"If you stare into the Steam Store long enough, the Steam Store stares back" - Unknown.
Today, I stared into the Steam Store. And what I found was glorious and terrifying and surreal. Hidden in the deadliest reaches of the Steam Store are a plethora of simulation games that are almost too specific at times, you can't help but wonder if maybe there's a conspiracy beneath it all.
So allow me to share with you some of the weirdest, need-to-see-it-to-believe-it simulators that are out there. And hey, maybe one of them will be the simulator you never knew you always needed.
1. "Airport Fire Department - The Simulation"
Release Date: November 11, 2011
The airplane isn't the only thing that's hot. So is this game! Or, maybe it is, I don't really know because it only just came out today. But if the trailer is any indication, Airport Fire Department - The Simulation is going to be one crazy intense game.
I have no idea why there are so many fire trucks rushing to the scene of every single fire, or why there are so many airport fires in the first place, but this game doesn't ask questions. It solves problems. Fire problems.
2. "Airport Firefighters - The Simulation"
Release Date: May 13, 2015
Developer: Visual Imagination Software GbR
Uh oh, step aside Airport Fire Department - The Simulation, you have some competition. If that first one wasn't quite your cup of tea, then give this totally different title a try.
In this title, you'll be putting out fires in airports. Having played neither this nor the the airport fire department simulator, I can't quite tell you what the difference is. But it would appear that this title offers you the chance to go in the boots of an actual firefighter, charging hose-first into fires both within the airport terminal and on its runways.
I mean, anyone who buys the fire department simulator will have to buy this as well, so why am I even bothering with comparisons. It's like Pokémon Sun and Moon — are you really only going to buy one?
...Also, seriously, why are there so many airport fires?
3. "Professional Lumberjack 2015"
Release Date: March 5, 2015
Developer: PlayWay S.A.
Who cares if 2015 is in the title? You can be a lumberjack any day of any year with this title. Featuring: trees, a day/night cycle, and even wood mills. Sadly, this title, for all its effort, doesn't look to be all that popular:
"Let me save you some money and don't buy it :)"
Even if the reviews are bad, it's still only the second-most disappointing lumberjack-related entertainment ever (looking at you, Dexter finale).
4. "Fireworks Simulator"
Release Date: November 26, 2014
Developer: Reality Twist GmbH
Be a true American with this title and make every day the Fourth of July. View your fireworks from "up to 6 different camera angles"! Experience more than 100 effects across 30 different launch racks!
Yes, all of this and more is possible with Fireworks Simulator. Looking for a succinct, brutally honest review of the game? Steam user GasMask has you covered:
"Uh... Well... It's a fireworks simulator alright..."
Say no more, GasMask. I'm sold.
5. "Cat President ~A More Purrfect Union~"
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Developer: Oh, a Rock! Studios
Honestly, I don't have words for this one.
"You're just an ordinary teen girl looking for work after your college dreams didn't quite pan out. But when you get lost backstage during a national debate, you find so much more: a bunch of talking cats who are running for President. And that's not even the weird part—they all want to hire YOU as a campaign manager!"
Some games are weird. Some games are specific. Some games are weirdly specific. And then some games are like this.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be a teen girl who suddenly gets put in charge of a presidential cat-paign (yeah, I made the joke), then, uh, I guess this one's for you.
On the plus side, the reviews are looking good!
6. "Streamer Simulator"
Release Date: August 23, 2016
"Streamer Simulator is a simulation being streamer. Change your old life for the better. You can become the world’s greatest streamer in history."
A simple description for a simple game. Your goal is to earn money through streaming so you can buy a better computer and stream even more. (But don't forget about rent!)
Although reviews aren't looking too favorably on this one, the game appears to have some gems of humor to be mined from fake video games such as:
- And more, equally punny fake games.
7. "Fernbus Simulator"
Release Date: August 25, 2016
Sure, driving simulators are actually pretty popular. And yes, some can actually be really addicting. But Fernbus Simulator makes the list not because of how good or bad it is, but because of how weirdly specific it is.
In Fernbus Simulator, you'll drive all over Europe across over 20,000 real-life kilometers worth of road, experiencing "the daily life of a long distance coach driver."
Not sold? How about this?
"Like in reality at the bus stations passengers already holding a valid ticket can get on right away while the other passengers have to buy a ticket from you."
Too real to handle.
8. "Goat Simulator"
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Okay, look, this one may be on the list, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game. In fact, it's the best game. I've played it, I've loved it, you all should give it a go, too.
Goat Simulator is intentionally bad and full of glitches, but the results are hilarious. Not only that, it's incredibly self-aware, with the original trailer being a direct parody of the lauded Dead Island teaser video, and subsequent additions being just as much parody as that.
It's actually gotten so popular that there are multiple DLC packs available for it, and if you couldn't tell from this section, the game is worth every penny (though some people might disagree).
9. "Rock And Roll"
Release Date: Still in alpha
Developer: Digitallion Studio
It's a rock simulator. You're a rock. You do rock things.
