There is a class of gamers who like to take their time and create something with patience and determination, or maybe do some work that is, well, real work.
Maybe it’s to do a job they could never do in the real world. It can be something very realistic, like rebuilding car engines, or something a bit exotic, like building an aquarium full of sharks or digging up dinosaur fossils.
I always wanted to run a pawn shop full of cool stuff, like that old guy from Gremlins. You might be wondering what it’s like to be a drunken, angry peasant from Eastern Europe. We have all been there.
Whatever your simulation kick, Steam Simfest currently features a bunch of such titles. I’ve gone through the presentations and here’s a selection of games that will turn gaming into work you might enjoy.
Note: some of these games are still in the demo phase, so don’t get excited until you check them out.
Farmer’s life [Steam Link]
Have you ever wondered what life is like as a farmer in Eastern Europe (game description, not mine)? It’s rustic, but less of a country getaway and more of an Evil Dead cottage without the demons. Except there’s vodka and fights, so evil spirits and violence abound in this farming simulator.
builder simulator [Steam Link]
Build a house from the ground up in this detailed simulator, right down to laying the foundation and setting up scaffolding to reach the roof. You even have to use a spirit level. If you don’t know what it is, maybe play first before attempting an actual building project…
Festival Tycoon [Steam Link]
Unless you’re in a band, chances are you’ve only experienced music festivals from the perspective of a drunk and stoned attendee. Swap that wristband for organizer credentials and stage your music event with overpriced stands and dodgy portable potties.
Dinosaur Fossil Hunter [Steam Link]
Many children dream of becoming fossil hunters, mainly because we had no idea how much work that would be. On the other hand, in hindsight, digging for bones in a dusty stream seems better than getting stuck in a daily commute. This game lets you know what you missed, but with a little less boredom.
My Museum [Steam Link]
I’m including this game because someone has to be in it. But just watching the videos of someone painstakingly polishing every inch of a shield made my eyes roll back into my skull. Hope you can cheat around this stuff because the fetch part looks fun.
potion crafting [Steam Link]
Potion Craft combines quirky visuals with a fun idea: you’re a medieval potion maker, gathering ingredients and brewing concoctions that help improve the lives of your patrons, presumably. I’ve seen this game before and it has a really unique charm.
prison simulator [Steam Link]
Step into the shoes of a prison warden and prison administrator in this first-person management title. You can choose how you approach things, spend money, and treat inmates. Expect riots, I guess!
Aquarist [Steam Link]
If you missed your call to run your own aquarium business, now you can relive those missed glory days. Start small and grow your store, supporting larger and more elaborate projects. And probably learn a few things about fish beyond what they look like in pieces.
Passpartout: the starving artist [Steam Link]
I can’t understand this game, where you make art to try to make your way out of poverty and into Andy Warhol’s fantasies. But the style looks cool and I like the different places you can unlock.
Rover Mechanic Simulator [Steam Link]
I never expected to see a game about building Mars rovers. It’s not that I thought the idea was too exotic. I literally never thought of that as a concept. But someone did it, and they made it incredibly detailed. I don’t know if this will satisfy budding NASA engineers, but what do I know?
barn seekers [Steam Link]
It’s like that Storage Wars show – you bid on barns and storage units, and find things that you restore and return for a big profit. Well, I think that’s how it works – I’ve never seen Storage Wars. But I saw an episode of The Simpsons about it, so I guess that’s where you find grandpa wigs.
Farming Simulator 22 [Steam Link]
Farming Simulator has a die-hard fan base, and it looks pretty cool – if you’re into virtual farming. And not the kind of thing in survival games where you plant a log and grow dragon fruit. This game is serious about its farming credentials.
If Steam reviews are to be believed, this is the car mechanics game to own. Now I know how to change my car’s oil and filters, but the rest is up to the friendly neighborhood mechanic. He doesn’t own a gaming computer, so I can’t ask him if that’s correct. But I’m not going to disagree with the wisdom of Steam reviewers…
Tank Mechanic Simulator [Steam Link]
In another entry in “I didn’t know you could get a game like this”, find old tanks, repair them, and sell them – or drive them around your tank land. Who knew there were so many abandoned tanks lying around that it’s even a thing? Maybe there isn’t, that’s why we have a game about it.
food truck simulator [Steam Link]
I suck at cooking simulators. I would place a few orders, then screw up and set the kitchen on fire. But if you’ve ever thought that wasn’t enough – that you also had to design a vehicle and find the best places to sell your street food (or maybe you liked the movie Chef) – then I have a game for you !
Ship Graveyard Simulator [Steam Link]
I’ve used that line before about “I didn’t know that was a game idea” – twice. And yet here we are. If there’s anyone who can never afford a slot machine, it’s a poor sap on an Indian coast stripping big ships. And if there’s anyone who’ll ever do that for a job, it’s the one playing this game. Sounds like fun, though – lots of things to smash! I could kick him.
Animal Shelter Simulator [Steam Link]
The problem with animal shelters is that you want to bring all the creatures home. This corporate simulator is a little lighter than the real thing (I don’t see anything about euthanasia) and could be a nice diversion for your inner animal rescue mind.
espresso tycoon [Steam Link]
Still a demo, this game promises to be an engaging cafe creation game where you try out your caffeine concoctions on the audience. Can you get out of Starbucks Starbucks? I do not know. I’m a fan of Denis Leary’s coffee flavored coffee. That joke he didn’t “borrow” from Bill Hicks.
Technicality [Steam Link]
Technicity lets you build a city in first person. I don’t know how it will work. You can do it piece by piece, which sounds crazy, but you might also be able to automate things a bit. I also don’t know if the city comes alive, like walking around your City Skylines creations. Still, it will have a co-op mode – and I always approve of the original co-op experiences.
To visit Steam Simfest for many more day job games – it runs until April 4th.