The Utility Vehicle Simulator You’ve Been Waiting For

By Craig Pearson on March 12th, 2012 at 5:15 pm.

Coming Soon: What Have I Done With My Life Simulator
Eventually all the minutiae of the human condition will be available as budget simulators on the PC. “Yawn Simulator”. “Uncomfortable Silence Simulator”. “Microwave Burger Simulator” It’ll get more and more generic, the titles less and less exotic, until one day we’ll have the machinations of the world described on your shelf. Utility Vehicle Simulator is the first step on the road to “Rolling Your Hands Up And Down On Batteries Simulator”: it’s the game about driving vans, keeping in the speed limit, delivering boxes, trimming trees, sucking sewage. We have a video of it in action. Sorry, “action”.

I’m glad this stuff exists, but I’ve absolutely no idea who it’s for. Let’s turn the comments into a straw poll: do you have one, do you enjoy playing it? I got a bit lost in Bus Driver when it arrived on my desk at PC Gamer. The challenge was so prosaic: keeping to the lane, collecting passengers. It was inadvertently compelling. Satisfying, rather than fun to play. But back then, this sort of sim was still fairly strange, now we have one every other week.


It’s out this Friday, so you can spend the weekend having the best time ever.

, , , .

47 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. iteyoidar says:

    From what I understand, these are the German equivalent of those deer hunting games that are always on sale in Walmarts and probably have a similar audience. Though I don’t think deer hunting games ever escaped from the US so there’s probably some terrible deer hunting/garbage truck driving PC game equivalent in the UK I’m unaware of!

    • Khemm says:

      Some of those Simulators are actually pretty good, or at least would be if they had a bit higher budget, more variety and most importantly some artistic vision when it comes to audio/video presentation.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Or were a different game entirely.

        • Shoelip says:

          I played the demo of Deer Hunter 2005 and it was actually pretty entertaining trying to track down your prey, lining up the perfect shot for an instant kill, screwing it up, and having to follow the blood trail and marks to hunt down the wounded animal. When you did get the perfect shot though it had this cool effect where the bullet flew in slow motion to the target and you got to follow it like the sniper rifle in Max Payne.

  2. gulag says:

    How is this stuff getting shelf space?! I was in GAME today, nosing around the corpse if you will, and I was confronted with this, Farm Machinery Simulator 2012 (Clearly such a cut and thrust world needs frequent updates), and Delivery Van Simulator.

    How does this stuff find it’s way onto the limited shelf space GAME gives over to PC games, while countless others remain unstocked and unpromoted? Is it some sort of joke I missed the start of?

    • simoroth says:

      I too was nosing around Game today to see if the staff had any concept of their impending doom and was also struck by this. There were no less than four B grade simulators along side Star Craft and the Sims expansions. I assume they get it heavily discounted through some mass wholesale channel.

      • Cerebulon says:

        Four? That’s nothing. I was in there a few weeks ago and they had no less than ten, if not more. I lost count because I was laughing too much.
        I do like how this trailer has a general air about it that screams “Oh god I have 15 minutes to throw together a trailer, I don’t have time to correct any mistakes”, and so the entire thing is somebody driving at high speeds on the wrong side of the road with the back doors open and then throwing traffic cones all over the place.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      My guess would be that they sell good.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      In other news, Game is about to go bust, so maybe that’s why.

  3. Khemm says:

    I’d totally play “RPS Editor Simulator”.

    • Grygus says:

      It’s a laugh riot, but do not get the Comments Section DLC; it’s likely to suck any fun you’re having right out of the game.

  4. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    You mean all I have to do is put this box in my van and drive it slowly back to base and you will give me a pat on the head? If only life were this simple, this ordered, this predictable, this regular. Aaaaah. Therapeutic.

    Polemic 1: All games with rules are essentially just heavily disguised versions of this need for the world to make sense. We want our heads patted.

    Polemic 2: A country’s real-life character is the opposite of its prevailing cultural entertainments. Germans are massive, massive pervs.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      We are? Why was I not informed! :(

      • Belua says:

        Of course we are! Didn’t you get the memo?

      • vrittis says:

        Well apparently we french people are also considered this or that by default, i’m willing to exchange one coward for one perv, i got that in double :)

  5. Skabooga says:

    For the interests of the straw poll, I do not own any of these simulation games.

