Stephen Totilo’s post on Kotaku turned me on to this amazing reuse of technology. Mike Lazer-Walker re-purposed a 1927 switchboard to make a game in the vein of Tapper and Diner Dash, that simulates what it was like to run an actual switchboard back before computers took that job over from human beings. It is aptly named, Hello, Operator.
In the game:
You’re tasked with working a manual telephone switchboard in the 1920s. Connecting a single call is easy; managing a dozen increasingly impatient customers while you only have three or four phone lines is much harder!
Since the golden age of arcades are behind us, we just don’t see many people taking creating unique interfaces with games. Instead they rely on console controllers or mouse and keyboard, which lacks the immersive quality that a custom interface can bring.
What makes Mike’s idea extra brilliant is he is re-purposing retro technology. Not only does this open up doors to all new switchboard related gaming magic, but really makes us look at things we are discarding.
Can we make games from old telephones? Typewriters? Mainframe computers? I think the answer is a loud, “Yes!”
According to Mike, he would like to see this end up in a museum. Here in Seattle, we have the Herbert H. Warrick, Jr. Museum of Communications, this would make an amazing interactive addition to that fine institution or any others that cover phone and communication technology.
Photos via Mike Lazer-Walker