Phone Queue Wait Time Is Ideal Retro Games Time

Phone Queue Wait Time Is Ideal Retro Games Time
Image: iStock/robtek

“Your Call Is Important To Us And Will Be Answered By The Next Available Operator”


But in the meantime, PEWPEWPEWPEWPEW!

Over the last month, I’ve spent more than twelve hours in phone queues, talking to my insurance agency about the tree that fell on my house back in Sydney’s recent storms. Quick tip: If offered the choice of having a tree drop on your home, just say no. I never got that choice, but maybe you will.

I really shouldn’t have to spend more than half a day in queues, if anybody at the NRMA is listening. Based on my own recent experiences, I’m not certain that they are.

Pretty much every time I’ve had to call through, I’ve been in a queue for a minimum of thirty minutes. At first I tried to work through this with the call on speaker, but I found it was a terrible way to work. It’s really tough trying to concentrate on being creative when you know you’re going to be involved in telling the same details and complaining about the idiot builders initially assigned to the task for the fifteenth time.

Yeah, it’s been one of those insurance horror stories.

So I gave up trying to work, and that’s when I hit upon a solution that I’ve found works exceptionally well.


Sure, I’m rather known around the halls of Kotaku* for my passion for all things retro, but in this case it’s pretty much a perfect fit. My retro drug of choice at the moment while I’m being continually told that my call is important to them but they are experiencing longer than usual call queues is the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man.

Why Atari 2600 Pac-Man? Primarily because while it’s not a very good version of Pac-Man, it’s quick, simple, and I’m not fussed about dying or abandoning a game in the rare instance that my call actually gets answered quickly. There’s a simple progress mechanic in terms of score to beat, just enough to keep me interested. I’m currently chasing a high score of 3,758, which I’m sure I could beat if I was properly invested in playing.

It’s got me interested in the game so much I’m in the process of chasing down a boxed copy, just because I can. Also because, according to the back of the Pac-Man Atari 2600 box, “it’s your job to keep Pac-Man as happy as possible.”.

Did you know Pac-Man was depressed? I didn’t.

In the meantime though, I’ve got to chase up my insurers yet again, and that means getting back on the phone queues. Which I’d dread even more, were it not for the fact that it’s now time that I can spend gaming as well.

*Kotaku doesn’t actually have halls that I’m aware of, although that might explain where Mark’s temporarily vanished to.


    • I actually charged my insurance company for the time I had to spend waiting on them, and they, much to my surprise, paid up.
      Call backs make so much more sense.

  • You keep an Atari 2600 hooked up at the office / in your home, Alex? Respect.

    I find that phone wait time is perfect for reading gaming news/blogs and commenting on Kotaku…

  • I’ve received Robocalls that go something like this:

    “We have an important message for you, but, all our operators are currently busy. Please hold for the next available consultant.”

    I’ve never had any wait time on those, as I refuse to stay on the phone. How can they have the gall to make that statement, and not have someone available to talk to?

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