Gaming

The serene beauty of 'American Truck Simulator' and games of manual labor

Who thought hauling logs on a truck through a rural county would be this comforting?

American Truck Simulator

Games like American Truck Simulator, Spintires, Farming Simulator 19, Euro Truck Simulator, and others may sound banal at first glance. But they embody a kind of boring normalcy that we all secretly love.

American Truck Simulator

Especially during a pandemic, these simple games are providing people a semblance of ordinary life. A reminder that things were once normal.

American Truck Simulator

Your task as a truck driver in American Truck Simulator is pretty simple: deliver cargo across the United States and sometimes even Mexico and Canada. The game, which was released on both PC and Mac in 2016, continues to attract a large fanbase thanks to its simplicity.

Transportation sounds dull. But the beauty of American Truck Simulator is how straightforward and effective the game is. The controls in your vehicle do exactly what they're supposed to. You have a fairly quiet business management world to tend to. And hauling cargo across urban and rural regions helps you escape your real life problems.

American Truck Simulator

Want to spice things up? Consider SnowRunner. Make it a truck in northern Alaska but you have to navigate treacherous and frozen roads to deliver cargo. It's not anywhere close to being punched to pulp in Mortal Kombat but there's a thrill to that kind of old-school truck life.

SnowRunner

SnowRunner

25M

The number of copies Farming Simulator 19 sold over the last 11 years.

VentureBeat

Farming just got a lot cooler

Your task in Farming Simulator 19 is uncomplicated and yet challenging: harvest a successful crop of wheat on your personal farm. (You'd be surprised how tough it is.)

Farming Simulator 19

The key ingredients

The landscapes you see in each game come from incredibly simple tools like Google Earth, Maps, and Street View. Actual truck drivers, bus operators, and farmers get in touch with the games' designers to provide the authenticity needed to make it realistic and effective.

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What about the sounds?

The soundscapes for these games come from YouTube where countless truck and bus drivers upload videos detailing their lives.

Martin Ruegner/Photodisc/Getty Images

“I play simulators because by their nature they are internally consistent. If you’re playing a game and you’re in a cockpit, and you can’t press all the buttons, that absolutely slaughters the experience for me. But in Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can press all the buttons, and they all do something. That’s SO satisfying, and then you can learn what they all do.”

'Microsoft Flight Simulator' fan Melissa Harper

Microsoft Flight Simulator

In a world where gaming is often dictated by intense plots based in fantasy, simple video games like these simulators entertain us through three perfect elements: precision, authenticity, and A-to-B straightforwardness. Who doesn't love that?

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