Regarding Games

American Truck Simulator for Non-Gamers

Recorded on August 27th, 2016

The last game I bought for any home computer was Myst in about 1997. I played it for maybe two hours and then got bored. I’ve bought a couple of iOS games over the years, but never was tempted for anything else on the Mac platform. The internet and OS X filesystem have always seemed like enough of a game that I didn’t feel the need to simulate anything for fun. But today I tried a demo of American Truck Simulator and I totally get it.

The game puts you in the cab of an 18-wheeler with a load of cargo to deliver to a customer. I played it for a while this afternoon and got completely sucked in. I still have no idea how to steer properly, but I did eventually manage to get off and on the expressway twice. Many other vehicles in my wake were totaled in the process, but I got the truck moving. You can tweak the controls to be as simple or complicated as you like. Even with automatic transmission mode making it easier, a keyboard is a poor controller for steering, accelerating and braking. Suddenly those those gamer steering wheels don’t look so silly.

American Truck Simulator highlighted how underpowered my laptop is. If you play it on a system lacking a decent graphics card, be ready to dial the resolution down to get decent framerates. Also, stick with it long enough to experience the joy of driving at “night” and having to turn on your headlights. It feels pretty lonely out there when you can only see 75 yards in front of you and everything else is dark.