A Lone Farmer At The End Of The World, Day One

By Nathan Grayson on December 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

It happened in a flash. No bangs. Not even a whimper. And then there was nothing.

Nothing except a farm. 

I don’t know where exactly I am. It’s very quiet, though. And… empty. Eerily so. An ocean of glorious green lies before me, but not even a single sign of life rustles in its bladed waves. I miss squirrels, I realize. Mere ambient distractions before, I now find their absence to be a fluffy-tail-shaped hole in my heart. Also, the entire human race.

Hey, tractors! Oh boy!

Welp, given that I’m on a farm and surrounded by tractors, I suppose it’s time for me to do the logical thing: attempt to contact aliens to get me off this desolate, abandoned rock. Right then, this ought to be cake. Well, except that I’m not particularly great at driving, and I’m actually the worst artist in the world. But since everyone’s probably dead now, I suppose that also makes me the best driver/artist/operatic metal singer on Earth by default. Now how’s that for a confidence booster? So yeah, I can do this. I can totally do this. No problem. Not a one.

Wait, no, I was wrong. I think I accidentally carved this strange wheat field on the edge of existence into the Borderlands logo, though. I wonder if aliens enjoy co-op? Or maybe they’re a hivemind, and the concept of co-op is literally incomprehensible to the–

Wait, what was that? My PDA made a sound. Someone – or something – is giving me orders. Also, I have a PDA for some reason – which seems like some kind of cruel joke, given that humanity is apparently extinct, but PDAs are back from the great technological beyond. And yet, even so, I must seek out whatever mysterious force is urging me to do its agricultural bidding. It’s my only lead. Finally, I have a brightly blazing source of hope. A light to guide me out of this madness.

Shit, I don’t even have the foggiest idea of what a pallet fork is. Oh well, I give up.

However, in the process of trying to figure it out, I’ve accidentally invented perpetual motion. Seriously. These two tractors became intertwined in some sort of otherworldly physics mishap, and now they’re just sort of twirling in one spot of their own volition – like ballroom dancers gliding about in an eternal embrace. Sinking into each other’s curves with the lithe grace only two-ton tractors are capable of. It’s beautiful. Also, I’ve probably lost my mind.

I glance at the clock. It’s been an hour.

I decide to get the lay of the land. Plus, who knows what I might find? And then, I see it: a car. It’s moving down a street far off in the distance. I immediately give chase, soaring over gentle hills and lazy fields on my ever-faithful tractor like a man on a mission. A man with a death wish. Eventually, I catch up to it. And also, I’m in a golf cart now because I don’t remember why. The car stops. Cautiously – butterflies in my stomach caged by instinctive trepidation – I approach on foot to peer inside. This is what I see.

That is not human. That is some plastic toy mold facsimile of the human form – a nauseating echo of my race, placed here for one mechanical, soullessly systemic purpose: to move aimlessly in circles until the end of time.

I flee in terror. I flee as fast and as far as I can. Up hills, through trees, past countless abandoned houses. But eventually, I can’t go any further. I can see off into the distance, but an invisible wall halts me where I stand. What kind of strange construct am I trapped inside? Can this be all that’s left of the world I once knew? Is this even that place at all? Or have I been unwittingly imprisoned in some kind of rustic, down-home purgatory, doomed to eventually fall in line with its hopeless cycle of repeated mistakes and crop rotation?

I survey the skyline, wondering how it came to this. I can look, but I cannot – and probably will never be able to – touch. I feel my stomach sink in despair. I guess this is the end of the line. But then, another faint sound shatters the silence. It’s my PDA.

I guess I should really learn what a pallet fork is.

Next time: Actual farming! Plus, tractor romance, existentialism, and more answers to the questions about this mysterious world that you’re probably not asking or – for that matter – even mildly curious about.

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60 Comments »

  1. Tom De Roeck says:

    what the…

  2. philbot says:

    I can not wheat to play this sometime.

  3. AmateurScience says:

    I think Nathan’s bought the farm

  4. PsychoWedge says:

    The surreal thing is the fact that I know people who play these games. And they do it with huge enthusiasm, I might add. But then again Tractor Simulator 20xx (or something like that) is on top of the gaming charts every year here in Germany…

    Coincidentally that’s also the time of year when I feel alienated from my own country and culture… xD

    • Dervish says:

      Is it really that different from something like Harvest Moon?

      • PsychoWedge says:

        I’d say yes. because Harvest Moon is rather similar to The Sims while the Tractor Simulator is more like M$ Flight Simulator or stuff like that.

      • sharks.don't.sleep says:

        I bought it because it’s the closest to Harvest Moon I could find.
        Those games are a nice change. Creating something rather than blowing stuff up, murdering countless enemies, etc.

        It’s a game that I play while I listen to a podcast or radio show, plowing a field, placing seeds and harvest what grows has a mesmerizing, relaxing effect.
        You don’t have to think much, you just do stuff once you know HOW to do it.

