There’s a game on Steam called My Summer Car. It’s been out for a number of years now, and it’s glorious. The developer describes it as “the ultimate car owning, building, fixing, tuning, maintenance AND permadeath life survival simulator,” crucially leaving out that the entire game takes place in Finland in the 1990s.
There is a urine metre. You order car parts by mail. You can go to the sauna and you can drink — oh god, can you drink. The website looks like this. Wouldn’t you know, the creator has just announced a sequel: My Winter Car.
Right now, all that amounts to is an artwork post by the developer, Johannes Rojola, on the game’s Steam page titled “It is a thing.” There is a cash register and a logo for My Winter Car — that’s it. Very straightforward and very matter of fact, much like the game itself and the dude who made it. If you have a free hour and want to spend it in the most irresponsible way possible, watch the video below that Rojola made about My Summer Car before it came out, where he explains an early build of the game in excruciating detail in perfect “rally English” — an accent that I didn’t even know was a thing until I started writing this, though I’ve obviously heard it many times before.
There are many simulator-type games these days — Train Simulator, Farming Simulator, Power Wash Simulator and of course Goat Simulator. My Summer Car, though, is ours. It belongs to car weirdos. It’s also impossibly mundane, often dark and very difficult. The patch notes are the best I’ve ever read, for any game, ever:
• Fixed possible issue with Sewage wells not always registering the Hose
• Fixed bug with Oilpan leaking infinitely
• Fixed bug with Wood Carrier automatically picking up Firewood
• Added TV to Jail
“Added TV to Jail.”
This is a game where you can pump septic tanks for money. There’s also a permadeath option, which makes things especially challenging as there really are a million ways to die in My Summer Car and maybe only a quarter of them involve car accidents. You can die of thirst for example, at which point a newspaper front page is presented with your anticlimactic demise as the top story and two multi-column photos of empty fields. Look — not a lot happens in Alivieska.
In fact, the only conceivable way to make My Summer Car more miserable is to set it in the bleakest season of the year, which is where My Winter Car comes in. I can’t wait to hate it so much I love it, when it releases at a nebulous future date that may never be formally announced. It’ll just show up randomly one day, like mail order car parts. Just the way it should be.