The tough­est hol­i­day you’ll ever have

Our failed at­tempt to take My Sum­mer Car for a spin

Games Master - - Upfront -

Sur­vival sims usu­ally in­volve mak­ing axes and chop­ping down trees. Maybe a di­nosaur here and there. Ve­hi­cle build­ing is a new one, but that’s what My Sum­mer Car is all about – craft­ing a ride for the hol­i­days while man­ag­ing the usual drives of hunger, thirst, and go­ing to the toi­let. Oh, and swear­ing in Fin­nish.

0 min­utes

Even hav­ing watched the trail­ers I'm still not en­tirely sure what to ex­pect here. There's a prom­ise of a car, ob­vi­ously, swear­ing in Fin­nish (the de­vel­oper's lan­guage), the abil­ity to uri­nate wher­ever and when­ever I want, and the joy of per­madeath. As sell­ing points go those are... un­usual. How­ever, within min­utes the real game be­comes clear: build­ing the car. And not in a craft­ing kind of way. Oh no, build­ing the en­tire thing from scratch. I find a garage full of com­po­nents, and the en­gine alone must con­sist of at least 100 parts. From the camshaft to the gas­ket, and the lit­tle stick things I think are called tap­pets. This is sim­u­lat­ing the me­chan­ics of auto work to Ma­trix-like lev­els. Only with more pee breaks. I've no idea where to be­gin so I hit the swear but­ton, caus­ing my char­ac­ter to ques­tion Satan's pri­vate parts. It's a start.

20 min­utes

I have no idea how cars work. I mean, I get the whole com­bus­tion en­gine thing, and wheels. That bits easy. But faced with a garage full of lumpy metal parts, I haven't a clue. I head on­line and find a video of some­one else putting it all to­gether. The sub­frame goes in first. Then some­thing called horse­shoes, and then a steer­ing rack. Each time I add some­thing I have to find hid­den bolts and then test all the span­ners to see which one fits so I can tighten them. This game is not mess­ing about. While flight sims strive to cre­ate an au­then­tic fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, this game's life mis­sion seems to be per­fectly recre­at­ing the minu­tia of do­ing up screws one at a time.

1 hour

The per­madeath el­e­ments seem to re­late to a range of stats gov­ern­ing your thirst, hunger, clean­li­ness, fa­tigue, and just how full your blad­der is. It’s taken me an hour of real world time to at­tach four things to the car and my fa­tigue has maxed out. I’m also hun­gry, hav­ing long ago eaten the only food in the house – a sin­gle packet of sausages. There is at least plenty of beer, so thirst isn’t a prob­lem. At least not yet. Tired, I go to bed and hope food will be a thing I can some­how make hap­pen later. I don’t get much sleep though as the phone rings in the mid­dle of the night and a man shouts in­co­her­ently that he wants me to pick him up from the pub.

1 hour 10 min­utes

gar­den. than the front ex­plor­ing fur­ther I hadn’t even con­sid­ered In or­der to a nearby van. Up un­til this point avoid the so I turn my at­ten­tion ooooh, 3% done, on the floor to The car’s still only… crouch­ing ig­ni­tion first by ages wan­der­ing I have to hit the so I spend to get mov­ing, though, prompt. It’s dark comes off and find­ing the Then the hand­brake steer­ing wheel to find the lights. is so I just the dash­board where the pub the mouse around idea gear. I have no and roll the the road in first I miss the cor­ner and I trun­dle down Un­for­tu­nately, cor­ner. no transport. find it around the the dark, and with drive, hop­ing I’ll tree. I’m lost, in down against a van, end­ing up­side

1 hour 20 min­utes

and transport, I de­cide to can this at­tempt Given that I’ve to­talled my only work­ing The if there’s any­thing I may have over­looked. start over. This time I ex­plore to see there are some build­ings be­hind the lack of food is wor­ry­ing and when I re­alise but This may be a game about car main­te­nance house I set off to see if I can break in. doesn’t turn quick to hit the dirt. Look­ing around – like all sur­vival games – moral­ity is to a wood pile. Ear­lier, some­one who wanted up any food, but I dis­cover an axe and a be a good way to earn some cash. There’s buy some wood called, so this might the axe… it all and, hey, there’s a bot­tle be­hind trailer I can load up, a trac­tor to pull

1 hour 45 min­utes

The bot­tle, as it turns out, con­tains vodka, and my char­ac­ter drinks the lot. The wob­bly drunken screen ef­fect is so se­vere I can barely move, let alone chop wood. As far as re­gret­ful lev­els of drink­ing go, this is as painfully ac­cu­rate as the act of tight­en­ing a mil­lion bolts. The screen lurches and sways to the point where it’s hard to tell what di­rec­tion I’m even mov­ing in. For some rea­son, I de­cide to try and start the trac­tor. How­ever, suc­cess­fully push­ing the ig­ni­tion but­ton with so much screen wob­ble is im­pos­si­ble – a strong hint that ac­tu­ally driv­ing the thing, should I man­age to get it started, would be dis­as­trous. I give up and go home to sleep it off.

2 hours

ready to Today I build the car! No ex­cuses. I’ve got some videos stacked up and I’m about five con­quer the fine art of mod­elled me­chanic sim­u­la­tion. Ev­ery part takes all min­utes to get into po­si­tion and then bolt in place (once you’ve cy­cled through It’s the span­ners to find one that fits). There is an odd sat­is­fac­tion to this mad­ness. physics glitchy as all hell, ad­mit­tedly: the car con­stantly slides off the jack and weird sev­eral hic­cups mean I oc­ca­sion­ally get fired out of the en­gine hole (tech­ni­cal term) feet into the air. Still, it’s all tak­ing shape as I build out the front wheels adding sus­pen­sion bits, hubs, brakes and a cou­ple of stick things that seem im­por­tant.

4 hours

It’s fin­ished. No, wait. That’s not en­tirely ac­cu­rate. I’m find­ing parts, plac­ing fin­ished. Two hours of pa­tiently them in the cor­rect or­der, and then search­ing out swap­ping span­ners has bolts and fi­nally worn me out. I’m – all the wheels kinda proud of how far I are in place and work­ing, got, though and it’s only the lack of an (ad­mit­tedly a fairly im­por­tant ac­tual en­gine piece) that’s pre­vent­ing car-ness. How­ever, the com­ple­tion of its over­all the en­gine also looks ter­ri­fy­ingly of tiny in­tri­cate bits. com­pli­cated, Hav­ing spent with 12 shelves full hours just mak­ing wheels mood to start as­sem­bling work, I’m not in the pis­tons, so I fin­ish up by screen wob­ble drink­ing enough beer to and then look ap­pre­cia­tively make the me­ter maxes at my semi-fin­ished car out and turns red. as my hunger I never did find any more food.

Blocked out

My Sum­mer Car is a strange game. It’s poorly made, full of glitches, and some el­e­ments just aren’t that well de­signed – you have to crawl to in­ter­act with cer­tain things, for ex­am­ple. Plus, it tells you noth­ing. This is a game where you spend more time check­ing wikis and YouTube than play­ing. The save menu be­ing ac­cessed from the toi­let was a par­tic­u­larly late dis­cov­ery. That said, there’s an odd sat­is­fac­tion to build­ing a car from scratch. It’s bor­ing and fid­dly, but so’s the real thing. How­ever, step­ping back to see the progress you’re mak­ing can be re­ward­ing. Def­i­nitely not for ev­ery­one, but the ob­tuse chal­lenge will light a fire un­der some who won’t rest un­til that car’s run­ning.

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