Looking through PC game new release lists lately, I'm puzzled by the apparent abundance of what I like to call "Monotonous Task Simulators". These games take the idea of Flight Simulator or Train Simulator (which, if you ask me, already push the boundaries of dullness) and develop similar games in which you perform jobs or activities which were not inherently interesting in the first place. So imagine a Carpet Sample Choosing Simulator, or an Ethnic Grocery Store Vandalism Simulator, or a or Being Forced To Reiterate The Point You Made Only Moments Before Because Nobody Was Listening Simulator.
OK, so obviously those aren't real games (yet), but with deathly serious titles like Fork-Lift Truck Simulator and Garbage Disposal Simulator being released frequently, it's not too far-fetched to assume that some day someone might develop a "Fail In Your Attempt to Make a Cat's Cradle To Impress a Rodeo Clown" Simulator. As insane as the idea might seem, I'm sure there'd be an audience for it somewhere.
But hey, here's a short list of five of the dullest/weirdest simulator games available today.
Note: This article contains Youtube videos, which are sometimes blocked or removed by the original uploader. Please Let Me Know if any aren't working and I will fix them.
1. CITY BUS SIMULATOR
OK, so maybe nobody ever really dreams of being a city bus driver. But if you think about it, it's really not that bad of a job. I mean, sure it's a thankless, not-very-well-paying, stressful, somewhat dangerous, characterized/hampered by obscene levels of bureaucratic red tape, and yes, you do often have to deal with some of the most foul-smelling, sleazy, glassy-eyed pieces of subhuman filth who ever walked (rode?) the earth, but hey: It's a paycheck, right?
And yet...someone has taken it upon themselves to create a simulation of city bus driving to cater to...well, Germans apparently, as titles like these have outsold major releases on many occasions in Germany, and will likely continue to do so because Europeans have some insane, borderline-masochistic (in a good way) tastes in games. But even in the US there's must be some nongaming freak with a City Bus fetish who finds City Bus Simulator 2's Mormon-Style graphics, skeletal audio, and goofy list of features (e.g. "12 detailed bus models including low floor buses" & "Announcement of stops, selling of tickets and an exact timetable") endlessly fascinating, if not sexually arousing.
Here's a video to give you a slightly better idea of what it's all about:
I've also heard a tumor that in City Bus Simulator 2 (The Sequel) they're going to include the oft-requested "Inner City Bus Route Scenarios", in which a number of random events occur, and the player must respond them to while continuing on-time to their destination. These include (but are not limited to):
- Shrugging Off Verbal/Physical Abuse
- Choking Back Stench of Passengers Who Have Soiled Themselves or Others
- Shaking Head & Shouting Annoyedly When Racially Motivated Shooting Takes Place
- Opening Roof Flue To Vent Meth Smoke
- Reporting Death Threat Received Upon Refusing To Accept Handful of Cashews/Washers as Payment
- Sopping Up Bodily Fuilds With Sponge After Shift
- Laying Head On Wheel, Sobbing Gently
So those interested in stepping into the orthotic black shoes of our world's unsung heroes would do well to pick up Bus Simulator 2 at their local Internet.
2. FORKLIFT TRUCK SIMULATOR
When I first saw this game, I immediately thought of the warehouse employees in a large retail store I used to work in. Their jobs didn't seem too forklift-oriented (to me they seemed more "smell like a dumpster and scream at the fat kid from Electronics (read: me) because he asked you to help him get a TV down for a customer and then report a kindly old Indian man to management because he made a joke about a box cutter"-oriented) but a forklift WAS used from time to time, and they seemed to enjoy using it. So I figured that maybe a forklift simulator wasn't such a terrible idea after all. that is, until I saw a video of it.
Well here, maybe you should just have a look for yourself:
If you can't watch the video (or just don't feel like it) it shows a forklift whirring slowly around an enormous nearly deserted warehouse, picking up various nondescript untextured boxes, driving to the other end of the building, and depositing them on a different highlighted shelf. There is no sound except for the vibration of the machine's engine and an echoing thud when a package is placed on a shelf. However, I don't see this isn't much of an issue, as any sounds which might've been included would only have been drowned out in the player's head by his subvocal howls of rage and despair anyway.
It should be noted though that game promises "3 different forklift trucks with individual characteristics", and by characteristics I assume it means "This forklift goes slightly faster and beeps when you back it up" and not personality characteristics like "this forklift is addicted to online poker, or, here's one that hates Arabs" or whatever. I doubt the latter is the case, though, which is a shame seeing as I'm pretty I'd enjoy Anthropomorphic Forklifts With Personality Disorders Simulator a hell of a lot more than this game.
C'est la vie, I guess.
3. BUNGEE JUMPING SIMULATOR
I could go on and on about how silly the idea of a bungee jumping simulator is. I could talk about how bungee jumping is more of a passive activity (allowing yourself to fall off of things) than an actual sport, or how all of the thrill of bungee jumping centers around the idea of being in danger and that this feeling is all but impossible to capture in a budget PC game, or even about how creating what is ostensibly a side-scrolling cartoony version of said game in which the player must perform "tricks" (read: front flips) while still giving it the grossly misleading title "Bungee Jumping SIMULATOR" would be one of the strangest and most ill-advised things you could possibly do as a game developer...but I won't do all that.
