With the launch of Jurassic World Evolution, I’m plunged into a well of simulation games and I’m afraid I’ll never get out of it again. That’s partly because Jurassic World Evolution is so great, but also because I’ve discovered the weird and glorious sim genre en masse. While there are authentic – and incredibly addictive – games like train and bus simulators, as well as big daddies like The Sims, Sim City and Planet Coaster, there’s also a corner for the weird and the wonderful. , from the “psychological horror” of Mother Simulator (don’t laugh until you see the trailer below) to the thrills of House Flipper. So, for your work-away-from-work pleasure, here are the ten most ridiculous simulation games I’ve found on Steam. Trust me, you’ll want to check out this little batch for yourselves.
Simulation : Trash Pickup / Street Sweeping Reality
Okay, so before you consider this a pile of garbage, bear with me. Yes, there are certainly plenty of downsides to picking up litter and cleaning the streets: unsociable working hours; having to take care of other people’s waste; unflattering uniforms usually in neon colors; and… the smell. But there’s the peace of the early mornings and the idea that you’re cleaning up the world one street at a time too. That’s probably why City Sweeper popped up on the Steam Store, offering your unfulfilled junk-cleaning dreams for the low price of $4.99 / £3.99. You won’t be touching all those filthy trash bags, but instead piloting your very own very square and very slow street sweeper.
It’s not quite up to par with Saints Row 2’s Septic Avenger missions, but you’re probably the crew following behind those poop throwers. There’s a certain calm to cleaning up the streets and watching all the dirt disappear, managing your trash and fuel levels, and keeping those towns shining. Kudos to whoever created this weird little game, and good luck with this obsessive cleaning problem.
Simulation : Cleaning, renovation and resale of houses
If you’re like me, you put off cleaning the house as long as humanly possible, because in the end it might be a good thing to do, but it’s terribly boring. Why then is there so much fun in the mundanity of cleaning when it’s in game form? House Flipper has absolutely nailed that intense sense of satisfaction for a job well done in its gameplay, even if a game about renovating on paper can literally feel like watching paint dry in real time. You buy a run-down property, clean it up, fix everything that’s broken, then outfit it with new fixtures, fittings, and furniture just like you would in The Sims before selling it back, hopefully for a huge profit. You don’t get into the house flipping business for fun – unless you’re playing House Flipper anyway – and keep that dream of being a real estate tycoon alive. Now pass me that brush.
PC building simulator
Simulate: Create your ultimate gaming rig, for free
When a simulation game basically looks like a creation, things can get a little confusing. So when you’ve built your own high-end gaming PC and then play a PC building simulator on it, things get a little trippy. Do you miss the actual process of building a PC? Are you constantly looking for better ways to optimize space in your tower? Or being able to cram a 4K PC into a case thinner than an Xbox One X? We know it’s possible, but doing it in real life takes time, patience and, most importantly, money. Thanks to Bitcoin, PC component prices are skyrocketing these days, but with the PC Building Simulator, it’s free to play with the best kit money can buy. And it’s real kit, because PC Building Simulator has partners in Arctic, Cooler Master, Corsair, EVGA, and more, so this could be the start of a very expensive gaming experience for some people. Of course, it’s also a learning tool for understanding how to build a PC, and even lets you run your own PC repair and build shop with career mode. Just be prepared to use a PC while you’re on your own PC in real life to feel a little strange.
Homemade improvisation: furniture sandbox
Simulate: Post-game trip to IKEA
There’s only one thing better than a weekend at IKEA: coming home and building everything you bought at IKEA. But in reality, you can’t just keep going to IKEA every weekend because eventually you won’t be able to walk around your house to buy furniture and you’ll be broke. But luckily, there’s another way to get this IKEA building solution: Home Improvisation’s incredibly undersold game: Furniture Sandbox. In no way affiliated with IKEA of course, Home Improvisation still manages to channel that almost Lego-like feeling of following directions and ending up with an incredibly satisfying end result from all those boards and screws you started with. Except, as the title suggests, with Home Improvisation, there’s a lot more improvisation here because there’s no instruction. Take these quirky pieces and create whatever you want, it’s time to prove to IKEA and Lego that you are the master builder. Heck, do it even in VR and measure yourself next to your creations without worrying about hurting your back, pulling a muscle or getting a splinter.