    I cannot help but feel that RPS is somehow single-handedly responsible for keeping these types of games alive. And I have no problem with that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gemberkoekje says:

      I have, and actually like, the 18 wheels of steel truck simulators ~ there is something eerily therapeutic about keeping to the rules. The difference is that at least you can look out to bigger, better trucks, upgrades and even having other trucks with their own drivers (I’ve never actually understood how to hire them, but that’s besides the point)

      • Miltrivd says:

        I got some of those as well, but I always played them with the aim of getting the best truck and do deliveries at irresponsible speeds while outrunning police cars. I honestly thought that was the idea.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    As a delivery van driver I have to say it all looks far too plain and easy. Most towns, at least here in the UK, just aren’t that nice and straight forward to get around. They’ve obviously never spent half an hour up some dirt track trying to find an address in the middle of the Forest of Dean, or having to take your van up a hair raising steep narrow lane in the Stroud Valleys, only get to the top and find the sat nav has brought you to the wrong address anyway and there is no where to turn the van around. Some of the places I’ve had to get my van up makes Ice Road Truckers look like a bunch of puff cakes.

    How about adverse weather conditions. I can tell you from experience that trying to drive one of those rear wheel drive lumps about in the snow and ice is like trying to steer a drunk rhino on rollerskates. Not that the customer gives a toss about that. Oh no, they might not be able to get to you in their 4 wheel drive Mibatsu Elephant or whatever, but they some how expect you to be able to get to them in your 2.5 ton crate on wheels. Oh we’re all snowed in and can’t get to the shops, we better put in for a delivery. Yeah that makes perfect sense, idiots!

    • Premium User Badge

      Erithtotl says:

      This may have become my favorite RPS comment ever.

    • MasterDex says:

      Oh no, they might not be able to get to you in their 4 wheel drive Mibatsu Elephant or whatever, but they some how expect you to be able to get to them in your 2.5 ton crate on wheels. Oh we’re all snowed in and can’t get to the shops, we better put in for a delivery. Yeah that makes perfect sense, idiots!

      Yeah, it does make perfect sense. Why risk illness by walking to the shops in the cold, risk car damage, injury or death by taking the car to the shops or just feel uncomfortably cold when you can simply call for a delivery, avoid all that and get someone that’s paid to deliver stuff to you and can only be assumed to be of enough intelligence and driving skill to not put themselves in uneccesary danger. It’s perfectly logical, just as it’s perfectly logical to deny the request if it’s too risky/not possible.

      • Premium User Badge

        Chaz says:

        No, no it doesn’t, it makes no sense. Picture yourself all snowed in out in a little countryside village, you can’t even get your car off the drive. Now given that’s the situation, how would you expect someone in a van to get to you? Do you think that for most of the year delivery companies drive around in vans, but then as soon as some bad winter weather sets in then they break out the husky dogs and snowmobiles. No of course they don’t, they still send out the same vans that they have been all year round. If you put in an order knowing how bad the conditions are where you live, then you are just being plain selfish by putting other peoples lives at risk. Delivery drivers are not the emergency services, they’re just a bunch of low paid guys and gals driving vans trying to earn a crust.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rikard Peterson says:

      You’ve steered a drunk rhino on rollerskates? I’m impressed.

      (I wonder if that game would be similar to Octodad?)

      • Premium User Badge

        Chaz says:

        Zoo animals, they’re some tough deliveries. I still cringe thinking back at the time we accidentally took a giraffe under a low bridge.

        As for Octodad, I think he might actually be one of our drivers.

  7. Roshin says:

    I don’t own any of these sims, but I can sort of see the appeal. Ever seen a kid admiring a big truck, fire engine, or whatever and said “I want to drive one of those when I grow up”? That’s what I imagine this is. Playing around with various types of hardware in an environment that doesn’t require you to shoot mans, drive like an idiot, shit yourself with fear, etc.

    If they ever merge all these sims into one product to rule them all and upgrade the visuals to GTA IV standard, they would be up to their ears in monies.