Instead, I'll simply post a video of the game followed by a poorly translated (from German, naturally) description of the game to give you a better idea of what it's all about.
Bungee jumping has long been the ultimate thrill. Who is already cracked, knows what is meant. Those who do not, who can now try out on his PC this fascinating sport. The motto is: Participate - do not just watch. The "bungee simulator offers numerous venues - from the ordinary crane bridges and dams to buildings and even hot air balloons.
With increasing complexity and more experience of the player, the dropping of more and more senior positions. Who will be the most beautiful in flight and it makes characters combos is that receives high ratings.
There are additional, if you have a Touchdown creates, ie as close to the ground. In the higher levels, it is also the task of the rope themselves together and to determine parameters dei. But beware - those who are here vertut, lives dangerously.
The game comes with global highscore lists. Here, players can jump in all the classes remotely with your competitors. The motivation is not, as it daily weekly, monthly and eternal highscore lists.
* Complete detailed 3D environment
* Many anchor characters are combined
* Time-based ranking system
* 3 difficulty levels
* International Highscore lists
* Countless Jump Locations
* Party and Tour Mode
4. WORLD OF SUBWAYS SIMULATOR
OK I'll admit it: I used to play Microsoft Train Simulator. Well maybe "play" isn't the right word. I RAN Microsoft Train Simulator on my computer and performed various actions in it. Was it fun? Not necessarily, but it was relaxing. Sure, the graphics were pretty awful (quantity over quality is pretty much a requirement for these games), it ran like crap (again, pretty much a prerequisite for sims), and there were really no visual representations of passengers, wildlife, or traffic to make the game seem alive, but I'll be goddamned if listening to the droning rumble of an electric train while watching the jagged, nearly-textureless scenery of a mountain pass slowly unfold in front of me didn't put me into a pleasant, trancelike state in which time and matter ceased to have meaning.
That said, I haven't played World of Subways, but judging by this video...
...I get the feeling it's pretty much the same as Microsoft Train Simulator, except instead of slowly chugging across scenic plains with a group of bored sightseers, you're piloting a screeching metal box through miles of dimly lit tunnels, your only respite from the blackened monotony being the grey, garbage-and-fecal-matter-strewn expanses of the stations at which you are forced to stop every 3 minutes to load and unload hoards of angry jostling commuters, bearded guys who masturbate under newspapers, and whispy young bachelors in skinny jeans who simply do not stop texting and you just want to drive your fist into their little pug faces again and again while screaming STOP TEXTING STOP TEXTING STOP TEXTING COULD YOU FOR ONE GODDAMN SECOND OF YOUR VAPID LITTLE OWL-CITY-LISTENING-TO, ALTERNATIVE-PRESS-MAGAZINE-SKIMMING, NON-PRESCRIPTION-GLASSES-WEARING EXCUSE FOR EXISTENCE STOP TEXTING YOU EMACIATED LITTLE SHIT OH HOW I LONG TO DESTROY YOU AND YOUR KIND AND SO SHALL I CALL DOWN THE WRATH OF JUMALA THE ANCIENT FINNISH-URGIAN GOD OF TWILIGHT AND DUSK UPON THEE AND HE SHALL CRUSH YOU WITH THE FURY OF A THOUSAND JUPITERS TO ME JUMALA TOOO MEEEEE AND SO THE HEAVENS WERE WROUGHT ASUNDER.
I bet it's probably something like that.
5. GARBAGE DISPOSAL SIMULATOR
Upon first hearing about Garbage Disposal Simulator, my heart leapt into my chest, as I envisioned the exciting scenarios a well-made garbage disposal simulator might afford a diehard Garbage Disposal aficionado such as myself. But the prospect also filled me with doubt: Could a videogame possibly recreate the feeling one gets from correctly wiring and installing an In-Sink-Erator Compact 3/4 Horsepower Garbage Disposal by closely following the manufacturer's detailed instructions? Do justice to the wet grinding whine of that first test batch of celery bits and potatoskin shavings? And what of care and maintenence? The thrill and unease brought about when one is forced to reach down into the deepest darkest recesses of that moist and deadly hole to retrieve a soft drink tab which has become lodged in one of the teeth couldn't possibly be done justice in a simulation, could it? One could only hope.
Unfortunately, upon further research, I was absolutely devastated to discover that the title Garbage Disposal Simulator was something of a misnomer. The game appears to be nothing more than a common garbage pickup sim. I'd share more details, but my crushing disappointment (coupled with the developer's site being in German, which I cannot be bothered to translate) prevents me from doing so.
Instead, here's a video of the "game" in action:
So consider this my plea to the developers over at Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften Spielhersteller Unternehmen (or whatever): Please for the love of god develop a "real" garbage disposal simulator! Please!
It's really not too much to ask.