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After a long day of work, come home and simulate more work!
January 27, 2012 7:23 PM   Subscribe

While you may be familiar with popular video games like Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto or Call Of Duty, there is another genre of video simulation games dedicated to the more mundane, albeit vital aspects of life: [MLYT]
Street Cleaning Simulator
Woodcutter Simulator
Oil Platform Simulator
Bus and Cable Car Simulator
Demolition Company Simulator
Ambulance Simulator
Agricultural Simulator
They all appear to be made by the same German Game Designer.

Penn and Teller were way ahead of their time with Desert Bus. [Previously]
posted by AndrewKemendo (43 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's a pretty hilarious review of Street Cleaning Simulator somewhere that I read recently. I think it's probably this one:
The problem with trying to obey the traffic laws is that the other cars don't. You might be patiently waiting at a red light when out of nowhere a deranged driver in a Vauxhall Corsa crashes into you, after pinging off a few dozen other cars. If you're lucky, this causes your street sweeper to grind to a halt. There's no realistic collision detection here. More often than not, though, you and the other vehicle both go flying into the sky. It's hard to believe that in the field of actual street cleaning, the sweepers can bounce 40 feet into the air before landing on their side, clipping through the road a bit and then righting themselves. Often, while making your way to a filthy road, you can spy two cars in the distance, bouncing up and down on the spot like motorised space hoppers and then sinking into the floor, never to be seen again. Pedestrians are just as incomprehensible. If you drive into them, they disappear. Much like the cars, they also frequently sink into the floor or walk through flat, untextured walls. If this were a survival horror game then it might even be creepy. But it's not. It's a street cleaning simulator.
and
The most exciting moment in the game occurs in the final level, when the mayor assigns you to clean up a mess that resembles a mixture of blood, vomit, and soot following a New Year's Eve party. It's the only mission that doesn't follow the exact same formula, and that's only because the stuff you're cleaning up is red.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:30 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like he's trying to get a job adding content for the next Grand Theft Auto installment.
posted by LionIndex at 7:34 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I can't can't strafe and I can't hop but that don't really matter,
'cos I have got a luvverly game where I can drive a tractor.
posted by Abiezer at 7:35 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Agricultural Simulator is terrible. I was so excited when I saw it, but it has a worse interface than Dwarf Fortress.

Think about that.
posted by winna at 7:35 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Still no Sim Sewer, damm....
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:37 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes those train simulators get a little weird too...
posted by kmz at 7:38 PM on January 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Does the oil platform simulator include a level where you have to sit in the canteen trying to read your book without looking up at the bizarre porn on the telly?
posted by Abiezer at 7:38 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The ambulance one needs traffic congestion, and it would be great in a carnage filled game - mopping up.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:40 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason the Germans are all over these hyper-realistic simulators.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:42 PM on January 27, 2012


Incidentally, Maxis for a while was producing simulators for industrial training and related, as well as doing some stuff in conjunction with Santa Fe Institute. The most famous example of an industrial simulation they did was SimRefinery.

Of course, the important difference is that these didn't suck.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:48 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Demolition Simulator got good reviews overall and was a bit of an internet darling for a while.

It is fascinating there are simulators of actual jobs you could theoretically go get. Could you somehow harness the brainpower people put into these to perform real work? Like if you created TSA simulator, could you get otaku worldwide to scan actual luggage? Could you create security guard simulator, where you show a feed of a hallway and the player hits a button if they see someone try to sneak in?

This is a huge huge market for a company like Zynga. Just think if they could get players to pay for TSA Simulator was well as scoop up government contracts to scan actual packages.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:50 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Clearly, you've been watching too much Stargate Universe.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:52 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ad hominem: That was a minor plot point in Neal Stephenson's latest, kinda — although in this case security footage becomes avatars in a World of Warcraft type environment. This is lampshaded in the book as being a very inefficient way of doing things.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:53 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does the fire brigade provide regular ambulance service in much of Germany?
posted by Jehan at 7:55 PM on January 27, 2012


You know, I even read reamde. Still, after that book I have decided everything Stepenson thinks is wrong. Therefore it is a great idea.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:56 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why am I not surprised these are from the same country that brought us Agricola.

