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Pondering the Existence of Career Simulators

When it comes to video games, I am on every mailing list in existence. I get every PR email, web link, and video that comes down the pike.

I wish I got free game consoles or even free games, but as the prophet Mick Jagger said: “You can’t always get what you want.”

Recently I opened my inbox to find this tidbit: Farming Simulator 2017 targets sometime before the end of 2016 as its release date. This announcement is significant for several reasons. First, it’s impressive to think that running a farm can be classified as entertaining. And I don’t mean to disrespect the game at all, I’m sure it’s the best and most realistic farming simulator out there (I feel pretty confident there aren’t many vying for that title).

Another reason this was significant lies in the game’s title, Farming Simulator 2017. The date being present begs the question of whether there have been previous versions of Farming Simulator–clearly there have been.

Again, I am not casting dispersions against Focus Home Interactive or Giants Software. I am quite confident that if this sort of game is your cup of juiced wheat grass, you’ll be euphoric with Farming Simulator 2017. However, I am mostly intrigued by this entire genre of video games–the career simulator.

If you spend any time at all listening to these features, you know I’m a huge fan of Twitch TV, the streaming service that offers you the chance to watch other people play video games, which is fascinating if you like video games (which I do). I see streamers playing games like American or Euro Truck Simulator, or Microsoft Flight Simulator in Career Mode. In these games, the player drives a truck, or flies a plane, for hours. There is no score kept here–you simply deliver cargo or passengers over and over again. Yes, you earn money and use that money to upgrade your equipment (or expand your farm), which I suppose means you can measure yourself against others and win the simulator race if that’s what you want.

This sort of video game is just so much like real life, you see? It’s pretending to be work, which is a four letter word. I have enough work in my real life, when I sit down to play a video game, I don’t want to do anything that even slightly resembles my day job.

I have enough work in my real life, when I sit down to play a video game, I don’t want to do anything that even slightly resembles my day job.

Now I realize that I’m splitting hairs here because many of the games I enjoy playing are RPGs–role playing games. Nothing screams “you have a second job” more than a video game in which you gather materials to cook food, craft weapons or armor, or build a house. Perhaps I am the pot calling the kettle black. I suppose it’s just the lack of adventure in these simulators. It’s relatively rare that a zombie pops out of your crops, or a dragon blocks the road, but that’s just life as usual in a role playing game. I’ve been known to give sarcastic replies to the voice overs when they proclaim my impending doom. “Yes, yes, I understand. You’re going to break my body and take my soul. It’s not Tuesday unless some demon is hunting me.”

I value adventure in video games because my life and career are mundane. My websites frustrate me, but they rarely explode and injure anyone. I may wrestle with writing split infinitives, but that doesn’t usually result in anyone’s head coming off. So I want zombies and dragons complicating my daily activities.

Maybe we have arrived at an answer, then. You play a video game that doesn’t resemble your actual life and career. I suppose this means we can assume that all those bomb squad technicians and special forces recon rangers relax by driving a truck or flying a plane for hours with absolutely nothing trying to kill them.

Or maybe they just harvest some wheat. That’s Into Gaming; I’m Mark Lautenschlager.

Written by Mark Lautenschlager

Mark Lautenschlager

Mark hosts the weekly "Into Gaming" Feature on the "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" broadcasts and is an avid PC gamer, IT Director, and webmaster. He is married for three decades to the most patient woman on Earth, while paying for the college educations of his children. His hobbies include MMORPGs and eating sushi.

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