It is the very precision of these games that has attracted such a devoted following. “Throughout development we gather a lot of questions,” says Julian Mautner at Stillalive studios, the team behind the Bus Simulator games. “When you turn the ignition key once, which functions of the bus actually work, and which icons on the dashboard light up? What happens afterwards when you turn it into second position? These are the details our players really care about.”
These are the things I also enjoy about 'job simulators' and can sympathise with this statement: “I play simulators because by their nature they are internally consistent,” says fan Melissa Harper. “If you’re playing a game and you’re in a cockpit, and you can’t press all the buttons, that absolutely slaughters the experience for me. But in Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can press all the buttons, and they all do something. That’s SO satisfying, and then you can learn what they all do.”
From farming to trucking to bus driving, why do millions play games that replicate regular jobs in forensic detail?