, ,

The Exciting Life of a Street Sweeper

I’ve never actually ridden in the street sweeper even though I’ve managed street sweeping operations in the past. But I can certainly imagine what it would be like. Day after day of driving about 10 miles an hour along the edge of every road carefully avoiding parked cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Then driving to the dumping facility to unload the day’s collection of debris, washing down the vehicle, and fueling it up for the next day. There’s nothing about that to lead me to believe it would be a riveting, jaw-dropping, white-knuckle ride of fun and excitement. But it is a vital function of our operations.

So I was somewhat amused and perplexed to see this tweet by @praddles leading me to a review of a new game: Street Cleaning Simulator by Excalibur Publishing. Being in the business, it’s interesting to read what others think of the experience, even if they’ve only taken part in it through a simulator. Here’s a link to the review mentioned in the tweet along with a link to a review with a different opinion on the game:

Gamespot UK Street Cleaning Simulator Review

Rock, Paper ShotGun Street-Cleanin’ Man: Street Cleaning Simulator Review

The first reviewer seems disappointed that the experience is “boring.” While the second reviewer approached it knowing full well it probably wasn’t the most exciting job in the world. And each individual expectation seems to have driven the reviewer’s opinion of the game. What surprised me was that anyone would think street sweeping was a job filled with action and excitement. Probably the most exciting thing that ever occurred in my 16 years of running the operations was the day the mayor at the time ordered the sweeper, without my knowledge, to come up and sweep the newly laid asphalt road we just paved. I of course did not know of this and had just left the jobsite because all the asphalt was down and the roller was finishing up compacting. I found out about it because the driver of the sweeper called me worried that he was pulling up the asphalt. So of course, I run over there and arrive to a view of the roller still going up and down the asphalt with the sweeper running right behind. You can imagine my reaction and wow do I wish I had a photo of that now! Of course at the time I was too focused on getting that sweeper off the new asphalt to think of taking photos. So I told the sweeper to stop which he was more than happy to do.

Anyway, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m a huge supporter of using games for training. And this game does seem representative of the actual experience. But it brings up the question, do games developed for training have to be exciting and fun to be successful? If not, then perhaps game developers need to do a better job setting up expectations. But if they do have to offer these elements, how can this be done and yet accurately reflect the true experience of the task? And is this an example of why the idea of a back story needs to be better integrated?

Original post

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Denise Petet

A game like the ‘learn to street sweep’ could be more fun simply by…letting the cars they avoid be Porsches or Astin Martins. maybe have the pedestrians they don’t hit give them a cheer….goofy but sometihng a bit more engaging.

Or….what if when they pass a level then their street sweeper turns into a race car and they get to take it for a lap around a track at 200 miles per hour, just as a reward.

Fun is more engaging, and maybe it’s just changing the details that makes things more fun?

Pam Broviak


Those are great ideas – I think you are on the right track! Even by adding little details, the game developer could better engage the player. Along your line of thinking, maybe billboards you pass would have funny sayings that change each time you pass. Or maybe you would witness various goings-on at different businesses or homes.

The game developers should have asked GovLoop members to be beta testers; then they could have incorporated your ideas and made the game more fun! 🙂

Denise Petet


If it wasn’t for massive copyright violations, I’d think things like storm troopers as pedestrians, or things like that, but it’d just get the developers in trouble (they wouldn’t do it anyway, too much legal troubles)

Maybe ask street sweepers things they’ve witnessed and incorporate them. I know I got to ride with snow plows this winter and I have a whole new appreciation for how challenging the job can be, how rough the ride is. I witnessed lots of drivers doing lots of stupid things. You have a whole new appreciation for hte job after you have some first hand experience.