you’re playing the game with headphones or speakers and the game changes accordingly. If you pick you have no sound, it tells you to play when you can hear it. It’s an extremely straightforward process, and a great option a lot of games should take into consideration.
Depending on your ending, I Get This Call always finishes with a beautiful song by Peter Mascio, and then you’re right back into it. The game is short, possibly even shorter than Thirty Flights of Loving, but that doesn’t detract from the type of statement it can make about the workplace life. It’s clear David is using art to imitate life. Let’s hope he can continue this in future projects, or at least never have to work that job again and just be an indie developer.