Okay, out of all the simulated jobs on this list, some people might actually want to be a surgeon, but maybe not for the kind of patients you need to treat in Surgeon Simulator. While you can skip straight to the operating table, the game’s notoriously tricky controls – each finger is controlled by a different key, for example – means everything is even trickier than it would be in real life. It also doesn’t help that in addition to “normal” humans, you’ll also be tasked with operating on a few unusual clients, including TF2’s The Heavy, an alien, and… well… Donald Trump. It’s OTT, it’s messy, and it’s filled with seriously dark humor, most of which is totally unexpected with a game with this title. It may sound serious, but it’s not, but it’s part of the appeal.
VR fly killer
Simulate: The Perpetual Killing of Aerial Pests
We have all felt the plague of a fly. Whether they’re crawling on your picnic food, stepping on your freshly baked cake, or just flying around in strange squares in the center of your living room, they’re annoying. Is it strange to take a certain pleasure in crushing them? Especially when you’ve left the window open and tried to lure them to it so many times that you’re already catching the fag? If you really like all that, turns out there’s a game for you. And not just any game, a virtual reality fly swatting game. You run a fish shop that doubles as Fly City, and if a fly touches your produce, you’ll get contaminated and lose business. The only thing you have to do is destroy them before they hit the cargo, so grab your swatter and a can of bug spray and combine your bug attacks to blast your way to the ultimate weapons. It’s about swatting flies like you never even imagined possible.
Simulation : The most mundane jobs
Would you like to work 9 to 5 in an office, in a convenience store, as a mechanic or even a very basic chef? Not feeling inspired? What if I told you that you can do anything in a game? Even less inspired? Well, before you continue scrolling, be patient, because the real-life versions of these mundane jobs have been created as simulations within a simulation game by computer-like robots that have their information a bit…wrong. Soon you’ll be eating moldy donuts in an office and having more fun than anyone in a 6×6 foot cubicle has a right to be. And that’s before you realize the microwave in the kitchen as a cook can create weird combinations for all the items you throw in it. These are mundane jobs, but not as you know them, and finding out how wrong the job roles are is part of the fun.
Simulate: Motherhood and all its horrors
So there have been plenty of parenting/life simulators in the past – just look at the whole Sims franchise – but I don’t think any of them have summed up the deep fear that precedes the fact of having a child in game form. You know it’s disturbing when something called Mother Simulator is labeled psychological horror… But basically, it’s a VR game that intends to make you feel worried, bored, stressed and all the emotions that come with caring for a newborn who feels like the devil in disguise. Sure, there are unrealistic game elements – please don’t flush your newborn down the toilet – and (hopefully) the mania for it all is sensational, but if you’re not pretty terrified of parenthood at the end of this one, watch till the end of this trailer and try not to tell me otherwise:
YouTuber Life / eSports Life
Simulation : Become a millionaire before your 21st birthday
If you’re like me, you always blame yourself for missing the YouTube boat. We could all totally Let’s now run our successful cake and puppy YouTube channels and become millionaires if we just got the memo 10 years ago, right? Until someone invents a time machine, we can pretend we’ve caught the YouTube wave with the Zoellas of this world with a simulation game dedicated to it. Yes really. Very much in tune with the times of our current gaming climate, YouTuber’s Life is actually brilliant fun disguised as a management sim. Just make sure you put out enough streams to keep your subscribers counting while leading the life of one of the most popular people on the planet. And if you really want to delve deeper into that streamer lifestyle, you can also grab the first episode of eSports Life: Dreams of Glory. You know you want it as strong as your reflexes have gotten over the years.
Heartbreak High: A Breakup Simulator
Simulate: Being a heartless bitch
From one popularity to another: popularity in high school. Imagine the stress of being so popular that literally everyone in your school wanted to date you, and then you end up dating them all at once like an extreme polyamorist. But the problem is, you’ve actually decided to throw them all away, one by one, in one day – and there’s only 40 minutes left until the end of the school day. Spot consecutive speed breaks that you’ll need to handle with as much tact and sympathy as possible, or beat them in a mini-game. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, right?
Did we miss a Byzantine simulation game that yearns for recognition? Or have you become addicted to emptying virtual office trash cans? Let us know in the comments below.