One of the coolest things Kirk Hamilton and I saw at the 2016 Game Developers Conference was Mike Lazer-Walker’s game Hello, Operator, which uses a real switchboard that he bought on eBay and turned into a game.

In the video here, Kirk plays Hello, Operator while Mike explains what’s going on. You can’t hear it in the video, but Kirk is hearing pre-recorded voices on the phone as caller after caller asks him to connect them to a specific person identified on the switchboard. Kirk has to physically make the connections and then the call proceeds.

Lazer-Walker has ideas about how to evolve the game, including working in a story that might involve the operator listening in on calls or having to decide whether to connect a bad guy’s call. He doesn’t plan to release Hello, Operator commercially and instead hopes it winds up in a museum.

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Hello, Operator was part of the Alt.Ctrl.GDC exhibit and was right next to a game that could be controlled with a pillow.