American Truck Sim

American Truck Simulator is here for the long haul

I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 19 years old. This is rare in my home state of Wyoming, where most kids learn to drive manual before the first day of high school—I had to make every effort to avoid the attendant responsibilities of vehicular ownership. But the mountainous west is colossal, grandiose, and requires a car to accomplish literally everything, so of course I capitulated. Every vehicle I drove was “pre-owned” and equal parts charming and dilapidated. They had nicknames, lost mirrors in bank drive-thru lanes, played Local H and Suicide Machines tapes, stranded me on the…


Jalopy will take you on a ramshackle road trip through the Eastern bloc

If the “racing game” is about the ticking clock, the turn rate, the time it takes to get from 0 to 60, maybe the “driving game” is about the little things—losing track of time on a long trip, deciding to stop at the next hotel, turning on your windshield wipers instead of your turn signal. Greg Pryjmachuk used to work with the folks who make more traditional racing games like DiRT (2007) and GRID (2008) and the F1 games, but now he’s making Jalopy (previously called Hac), which doesn’t look particularly “traditional” at all. The physicality of maintaining the car…

Dead End Road

Horror lurks behind the nighttime driving of Dead End Road

There’s something existentially terrifying about driving at night. For my money, it has to do with that unpleasant combination of velocity and darkness. The swath cut by your headlights is only enough to catch fleeting images. Is that a hitchhiker you see on the side of the road, or an unnervingly convincing scarecrow? The red eyes in the darkness ahead might be the taillights of a truck, or something much worse. Like any great horror film, a highway at night gives you only glimpses of what’s actually there; it lets your imagination do the rest. I should mention here that,…


Stand aside, Waze: Mapkin is a GPS app that gives directions like a local

Mapkin is a free GPS app that gives you directions like a local, tailoring your route with hints and suggestions submitted by drivers who have driven it before. While on the road, drivers can record messages reporting obstacles or landmarks such as, “Take a left at the light onto Main Street, just past the gas station,” or “The road is really curvy up ahead, so take it slow,” as listed by the app’s website.  All driver-submitted tips are then listened to, verified and utilized in the route directions by the Mapkin team. “We use a variety of tools including map…


Far wants to change how you think about videogame vehicles

With his upcoming game FAR, Swiss designer Don Schmocker says he’s looking to reinterpret the role of vehicles in videogames. It’s not anything outrageous such as making cars edible or turning planes into surfboards (although I’d happily give that game a try too). And it’s certainly not Transformers. In fact, Schmocker avoids deliberately stating what his aim is here.   But, given that the traditional-style racing game has had the majority say in what vehicles in games are good for, we can presume that Schmocker positions his efforts against them. In these racers, the role of the vehicle is to…


There may still be joy to be found in racing games

I spent the first 11 years of my life reading used car listings and saving up for my first set of wheels. I spent the next four months of my life burning all of these car savings on arcade racers, a relationship that burned so bright and fast that I have never since felt the urge to learn how to drive or buy a car. Put otherwise: The 90’s Arcade Racer speaks to the part of my heart that will forever belong in the entrance hall-cum-arcade of Montreal’s Quilles G Plus (aka: RoseBowl). As the name implies, the game, which just…


Dead End Road will conjure up the dread of late night driving

A couple years ago, I had a job that required me to work late. I’d have to drive home on the verge of midnight a few days a week, through an unlit part of town I wasn’t very familiar with. There were jackrabbits in the field by the office. I saw one alive once. More often I’d spot them at night after a day’s worth of traffic had its way with the area, leaving misshapen heaps of red in the street like clumps of smeared oil paint. I never hit one myself. There were barely any cars out that late…


The Rust Belt is like Mad Max in the American Midwest

Replace Mad Max’s Fury Road with the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the American Midwest and you might get something like The Rust Belt, a dusty looking truck combat game by Galvanic Games. The Rust Belt puts you in control of a tow truck driver trying to get by in rural America after pollution has left Earth devoid of nearly every natural resource. While the upper classes have gone off and fled the planet, you’re left to travel through dangerous regions like the Eerie Desert, the Chicago Deadlands, the Detroit Militarized Zone, and the Iron Blighted City of Pittsburgh looking for supplies…


Throwback car game Drift Stage is elegantly sliding its way towards completion

Drift Stage is quite obviously a game about cars, but it is also a story about the passage of time. You can trace the evolution of car—and car game—culture in its influences: from 1960s Hot Wheels fantasies, to iconic cars of the 1980s, to 1990s arcade racers like Initial D, to the 21st century funding mechanism that is Kickstarter. To watch preview footage of Drift Stage, then, is to think about how our relationship with automotive entertainment has evolved. One part of that evolution, of course, is that Kickstarter delivery dates are purely notional. So it is with Drift Stage,…