And it honestly surprises me to say this, but the game looks pretty good. It actually appears to have more features than simply "being a rock," almost as though the creators got so excited by the support they decided to make a game from something that started as a joke.
10. "Drowning Simulator"
Release Date: April 23, 2014
Developer: Sortie en mer
Okay, this one is actually terrifying. It's a free-to-experience "game" that you can play in your browser by going to this site. The premise is simple: You're on a sailboat, you get knocked into the water, and you need to use the scroll wheel to stay afloat.
This was actually created as a sort-of PSA about boating safety and always wearing a life jacket. If you get tired scrolling up on your scroll wheel more easily than you expected, than what's going to happen when you have to actually swim to stay alive?
Without spoiling it, the death sequence provoked even more pathos than I expected and makes me never want to go near any water without precautions in place. Job well done, Drowning Simulator.
11. "Soda Drinker Pro"
Release Date: April 14, 2016
Developer: Snowrunner Games
You might think that Soda Drinker Pro is just another weird simulator that has you drinking soda in an only-semi-decent CGI environment. You might think that, but you'd be wrong.
Seriously, just watch the trailer above. Soda Drinker Pro is more like some crazy drug trip than anything else. I'm honestly not sure whether to be inspired or scared by the results, but it's definitely a grander game than the title implies.
12. "I am Bread"
Release Date: Apr 9, 2015
Developer: Bossa Studios
"You are bread. Your mission, become toast!"
Just when you thought simulators couldn't take it a step further, they go and take it three steps further and off in some random, unpredictable direction.
I am Bread manages to somehow combine the thrill of a bread simulator with the worlds of Goat Simulator, Team Fortress 2, and even Star Wars — sorry, I meant "Starch Wars."
Don't believe me, just look at this inspirational review from SOS IM BREAD:
"Game is not bready yet, to say the yeast... but it's still awesome dough.If you like bread, you knead this game. You'll loaf it. Pardon the buns.>Rubbed jam on myself>Jumped off the table>Landed Jam-side upThis game is the best thing since SLICED BREAD."
My kind of people.
13. "Clock Simulator"
Release Date: July 20, 2016
I have to admit, I did not expect the plethora of positive reviews when I first saw the title of this game. But lo and behold, it sits at an overall "Very Positive" on Steam with 136 reviews.
Perhaps it's something about having a simple, relaxing cadence that people find so enjoyable. Or maybe it's just that some folks like to know exactly how much time they've spent playing a game.
14. "Bear Simulator"
Release Date: February 26, 2016
Apparently bears no longer walk on all fours, which may be the funniest and most noticeable part of this simulator. Unlike Goat Simulator, which has you playing from third-person, Bear Simulator has you play from the first-person perspective. Your goal is to be a bear and "explore stuff."
But apparently there's more to exploring than you might expect. According to the game's description, you can do things like...
- Collect cosmetics like hats, find curious things to decorate your den, discover strange and confusing bear beds. All very realistic bear behavior.
- Discover secrets but keep them secret ya hear?!
- View your bear through the Bear Face Cam. With it you can display your hats!
- Read the markings left by other animals after upgrading your nose.
- And more!
This is another one with surprisingly positive reviews, and much of it seems to revolve around the game's sense of humor (which, if the above picture is any indication, is great).
15. "Tea Party Simulator 2015™"
Release Date: April 23, 2015
Developer: Liens, Power Up to Maximum
I won't lie, it was hard to pick a preview image for this one. It was a tough battle between the stuffed teddy bear that apparently insults you if you can't host a proper tea party and the one above, which... I don't even know what's happening. Tea in space? I guess?
Anyways, this one has a trailer that starts out gentle and calm, as you might expect a tea party to. But then it shifts into an insulting-teddy-bear, table-flipping, plate-smashing mix of chaos and honestly, I kind of want to play it now because it seems insane in the best sort of way.
16. "Predator Simulator"
Release Date: May 11, 2015
Developer: GameIndica Entertainment
This game is for anyone who's, erm, ever wanted to be a lion with the sole purpose of wiping out humanity. Apparently that will save the planet.
It's actually an interesting concept and advertises itself as an "action arcade RPG," but the reviews for this one aren't too kind. Perhaps an update will come along that makes it better, or an even bigger, stronger predator simulator will go full meta and make this game its prey, only to take its rightful place at the top of all predator simulators.
17. "Totally Accurate Battle Simulator"
Release Date: Summer 2017
Developer: Landfall Games
Okay, this one's not actually out yet but it already looks promising.
Well, it looks "promising" at least. The kind of so-bad-it's-good promising that I can only assume simulator games hope to achieve. Not much info is available yet outside of the fact that you "pit waving arm men against each other and watch them fight it out" but this is definitely one I'll be keeping an eye on.
But truthfully, this is only the start of the Steam Store abyss. There are so many other games out there — simulators or otherwise — that'll make you question everything you know.