I can’t imagine an easier job for the last week than air traffic controller. I can’t imagine a harder job the rest of the time. I’m quite easily distracted, but by the nature of my job when this happens it rarely leads to two passenger jets colliding in mid-air, killing all on board, and raining down hot fiery metal on all below. Rarely. More usually it leads to my eating someone else’s bread. Which isn’t quite as bad. Now it’s possible to have a go at being an air traffic controller in Airport Control Simulator, and its demo, where you won’t have to risk ending the lives of anyone lucky enough to fly in the gaps between volcanoes.
Unless perhaps your computer gets struck by lightning when you’re playing, causing some sort of magical Round The Twist-like event to occur when suddenly your version of the demo is in fact controlling the aircraft at your nearest airport. Which would be slightly more of an issue when the demo runs out, and all planes fall out of the sky at once.
Which is a strong argument for not playing the demo at the “Impossible” difficulty setting.
It’s essentially a hardcore version of Flight Control, the super-soaraway smash on the iPhone. But rather than simply pointing aeroplanes at runways, here you have to manage their speed and altitude as well.
Only Bergamo is available at first in the demo, which I’ve just learned is the site of a German commune in Italy, served by Orio al Serio Airport. (I hear they make nice biscuits.) I successfully landed “one airplanes”, as instructed, and received a message that frankly is true:
Which opens up Hamburg airport with two to land. Then Barcelona! With seven. Sadly it was at this point that I decided to find out what happens if you aim three aeroplanes at it each other. It turns out you get fired.
However, that’s your only option for creating disasters. The game is all Mr Spoil Sport about letting you crash a plane at 950km/h into the sea, not allowing you to go under 200m unless above an appropriately designated runway. Pshaw.
The demo is teeny weeny, just 24MB, and can be found here. It really is very indeed an awful lot like Flight Control, except you can’t draw nice curves, but rather have to take far more care of each plane to guide it safely to a place where it can land, pull up to the jetty, and kiss the buildings.