Saturday 7 December 2019

5 unlikely simulator games with hardcore fans

Frank Whelan

Games are often seen as big explosions, fast paced action and battles against immeasurable odds, but there are hundreds of beloved games dedicated to the mundane.

1. Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC)

"Who would want to spend their spare time pretending to deliver goods in a professional and timely manner" you may ask. Well, the answer is quite a lot of people. The game is huge in Germany. Euro Truck Simulator falls in the strangely-addictive category, where you can't stop playing but you don't really know why. It's a game for people who get a kick out of obeying the rules of the road in Grand Theft Auto.

The internet is full of lengthy videos of delivery runs and efficient turning choices. There is a nice level of progression within the game, moving from a driver to owning your own rig, helping this game rate highly amongst the simulator aficionados.


2. Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 (PC)

Bored of screeched around the race track? Why not entertain yourself by individually unscrewing each nut before changing a tire, or perhaps you want to get your thrills by changing a van's oil. Such thrills and more are available to you in Car Mechanic Simulator 2014.

Who plays these games? Well, some dedicated gamers have started up youtube channels just to document the work they carry out in their virtual garage.

Here's a gameplay video to give a taste:


3. Ship Simulator Extremes: Cargo Vessel (PC/Mac)

Another one for fans of slow moving transport, here you take control of a massive cargo vessel as you plough through the waves from port to port. My only hope is for a Captain Philips style moment when it turns in to a tense first-person-shooter.

The trailer below is for the full Ship Simulator Extremes Collection, where Cargo Vessel is one of six exciting expansions.



4. SpinTires (PC)

The name may suggest breakneck speeds and exhilarating skids, but these tires are spinning due to mud. Lots and lots of mud.

Players take charge of a large all-terrain Soviet vehicle and must transport goods from A to B. You may think it sounds a lot like Euro Truck Simulator, but while one features well planned European motorways, the other is all about finding your way though the Russian wild. In SpinTires you're given a map and a compass; the path is yours to discover.

Mud is so intricately modeled that it becomes like a living thing. The realism is such that you can stray slightly off your path and find yourself battling the mud for hours. The internet is filled with comments along the lines of: "I spent an hour trying to get out of the mud, it was great!"

Spintires is a game from an independent studio with no massive budget for marketing, yet due to its oddly addictive gameplay, word-of-mouth recently made the game shoot up the Steam charts.


5. Goat Simulator (PC/Mac)

The ultimate "why did they make that" simulator. The game started as a joke title as part of an internal game jam at Coffee Stain Studios. A video made it to Youtube and went viral. The positive reaction prompted the developers to produce a version for release, while leaving in some of the more comical bugs.

The idea is simple: controlling a goat, you must do as much damage as possible.

It's a hard one to gauge, with the game's wild popularity pre-launch generating a number of "Best Game Ever!" type reactions, while others have dismissed it as a flawed novelty title.


Bonus: What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver (DS)

If this was a cooking guide, it would be great. Lots of excellent recipes and a pretty straightforward instructions. Where it falls down is its attempt to simulate the cooking process. The game sections are very poor. While most of these games simulate something you will probably never get a chance to do, here we're faced with the exciting challenge of arranging lettuce leaves on a plate, but without the delicious final edible victory. 

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