Going for Goat: in celebration of the truly terrible simulator game

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This week marks the release of possibly one of the most bizarre simulation games ever created. Entitled Goat Simulator, this widely publicised gem takes the promise of its name rather loosely, as the actual gameplay has very little do it with living the life of a farmyard animal. Rather, the player takes on the role of a horned terror; think crashing into tables, fences and cars, chasing innocent bystanders and generally just causing a ruckus. There is no apparent ‘aim’ to the game; the player is simply invited to gain points by achieving hidden goals and creating widespread mayhem. What’s especially interesting about this £6 game is how honest and open its creators are about the nature of the gameplay and how unpolished it feels. In fact, this rough-around-the-edges identity is what the creators believe will make Goat Simulator really stand out of the crowd. With its extremely over the top physics and lack of solid structure, Goat Simulator has the potential to be either something incredible or absolutely awful.

And so, to celebrate the release of Goat Simulator, I’ll be going through a collection of other such ridiculous simulation games. Whereas Goat Simulator is fully aware how stupid it is, these other simulators are entirely unintentionally hilarious – something which makes them even more gleeful.

Farming Simulator 2013

Perhaps the most complete game on this list, Farming Simulator 2013 was developed by Giants Software and is available on a wide variety of systems. As most could garner from the name, Farming Simulator 2013 is a game in which the player takes control of a farmer doing such everyday activities as digging some soil, planting some seeds and attacking innocent drivers on the highway. Well, the last activity isn’t really encouraged by the game, but it’s an almost irresistible temptation when you eventually grow bored of following the onscreen instructions. With the expansive world created for the player, it would be a shame to not explore its entirety, and all those preciously oblivious AI on the roads are too gormless to ignore.

Airport Simulator 2014

From here onwards we’re going downhill in terms of quality, but the hilarity can only increase. Airport Simulator 2014 is the catastrophe developed and released by United Independent Entertainment Limited. In this ‘game’ the player is given a number of tasks to complete in order to successfully run and expand their own working airport. However, the developers appeared to have overlooked a vital component in their game; content. Once the player completes the tasks set to them, they’re made to wait up to half an hour before they have anything else to do. Add to this the fact that vehicles that can only reach the – insane – top speed of around 10 mph and the boredom of having to repeat and rinse the same activities and the player will inevitably take advantage of the wonderfully awful physics engine, with amusing results.

Underground Mining Simulator 2011

With a name that already screams excitement, you can imagine what to expect with Underground Mining Simulator 2011. Developed by god knows who, this ‘experience’ puts the player right into the action of an ‘ultra-realistic’ mining facility. As far as I know, mining doesn’t involve extremely confusing objectives, copy/paste-like environments and game-breaking glitches.  In fact, this one might be so bad, it may not be worth playing even to discover how much the game can be broken.

Rigs of Rods

Saving possibly the best (or worst) for last, it’s hard to define Rigs of Rods as anything other than a beautiful mess. Classed as a ‘vehicle simulation game’, Rigs of Rods places the player in an open sand-box environment with a number of vehicles available to drive. Whether you’re actually able to drive any vehicles at all however entirely depends on your ability to navigate the amazingly broken environment, physics, models and pretty much everything else. Attempting to tame the beast that is Rigs of Rods is a game in itself, as the player has to wrestle with the game’s tendency to make the environment and models so unstable, they sometimes refuse to exist. Additionally, the character model is glorious, with his lumberjack-esque appearance and ridiculous walking animation. Top this off with glitches galore, half-developed sounds and the game’s inert desire to crash, and Rigs of Rods is a terrible game, but a fascinating exploration into physics. It’s a good thing it’s free.

Goat Simulator was developed by Coffee Stain Studios and is released for Microsoft Windows on 1st April via Steam (£6).

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Third-year English undergraduate, dabbles in records and video-games. Can be found trying to raise money for new games and consoles, worshiping David Bowie and reading young-adult fiction unashamedly.

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