While I understand that there is a huge fan base for job simulators, I personally do not see the appeal of these games because I play games to relax and to help me forget about work. In all my working experience, my tenure as a customer service agent and telemarketer for one of Malaysia’s largest telcos was probably the most stressful. So this week’s free game on the Epic Games Store definitely triggered some bad memories because 911 Operator by indie developers Jutsu Games sees you taking on the role of a phone operator for emergency services.
Suppose you ever wondered how cool it would be to be the individual relaying information to heroes ala Batman’s Alfred, Nightwing’s Oracle or Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S. Well. In that case, a 911 Operator gives you an inkling of that experience, except you are helping the real heroes on the streets: firefighters, paramedics and police. So, maybe not as cool, but no less essential and quite stressful.
For the majority of the game, you will be staring at the map of a city or town where you are the sole individual responsible for keeping its denizens safe. Throughout each session, you will have to deal with emergency calls or react to incidents. While both will have you essentially despatching the correct first responder onto the scene, there is a difference in how you do so. For the latter, think of these as random events that happen every other while, so you just need to send the right team over as quickly as possible; these could range from stopping a speeding driver to breaking up fights or investigating a rowdy party.
As for the emergency calls, there is a minigame aspect to them as you need to ask the right questions to figure out where to send the teams and if it is really an emergency. For example, one of the calls I received initially seemed like a prank call, but by asking the right questions, it ended up being a domestic abuse case or the one where a man calls to complain about having a stomach ache due to ingesting a particular kind of fungi. These calls you receive have voice acting, and they are done very well on both ends; you can actually hear the fear and panic in victims’ voices.
However, the gameplay does get very repetitive, very quickly. Because the only thing that changes is the size of the map and the different emergency services required. You mainly move around the map, click on a unit and then send it over to the location that requires it. As you will have a limited number of units, you must also manage them carefully and send the nearest unit to a site. This can be tough because paramedics and police will usually need to head back to the hospital or police station after a task, and therefore, they will be unavailable for a few seconds. Much like in real life, seconds make a huge difference in life and death situations, and in 911 Operator, it could also cost you your job as your success is measured by how efficiently you handle each situation.
The game also has a management aspect, as you can purchase new equipment and vehicles and hire new staff. Each staff member differs in skill, but of course, the cream of the crop costs more to hire.
All in all, if you are a fan of management games or job simulators and since 911 Operator is free to grab until September 21, it is definitely worth giving it a go. Plus, if you really like what it has to offer, there are four DLCs which you can purchase to beef up the game’s content. Another nice to note is that it does not require a high-end gaming PC to run, so you can even play 911 Operator on your slightly older laptop.