        • PsychoWedge says:

          I do get that. I play Star Wars Rebellion while listening to podcasts or radio or whatever and that is objectively not a good game. Far away from that in fact. Sometimes it pisses me off so much I wanna scream. I think the difference for me it just the point of playing a bad game with something that hooks me versus playing a bad simulator with something that hooks me. But then again I’ve never really been into simulators so I probably don’t get the basic appeal.

    • Oozo says:

      What’s even more surreal is that even after the 30th iteration and god knows how many copies sold, it stills seems to be so… bare-bones? broken? low-budget? I think it’s less strange that there are potential buyers out there than the fact that nobody else tried to do a better version of it. (Haven’t played it myself, mind you, so maybe it does well enough what it’s supposed to do? It’s just that in texts like this one here, it always comes off a bit like Soeldner.)
      Then again, it’s Switzerland’s only real succesful game-export, so there is that, I guess…

      • QualityJeverage says:

        It definitely does well enough at what it’s supposed to do. If you decide to look for things that are weird and broken, they’re very easy to find, but none of them really get in the way of the core gameplay.

        Frankly I think it’d lose a bit of it’s charm if the tractor physics didn’t freak out at the slightest collision with anything :P

      • Nosferatu says:

        it’s the mods… that and big ‘machines’ … people that find a tour around a nuclear power plant intersting… that love big trucks, trains, planes and spaceships…

        Sadly, there is no damage modelling – the physics are shite (and it’s physx powered!) and in general it’s overly labourious taking crops to market and doing the manual tasks. I got it cheap and plowed 70 hours into it *Shrugs* I’m done now.

        Agrarsimulator 2012 apparently shows properly plowed fields and all sorts of goodness – but where it lacks that farm sim apparently has is —– gameplay? :-O

        Agrarsimulator 2012
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfhMHYnYAR8

        I do though strongly believe Steam and yogscast boosted this game to charts.

        The mods keep me checking the game out though :)
        http://ls-planet.com/

  5. Llewyn says:

    It’s a fork for picking up pallets. Obvious, really. And not to be confused with a palate knife, which is a knife for stabbing people in the mouth.

  6. Sternhammer says:

    The wife heard a man driving down the road shouting ” the world is ending ” I said don’t worry its only farmer Geddon !!!!!

    • dudleyfisher says:

      Armageddon outta here after reading this thread

      • edwardoka says:

        The four horsemen rode steadily but inexorably up the path. The farm animals gave frightful clamour as they rode past the farm outbuildings. They arrived at the small crofthouse, dismounted, and their leader pounded on the door with a noise like thunder.

        The door opened a crack, and a woman’s voice was heard to cry “Who are you and what do you want?”
        “We’re here for Farmer Geddon”, hissed the leader in reply.

        Terrified, Mrs. Geddon stammered, “He’s not here! He’s out in the Field of Mouthparts gatherin’ a crop o’ lips!”

  7. rapchee says:

    i read a novel about a kid with the ability to alter things, who moved his town and the surroundings somewhere and the farmers would still go on working but they’d have to dump the excess food at their end of their world, partially hoping that someone would notice

  8. Chaosed0 says:

    Obligatory

  9. Skabooga says:

    This can only end badly for our protagonist.

  10. QualityJeverage says:

    I am not a simulator guy, or at least, I didn’t think I was.

    But then Farming Sim 2013 enjoyed a bit of an ironic, tongue-in-cheek popularity for a week or two and I decided to give it a go. Ended up buying it over the Steam Thanksgiving sale, and I’ve now clocked 65 hours in it, still going strong.

    I don’t know that that’s as baffling as it seems; I think to a certain type of gamer (Definitely not all types), sowing, spraying, and harvesting a crop sates some kind of obsessive need. It’s just satisfying, in a way I think some people will get and others won’t. And really, what’s more videogamey than farming, making money, and using the money to buy bigger better farm equipment so you can make more money?

    It also probably tickles that boyhood fascination with big loud trucks.

    Oh and the auto stacker for square hay bales is cool as shit. I could watch it all day.

    • lordcooper says:

      I’d probably buy a farming sim if one was ever made that didn’t look like a pile of wank. Give me the GTA IV of farming sims.

      • Muzman says:

        So, pretty much the same but your cousin rings you every five minutes and wants you to go bowling (and you do and the corn dies. Dies!)

  11. MrBillwulf says:

    Maybe there should be a cross between Farm Simulator and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, so you have to farm while occasionally fending off barbarians who want to pillage your village.

    • lordcooper says:

      That isn’t actually a bad idea. Maybe an AoE style RTS with in depth farming mechanics.

      • Locrian says:

        We could then call it Stronghold. It’s bound to be a big hit.

  12. Tom De Roeck says:

    TRACTORFACE

  13. Azazel says:

    Who knew that Dark City with tractors could be a thing?

  14. drewski says:

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant

  15. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Seems legit.

  16. MacTheGeek says:

    “But eventually, I can’t go any further. I can see off into the distance, but an invisible wall halts me where I stand. What kind of strange construct am I trapped inside? Can this be all that’s left of the world I once knew?”

    You must harvest your party before venturing forth.