How May I Direct Your Call?

Be a telephone operator.

Be a telephone operator in an apartment building where all the residents only talk to each other. Get more points the faster you complete calls… but make too many mistakes and it's game over!

My original goal for this game was to try to translate the chaos of collaborative disaster-aversion games like Spaceteam and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes into a single-player experience, but sadly, I had to drop the part that actually makes it chaotic. In my original design, each day, something would change: for example, two residents swap apartments, someone new moves in, or someone requests you to forward all their calls to someone else. Meanwhile, the directory of residents that you're using as a reference would not be updated; the new information would just be written alongside it in chronological order. As such, it would be harder each day to make the correct connections, because you'd need to check both the original directory and the changes that were made to it to mentally reconstruct the actual directory.

I hope it's still fun to play without that feature. As it is, the only way the difficulty ramps up is by slightly increasing the speed at which you get new call requests.

Fonts used are:

  • "Garogier" by Rogier van Dalen (for the number labels and Game Over screen)
  • "Skyhook Mono" by FontomType (for the computer terminal text)
  • "Special Elite" by Astigmatic (for the directory, training manual, and day start screens)
  • the Windows emoji set (for the icons on the directory and training manual)

The first and last names are taken from US Census datasets of the 1000 most common first and last names in the US, combined randomly (any name that matches a real person is pure coincidence… I've already gotten a couple celebrity names in playtesting).

Voting results


This game entered in the Solo competition (33 entries).

Comments (8)

(@ThetacticalBanana) • 3 years ago • 

So i made quite a similar game just in 3d and i would definitely put your game over mine in terms of rankings. Its much more intuitive and actually gives you a tutorial, unlike mine.

The qraphics are decent and convery whats happening well and isnt too cluttered.
Gameplay is quite repetitive though, i find it fun because of the pressure.
Originality there was a few games like this including mine so
Theme is almost completely on point.

 • 3 years ago • 

That's quiet a recurring theme, the old phone connections!
Good job implementing the mechanics!

 • 3 years ago • 

It's pretty direct implementation of the theme, nevertheless beautiful!
It has good game design and its pretty challending. You have to both clicking fast and keep track of everything on the screen. Well done!
Among of inconveniences I would single out the connectors (at the bottom). Maybe need to separate it more obvisous - further apart; and highlight different pairs of connector different color. Because if you have many connections, there are very hard to make new connections / disconnect existings. But maybe it would be too easy then 🤔

Mr. Chocolate Salmon
(@mr_chocolatesalmon) • 3 years ago • 

This game has solid gameplay, and ramps in difficulty quite well (maybe a little too fast, but for a game jam entry that's alright aha). I enjoyed having to search through the directory, and making sure calls were ended before moving the plugs around. I did find that sometimes a call would end and another call would start in the same spot, meaning I had to remove and put the plug back in to see where they wanted to be directed to, so perhaps a slightly more user-friendly way of displaying the requests could have been nice, but again, it's a game jam entry and I think what you have works quite well apart from that.

Some sound would have helped a bit as well, even if just some background office sounds or something to help set the mood :)

 • 3 years ago • 

Thanks for the comments on our game!

You implemented one of the best things - the ability to disconnect the plugs and reconnect them in one motion. It feels soooo nice! Wish we had tested our game a bit more and found that, it's super frustrating in ours.

I really liked your style here. I read what your plans would be with this game, and that would have been really cool! I can totally see this working. You did such an amazing job as one developer :0 Hats off to you!

 • 3 years ago • 

I certainly liked 'Keep Talking & …', and you've at least scuceeded in giving off the same sort of vibe, in both the gameplay and the visuals.

That said, to me, maybe* because of the 'all caps' font, the list of names was just a mass of 'there are letters here'. I would not make a very good phone operator :-p

That did allow me to note that sometimes people ask to be connected to someone that already is. When I did try to reconnect, I got a strike.

What would also really help is to see how much time you still have left on a given connection (in the hypothetical full game, the system that would be responsible for this could then malfunction from the x-th day or so onwards).

I'd also recommend adding some audio, even if only for the SFX. Using a generator like BFXR (or similar) is quite easy and can be done within 15 mins or so. Music is more challenging, but I found to be easy to pick up.

If you polish this up like you suggest in the description, it could become a really nice hi-scorer! I'm probably still going to skip on that though, finding the right item in a list is always been a strange weak point in my skills for some reason.

*) While I've never been tested, I'm probably at least sligthly dyslexic, given that 3 out of 4 other family members have been tested and are.

 • 3 years ago • 

The telephone operator idea fitst the theme well, and even though many projects took it on, it is still original (I nearly tried it too!) Your initial design sounds interesting, yet I'll have to review the one I got.

Continually opening and closing the resident directory is tiring. Screenshotting it on a secondary screen helps, but there is still a lot on names to go through. If memorizing the names is not the point (because there is not enough time to do so) then there should be less of them. Cutting the connection count down to 16 would also make just enough space for the resident directory to be permanently open.

The difficulty ramps up quite quickly actually. The directory issue makes it worse, so maybe tweaking it otherwise isn't required. Nonetheless, currently the challenge is not very compelling at all.

Solid construction, lacking design.

Overall: Average (5.0)
Graphics: Bare bones (4.0)
Gameplay: Bad (3.0)
Originality: Good (7.0)
Theme: Good (7.0)

 • 3 years ago • 

Didn't realise the were a few games this jam that were putting you in the position of a operator. Your game is also pretty fun and frantic. I do like the twist of having to look up the names in a directory however I did spent more time than necessary looking for a name due to how they are sorted. Though that is more a nitpick on my part as the game is still very fun to play.

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