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The Man And Story Behind I Get This Call Every Day

Every once in a while, gamers are regaled with the uplifting, rags-to-riches story of an indie developer who is successful enough to turn their passion for game development into a full-time career. David Gallant's story is decidedly different. As a customer-service representative for the Canada Revenue Agency, it was Gallant's job to help callers with routine tasks like changing their address, while dealing with the demands of his superiors and government red tape. Rather than being dejected by his day job, however, Gallant was inspired by it. He funneled his frustrations into I Get This Call Every Day, a short indie game he describes as a "personal tale of unwinnable realities." Shortly after the game's release, however, Gallant experienced the punch line of I Get This Call Every Day firsthand.

Thanks For Calling:

I Get This Call Every Day centers on a single telephone interaction with a caller attempting to change his address with the Canada Revenue Agency (presumably, anyway; while Gallant based the game on his day job, the CRA is never mentioned by name and the caller's information is fictional). What entails is a 5-10 minute conversation where players choose the customer-service rep's responses, as the caller is walked through the endless security questions required to change his address.

Get too snippy with the caller, and he'll demand to speak to your supervisor, which ends with you getting fired. Give him a break and bypass some of the security questions, and your boss will fire you for not following protocol. Walk the tightrope of bureaucracy and customer service, and you keep your job, but still fail to help the caller.

As a game, I Get This Call Every Day isn't terribly fun, but it does a good job of encapsulating the frustration Gallant faced at his former job. That frustration didn't stem from annoying callers, but rather some fundamental problems with the call-in procedure that don't have any easy solutions.

Sure, the caller doesn't have any of the information he needs to change his address and asks "why?" more than a two-year-old. But some of that information, such as the caller's net income from the previous year's tax returns within two dollars, seems excessive. At the same time it's hard to blame the CRA, as the security measures are there to protect its citizens from identify theft. Rather than simply stating these problems, I Get This Call Every Day demonstrates them over a course of a few minutes in a way that feels authentic.

Game Over:

The CRA didn't see the same value in Gallant's modest indie game. After catching wind of the project, the communications director for National Revenue Minister Gail Shea released a statement to the Toronto Star calling Gallant's actions "offensive and completely unacceptable," and asked Commissioner of Revenue Andrew Treusch to "investigate and take any and all necessary corrective action." A few days later, Gallant was fired.

Community Support:

When news of Gallant's termination surfaced, indie-game fans rallied to his support. Sales of IGTCED have increased exponentially over the past few weeks, and the game has currently received more than 9,600 Yes votes on Steam Greenlight. That said, Gallant is still a long ways away from the fairy tale ending so many indie developers dream of. The increased sales have given him and his wife some breathing room for paying the bills, but Gallant will soon start looking for another part-time job to make ends meet, as he continues to pursue his love of game development in his free time.

After playing I Get This Call Every Day, we spoke with Gallant to get his thoughts on the game, his termination, and the struggle of being an indie developer.

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