  8. lencil says:

    AndrewC and Chaz’s comments combined make up exactly what I was thinking about these. These sorts of sims are very appealing because they take something that is, in reality, a rather complex task with high emotional stakes (you fuck up on the job and your boss gets mad at you, you fuck up driving a bus and passengers yell at you, you fuck up in the real-life equivalent of the Sims and your friends/SO are mad at you, etc.), and simplify it to the point of easy rewards meted out at even intervals. The lack of emotional stakes lets the user bring their own level of involvement to the game without feeling overwhelmed, while still letting them feel like they are accomplishing something with real-world analogues. The straightforward nature of the tasks clinches it.

    I do find these sorts of things rather satisfying, and do sometimes wish that life were composed of “okay, jump over this (literal) hurdle. No one is watching and if you fall you can just try again; no time limit. Done? Good! Here is a slightly higher literal hurdle.”

  9. 0rpheus says:

    How can there be a market for bizarre ‘utility’ sims like this, and not for a decent, modern fast attack jet simulator along the lines of DCS A-10?

    It makes me sad. :(

    • Brun says:

      Because modern jets are immensely complicated machines and most people aren’t willing to invest the time and effort in figuring out how to play a DCS-caliber sim.

      Contrast that with a delivery van, which pretty much anyone who’s ever driven a car will be familiar with operating.

  10. asshibbitty says:

    I think it’s a game for people to play on their PCs.

  11. Adekan says:

    I eagerly await the epic saga of Ian Boxvan: Motorized Box Delivery Man. Do not disappoint, RPS!.( I actually laughed out loud several times at the last Street Sweeper simulator diary on RPS )

  12. MistyMike says:

    The camera slowly panning over the boxart is my favourite part of these trailers.

  13. crocoduck says:

    How come all these simulators use the same font as MS flightsim?

    • somini says:

      It’s the default SimFont.
      That gives me an idea. A font designer simulator. You have limited time to design all the characters in a font, and you lose points for copying existing designs. The first mission is designing Comic Sans

  14. DizzyrupTor says:

    Actually people this IS a ground breaking and stunning move on behalf of the publishers of this simulator. Think of it. They have completely cornered the market in a way not even bill gates could do. They have a genre all to themselves! No more competing in the FPS market. The Utility Vehicle Simulator market has already been dominated.

    Watch out EA / Activision.

  15. sk2k says:

    This is all what i need. Sailing (flying) away from reality. :)
    http://www.hangsim.com/vsf/

  16. pmanpman says:

    I had a lot of fun with a free spacecraft sim I found a few years ago, was enjoyable for a while, wouldn’t pay for it though

  17. Neurotic says:

    I’d love to read Tim Stone’s thoughts on this. Is it Excalibur who publishes all these stolid sims?

  18. hello_mr.Trout says:

    “Uncomfortable Silence Simulator”
    i would play this game!

  19. bill says:

    Does it include the part where you are only allowed to deliver at times when the customer isn’t available, and so have to take out back to the depot 100% of the time, while lying about having left a card?

    That’s always been my favorite part of deliveries in the UK .

    Though of course not all countries are like that. Maybe German delivery companies are actually professional and able to do their job.

  20. Nethlem says:

    Yay, go german genius, go!

    For a country/culture that considers itself so “advanced” it’s kinda scary that all the software we produce over here boils down to “let’s simulate boring things from the real world, in the most boring way we can’t imagine!”.

    Videogames are supposed to be fun, because they are also an leaning experience. That so many germans (and non-germans) consider it fun to play “simulated jobs” is a scary thought that says alot about our modern society and culture.

    For some people it’s an “advanture” to play busdriver for one day… makes you wonder what these kind of people do the rest of their life, when they consider something like this “exciting”.

  21. cpy says:

    Still only good simulator is Eurotruck Simulator or any other truck simulators from those extreme conditions or other oh yeah 18 wheels of steel, that’s the name.

  22. Glitch King says:

    Farming simulator is one of the best selling PC games in Danish game stores as sad as it is.
    I hand more farming sims, pro farms, garbage truck simulators and woodcutter sims over the counter than I care to admit.

  23. UmmonTL says:

    I’m just waiting for the big MMO of all the various vehicle simulators combined. Set in Clusterfuck city where nothing will ever get done right.

  24. popedoo says:

    Man, you get to close the door of the van?!!