“Hours and hours of boredom sprinkled with a few seconds of sheer terror” is an attribute applicable to much in our lives, but not a distinction generally sought in video games.
Which is why I doubt Air Traffic Chaos will be sought in many stores this holiday season- much less shelved- and that’s a pity, because it’s the best game I’ve played all year.
Each level begins uneventfully, giving you time to nurse a cup of coffee and recover from last night’s hangover while walking a few pilots through takeoffs or landings. The process is so mundane and methodical that you soon take to multitasking. What starts with wiping your ass during touchdown soon leads to checking Facebook while forming traffic patterns.
And that’s when everything goes to shit. Because now there’s a guy approaching Runway 34, while another plane is getting pushed back towards Runway 17, two commuter jets have been circling overhead for the last 20 minutes, and this other asshole is griping about when you’ll confirm his route. Scrambling to make people not-mad-at-you, you have him taxi for takeoff on runway 34, and while you’re struggling to remember how you ever chose this miserable career, it all comes to an end.
I’ve reached a point this year where my job has become so onerous that watching “The Office” is no longer funny, but thankfully this cognitive rejection hasn’t applied to Air Traffic Chaos, where the only victory to be had is in preventing any deaths until it’s on someone else’s shift. Where the stakes are astronomical, the odds like Russian roulette, and the reward is getting to spin again. Where failure earns a grade of “C,” and where excellence is rewarded with nothing, save keeping your job to lose another day, though given the level of accountability people are held to around here, I’m not sure exactly what that would take...