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'Transcendentally boring': the joy of job simulation games


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Oct 27, 2021
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From farming to trucking to bus driving, why do millions play games that replicate regular jobs in forensic detail?

There is no escape for me this time. The rear axle of my pick-up truck is wedged on a boulder protruding from the mud in the middle of a deserted backwater road in Michigan. I’ve tried to attach a winch to a nearby tree to pull myself out, but it’s not working. I will have to abandon the vehicle, fit up another and try again. This load of timber is not going to deliver itself.

I am playing Snowrunner, the latest in a series of painstakingly authentic offroad delivery simulator games in which players have to haul goods through a variety of unforgiving landscapes at speeds that would shame a garden snail. Before each trip you have to select exactly the right vehicle for the job, fit the correct tyres and work out your likely fuel consumption to the nearest millilitre. On the frozen roads of northern Alaska, there is no room for shoddy planning.

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