Four words: Agricultural Simulator: The Farmer. You can go ahead and bail right now if the concept of reading an article about the highs and lows of agricultural farming simulation makes your skin crawl; I wouldn’t blame you. Come back next week; there’ll probably be guns, explosions and voluptuous alien beauties next week.
Let me get something straight: I’m definitely not a ‘simulation gamer’. I don’t enjoy even The Sims (the most casual of the ‘simulators’). But, by God, I’ll argue for the right for simulator players to wile away the wee hours tending to their crops, building a civilisation from scratch or constructing a deathtrap rollercoaster.
I mean, you can almost see the fun in it. Most simulator games (not all, but most) tend to be used as nothing more than elaborate death simulators. Pick up a FPS and the aim of the game is to kill. You’ll kill so many enemies in your average single player campaign that you’ll become desensitised to it a couple of hours in. Load up a game based on the simple yet important task of tending to crops, a game that is rated for 3 years and up, and you’ll try your damn hardest to decapitate a farmhand with your shears.
I’m fairly sure you can’t even kill people on this game; there’s probably no blood programmed into the game’s code. But you’ll still try. You’ll fail. But you’ll spend hours trying. It’s part of the fun.
This strikes a contrast from simulators like Rollercoaster Tycoon. So much blood. It’s almost like the developers know you’re just playing to kill as many unsuspecting people as humanely possible. That’s certainly what I’ve done on the few occasions I’ve played it. I seriously hope it’s not just me…
I’m sure the developers of Agricultural Simulator: The Farmer (is “The Farmer” bit really needed!?) have spent a lot of time and effort to produce a game that realistically recreates the thrills and spills of feeding livestock, controlling fields & buying/selling farming machinery. I applaud their efforts, I really do.
The thing is I’m not even taking the piss, here. Simulators like this are regarded, amongst most gamers, as ‘un-cool’ and ‘nerdy’. Yes, even amongst un-cool, nerdy video gamers.
But, you know what? During the Steam Sale I bet, amongst seeing said simulators on offer for a couple of quid, those very gamers picked up copies of at least one of them. And, you know what, I bet they don’t regret it.
It would seem simulators are one big joke; everyone jumps on the bandwagon. Nobody will admit to loving them but everyone secretly harbours a fondness for at least one of these games. Scan the hard drives of 100 gaming nerds and I bet 75% of them have a simulator installed, probably in a folder called “Porn”.
It’s more socially acceptable to like pornography than simulators. (If this were an article in a big gaming magazine this line would be in large bold font placed next to a glossy image of myself, arms folded, looking smug)
So, you know what, go out and fucking buy Agricultural Simulator: The Farmer. It makes no big promises. It tells no lies. It only requires 1GB RAM.
If you can’t spend £8.99 (before P&P) on a video game which currently holds an average review score of 2 out of 5 on Amazon.co.uk what CAN you do!?