.. But no Agricola is fun, really it is. I just couldn't help it.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:59 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've bought Railfan for my PS3, and it's oddly mesmerizing. I sometimes love have it on in the background on automatic, and you get to see scenery of Japan (the one i have) go by.

Penn and Teller were way ahead of their time with Desert Bus.

Not even close. A lot of the actual ones are about doing a good job doing things correctly, and quite predate it. Desert Bus is a gimmick that thinks it's witty. Most of these games (at least the Japanese ones) are for people to do a job they always were interested in or love, but don't or can't do. Hell, Steel Battalion (the one with the huge mech controller that was brutally unforgiving) is simply an off shoot of these.
posted by usagizero at 8:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is fascinating there are simulators of actual jobs you could theoretically go get. Could you somehow harness the brainpower people put into these to perform real work?

I'm assuming that within the next few generations of "Call of Duty" games you'll be actually dropping bombs from drones onto women and kids in Pakistan.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:03 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've bought Railfan for my PS3, and it's oddly mesmerizing.

That looks great. I would probably play an NYC subway simulator for a good 30-40 minutes if they included mole people and rat kings.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:05 PM on January 27, 2012


Does anyone remember "Gunship" btw? I had it for an old IBM-clone 286 I think. It was so grindingly realistic ("J" to "start the battery" I believe) that to this day I believe I could do a fair job of flying a military helicopter.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know about all of Germany, Jehan, but they provide some ambulance service in Leipzig. I learned this touring firehouse there last summer.
posted by wintermind at 8:06 PM on January 27, 2012


I'm assuming that within the next few generations of "Call of Duty" games you'll be actually dropping bombs from drones onto women and kids in Pakistan.

All the death and none of the expensive PTSD treatments!
posted by Seiten Taisei at 8:12 PM on January 27, 2012


Railfan can indeed give you all the thrills of a morning commute. They made one for the Brown Line too. Trains get a lot of love among modelers and video game recreations because it is appealing to people who love precision and perfection I think.

The bus games seem all blocky in comparison. City Bus Simulator has all this human interaction what with taking people's money. Do you want to really want to get stuck in traffic playing Toyko Bus Guide? No way, trains are where it's at.

Until Sega makes CRAZY BUS at least.
posted by Winnemac at 8:13 PM on January 27, 2012


drjimmy11, check out this "quick start up" video for DCS Black Shark.
posted by Edogy at 8:17 PM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm holding out for Mundane Simulator Developer Simulator.
posted by Foosnark at 8:17 PM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Street cleaning especially is weird. There has to be something else going here, the website reads like the company does contract work maybe these are part-demo/part-busy work; either that or someone or everyone in the company and some or all of the players are on the autism scale.
posted by PJLandis at 8:18 PM on January 27, 2012


Foosnark: Game Dev Story
posted by LogicalDash at 8:36 PM on January 27, 2012


Oh yeah these games go way way back. I remember writing one of my first web pages back in the days of Mosaic, with scans of a Japanese magazine review of a power shovel simulator. That must have been 1994 or so. It was a crude Game Boy simulator of operating a small power shovel, with simple 1-bit graphics on the tiny LCD screen. You dug a hole and dropped the dirt in a pile. I still remember my sarcastic review, "it looks like almost as much fun as operating a real power shovel." But of course these games developed a huge following, I guess some people like boring work simulators as recreation, like Power Shovel for the Playstation. I don't care if it simulates scooping turtles from a swimming pool, that's just camouflage to cover up how boring it is.

We've had these boring sims all over Mefi before, like the Tokyo bus sim, the Yamanote-sen subway simulator, etc. Everyone thinks of Japan as the land of innovative and weird video games, but they also produce absolutely stunningly non-innovative and boring, tedious games. I still remember my disappointment that I could not use the boring Yamanote-sen sim to take one fast lap around Tokyo, it would always shut me down after blasting through one station. There is no room for fun in a sim like that, the game rules prohibit it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:53 PM on January 27, 2012


The distinction between work and fun is a matter of attitude. Some people drive cars for fun and some do it because they're paid to. A lucky few get both, and still have to run laps when they want to sleep.

