They say the majority of actors in Hollywood end up working as waiters, serving tables night after night, desperately hoping to stumble across a big time producer and score their lucky break. But rushing about with plates balanced on every limb and scraping by from tips would seem to be little consolation for the chance of spilling sauce into Mr Spielberg lap.
For us though, it's a pleasurable pastime – or at least that's what Glu is hoping with its latest release – a mobile port of the popular web game Diner Dash 2, which makes entertainment out of dashing from one table to the next.
And 'dashing' is the appropriate word, with Diner Dash 2 testing your ability to micromanage and serve two or three tables at once, timing your approach so one trip covers a multitude of tasks. Combos are most certainly the key.
Diner Dash 2 is all about getting people in and out of a restaurant as quickly as physically possible, drawing on that age-old American ethic of quick service with a smile. While play gradually gets more complicated as each level passes, the core elements remain throughout – and, if you have ever been to a busy restaurant, Diner Dash 2 tracks just as you might expect.
In essence, the activity is concentrated to a select group of actions: sitting customers down, taking their order, delivering it to the kitchen and picking said order up, dropping the food off at the table and then clearing up when everyone's finished their meal, pocketing the bill in the process. Speed is key, as slack service will result in customers becoming discontented and – more importantly – a lower score.
Things get more complicated as more tables are added, with different sized parties of customers arriving at lumpy intervals, just as they would at a real diner.
And other variables are thrown into the mix with each new level – for example, diners wearing certain colours will prefer to sit on matching colour chairs, so seating them at appropriate seats adds extra points. Families will require a highchair to seat their babies, which involves an added trip.
Free espressos can also be farmed out to tables of your choice to buck up their mood. Spot a couple around who the atmosphere could be cut with a knife? Dash across with a free espresso and you'll find their mood - and size of tip - suddenly becoming much more accommodating.
With all these actions happening at once, it would be easy for the poor mobile player to be overwhelmed as they're charged with remembering an almost limitless combination of various buttons to prompt scores of actions. However, Glu knows the format's limits and has ensured that Diner Dash 2 is one of the simplest games you'll ever play. Simple in terms of controls, that is. Not difficulty.
Rather than assigning a button for each task, the majority of Diner Dash 2's actions are table number-based. For instance, taking table 5's order is carried out by pressing the '5' button, as is taking the table's order to the kitchen, picking it up from the kitchen and delivering it to the table. Each time the table requires some service, you're alerted by the table number appearing on screen, meaning most of the game's play revolves around pressing various numbers on your keypad.
Such is the pace that builds during the later levels you'll find yourself instinctively pressing buttons without consciously thinking about it – which is in your interest, of course. The quicker the play and the longer the combos, the higher the score. It results in a kind of gaming rush prevalent in console gaming, but rare when it comes to their mobile counterparts – something Glu should be congratulated for.
The end result is a title that knows its boundaries and makes the most of the mobile to deliver a fast-paced and entertaining package. In truth, Diner Dash 2 has little to do with waiting tables and is best described as a good example of one of those arcade-style spinning plate action titles that's been successfully translated onto the phone.
Still, if those out-of-work-actors have half as much fun as this in real life, then they're a blessed bunch.