Sim-plicity

Sim-plicity on PC Gamer!

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I’ve been terrible about posting on my site when I’ve got new columns up on PC Gamer, so let me remedy that right now. I’ve been writing weekly Sim-plicity columns (where I play non-heroic video games), and here are the links to all of them. (You can also just visit my article archive link.)

I’ll try to start keeping this page updated.

Sim-plicity

Sim-plicity: I am a tow truck driver?

My new Sim-plicity column is up on PC Gamer: in it, I play a game called Tow Truck Simulator, and busy myself with the important work of towing illegally parked cars!  Though honestly it takes me most of the column just to successfully tow a single car. I also wonder if I’m playing the part of a tow truck driver, or a sentient tow truck, hence the question mark.

You can read it right here.

Speaking of which, my last column for PC Gamer, I am a human being, was a bit of a hit, getting some nice attention on the site and on Twitter. I was also surprised and thrilled to hear it being discussed on the Idle Thumbs podcast. I’ve listened to Idle Thumbs for ages, so I’m pretty stoked to have been a topic of conversation on their show (Episode 82). The discussion of my column and the sim I played (Real Lives 2010) begins at about 1 hour and 12 minutes in. One detail they got wrong: I’ve never written for Rock, Paper, Shotgun (though I hope to someday).

In more News About Me, I wrote a little piece on Thursday about the movies I always watch when they’re on TV. It was later posted to Metafilter, which resulted in a bunch of other people listing their Always Watch movies. Good to know I’m not the only immobilized when a particular movie pops up on TV.

Sim-plicity

Sim-plicity on PC Gamer!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here yet, but my Sim-plicity column (where I play down-to-earth simulation games) has been picked up by PC Gamer and is running Sundays on their website! Here are the articles that have been posted:

(The Sim-plicity columns I wrote for Screen Cuisine are right here, as well.)

I also recently wrote a game diary for PC Gamer about Skyrim’s Hearthfire add-on, which lets you build your own house in the game. I had some… difficulties with it. You can read the diary here.

Thanks to everyone at PC Gamer for publishing my stuff, and thanks to their readers (my readers, now!), who have been really great with their comments.

Sim-plicity

I am a Farmer

In video games, there is a direct link between food and health: eating food in games is often a way to heal yourself. You’ve probably wondered at some point, “Why does eating a loaf of bread or a bunch of grapes instantly heal my horrible stab wounds?” And that’s a fine question, but what you should have instead been wondering was “Where does all that food come from?” Because, see, food comes from farms, and I played a farming game, and I need an intro paragraph to get started talking about it.

So! To answer the question you didn’t ask, I decided to buy a game called Farming Simulator. And no, I didn’t buy a heavily discounted copy Farming Simulator 2009. Screw Farming Simulator 2009. This is Farming Simulator 2011. Yeah, baby! It’s updated with all the recent farming advances! It’s state of the art farming! This ain’t your grandfather’s farming simulator! (Your grandfather’s farming simulator was a farm.)

[Read more...]

Sim-plicity

I am a Surgeon

The objectives of most of the video games I play fall into one of two categories: kill all of the people, or help some of the people by killing all of the other people. As a result, I’ve spent thousands of hours committing extreme and remorseless acts of violence upon virtual human beings. While I find causing horrible injuries to be a lot of fun, I figure it might be nice try to healing a few, so today I’m going to put down my knife and stop cutting people, and pick up a knife and start cutting people. But in a helpful way.

I bought a copy of Surgery Simulator, by Excalibur Publishing, a game that lets you perform a number of surgical operations on sick or injured patients, or as my gamer brain interprets the goal: kill all of the injuries with careful medical violence.

[Read more...]

Sim-plicity

I am a Bus Driver

Over the course of my long and storied gaming career, I’ve done a lot in service of saving the world. I’ve slain dragons, rescued princesses, and disarmed nuclear weapons (not to mention, detonated a few). I’ve protected the President, assassinated Hitler, and obliterated aliens from other galaxies. I’ve piloted fighter jets, submarines, battle mechs and interstellar space ships, all with the goal of saving humanity from utter destruction. Long story short, I’ve saved the world. A lot.

Frankly, I’m tired of it. Let other gamers save the world: I just want to live in it. Luckily, there are a number of down-to-earth simulation games that will allow me to do just that. Today, I’m looking at a sim called Bus Driver, by SCS Software, that lets me inhabit the presumably uncomplicated guise of a driver of buses.

[Read more...]