Saying that hyperdetailed sim games are no fun is fine if you're just expressing your own distaste, but it seems like you believe that they embrace boringness as a design philosophy, which suggests in turn that you don't really believe anyone could find that sort of thing fun. Reconsider.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


No mention yet of the best sim of all time? table flipping sim
posted by Ad hominem at 9:30 PM on January 27, 2012


Saying that hyperdetailed sim games are no fun is fine if you're just expressing your own distaste, but it seems like you believe that they embrace boringness as a design philosophy, which suggests in turn that you don't really believe anyone could find that sort of thing fun. Reconsider.

Oh don't get me started on the old "aesthetics of boredom" stuff. Yes, these games embrace boredom, they revel in it. I've even been caught up in it myself. I used to play a lot of F-117 Stealth Fighter sim. Oh man was it boring, it was the antithesis of an exciting flight sim. A "good" F-117 game was typically a couple of hours of cockpit management, scrupulously avoiding any enemies that might cause exciting action, dumping a missile at a bunker out in the middle of nowhere, and then another couple of hours flying back to base, where I'd invariably crash land and the whole mission was a failure. Most of the missions involved lengthy, low altitude flying over the empty desert, and you had to actually fly, you couldn't use autopilot or you'd crash. It was like playing Desert Bus, but in the air. The graphics were crude, the plane was difficult to fly, and the combat was unrewarding. And I'd play it for hours and hours, on my PCjr.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:49 PM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Let's not forget SEGAGAGA, the Sega simulator.
posted by Nomyte at 9:55 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Simpsons did it!
posted by yellowbinder at 10:11 PM on January 27, 2012


There's a pretty hilarious review of Street Cleaning Simulator somewhere that I read recently.
You could be thinking of this one on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. They also published a review of the Russian driving simulator City Car Driving today.
posted by netd at 10:40 PM on January 27, 2012


Man, I was playing Tokyo Bus Driver back on Dreamcast. Nubs.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:10 PM on January 27, 2012


Dustforce sort of takes Street Cleaning Simulator's concept full circle and makes it exciting again.

The talk about embracing boredom as a design choice reminds me of No More Heroes, which is all of: one of my favourite games ever, a surprisingly vicious commentary on games and power fantasies, and about 50% content that's extremely (intentionally) dull and/or bland. For example, the the lawn mowing and garbage collecting minigames, which you have to 'play' a lot of in order to afford entry to the actual hitting-people-with-a-lightsaber-bought-from-ebay levels.
posted by emmtee at 1:30 AM on January 28, 2012


Does anyone remember "Gunship" btw? I had it for an old IBM-clone 286 I think. It was so grindingly realistic ("J" to "start the battery" I believe) that to this day I believe I could do a fair job of flying a military helicopter.

Had it on my Commode-door 64. Huge keyboard overlay, with commands mapped to just about every key. Even had stuff mapped to the function keys. No telling how many hours I wasted on that one.
posted by rhythim at 8:21 AM on January 28, 2012


No telling how many hours I wasted on that one.

The sequal Gunship 2000 was the first game I bought for my first PC. It consumed a large chunk of my early 90s (though I don't like I ever got at of the least forgiving cheat mode - that automated the flares and other defences - into full manual because that was just too hard). I remember, several years later, seeing an Apache at an airshow and chatting to one of the pilots.... it felt like meeting a movie star.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:32 AM on January 28, 2012


So is it like, you bore yourself in order to build up ludic tension, or whatever the gamer's analogue of sexual tension is? And then you release it by ruining the game on purpose? Or you don't have any fun at all *while* you're playing, but get your jollies off telling others about the experience, or running bizarre events like Desert Bus For Hope? Or you maintain ironic detachment and get some kind of Hipster's Runner's High?
posted by LogicalDash at 10:09 AM on January 28, 2012


Not from the same guy, an oldie but a goodie... an internet classic.... The McDonald's Employee Simulator.
posted by theartandsound at 11:06 AM on January 28, 2012


Welding simulator.

Of course, setting yourself on fire is half the fun, but they could simulate that too. We have the technology.
posted by stet at 2:40 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll wait for the Zamboni simulator.
posted by SillyShepherd at 6:02 AM on January 29, 2012


This is a huge huge market for a company like Zynga. Just think if they could get players to pay for TSA Simulator was well as scoop up government contracts to scan actual packages.

I think the whole of EVE Online is actually a clever plot to trick people into operating some investment bank's trading platform.
posted by atrazine at 6:22 AM on January 29, 2012


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