I was idly contemplating what playing a Farming Simulator game for the first time would be like, because Farming Simulator 2015 is coming out on consoles in May. This family playing it together just made me super excited about it.
I've written about how I've tried to get into Farming Simulator 15 before, when they had a booth at E3, but I found many obstacles in my way, including a cow sitting on a tractor.
I think about getting back on the trail for room #8802 the next day, but I am distracted by the Farming Simulator 15 stand. A huge tractor is there. A man dressed as a cow is sitting in the tractor. There is nothing else at the stand apart from a man, whose job is, as far as I can see, to take pictures of people getting in the tractor with the cowman.
Wait one cotton pickin' moment.
If your game is a real farming simulator, you can't advertise it with a cow sitting in a tractor. That is not very realistic, unless farmers have been recently undertaking a cow tractor-teaching program that I do not know of, which I expect would have been in Farming News, an e-newspaper I receive fortnightly.
(It was not in Farming News.) (Actually, I do not receive Farming News.) (Farming News does not exist.) (It might, I haven't checked.)
If what you are saying to me is that in Farming Simulator 15 you will come across a man who is dressed as a cow trying to get into your tractor and make a nuisance, that I can accept. However, this seems like an obstacle preventing me from farming, which is the primary reason I booted up Farming Simulator. To farm.
This is very troubling.
"Can I play the game?" I ask the booth attendant.
"We didn't bring it," he says.
"What," I say.
"We didn't bring it," he says, with a note of finality. "Are you a hardcore fan?"
Are you a hardcore fan.
For a moment I think he's doing that thing that always happens to women at these things, which is that people try to imply you are just pretending to like video games so you can get into E3 and be hit on by gross dudes… or something. These people always have a Dark Souls t-shirt on or a smarmy grin or I assume at least two pitbulls at home. They probably drive humvees or whatever. They do stuff like ask you if you're someone's girlfriend (Such a personal question, what if I'm in between boyfriends right now? What if I just got dumped? What if I am asexual and came here purely to remind myself of why?), or they say "but do you really play video games" or "I bet you don't like shooters" and they do everything under the sun to imply that you have no place here, get out, this is our world, our territory, and you are too close to my boner.
But I don't think this is what this man was saying to me.
I think he was implying that because I actually wanted to play Farming Simulator 15, that I am somehow unusual. Maybe no one here has asked.
Maybe literally no one here has asked to play the game.
"So you really… There's no way I can play it?" I ask, flapping my press badge.
"We didn't bring it," he says again.
I stare at the woman getting her picture taken in the passenger seat of a tractor with a man dressed as a black and white spotted cow.
They paid for this booth, I think. But they didn't bring the game. They came here to advertise the idea of Farming Simulator 15.
I guess at some point, the marketing of games can become the point of things. But this video really reveals to me how Simulator games might be fun to play. All the trailers that are on show right now for the game are too slick, and show off the vehicles, but I have no sense of how the game might interest me in terms of tasks, because everything focuses so much on the function of the objects rather than mapping out the breadth of play - how you might make money long term, how you might understand taking out loans or how complex it is to control one of these machines.
This video really looks into why the game might be idyllic or appealing.
The father is trying to inform the viewership about the game, remarking that he is very excited about the woodchippers you can buy later in the game, but his wife Pixiedust and son Tyrone are busy goofing off and harvesting sideways across fields because they are all PC gaming together. "Look at how beautiful this crop circle is!" Pixiedust exclaims.
It's kind of cool that this is a game that enables the family to work together - Pixiedust is harvesting a field and interrupts her husband's trip to get a loan to ask him to come and pick up her harvest. Can they adopt me? It's so sunny and nice and you can buy cows and sheep! And you can mow crop circles with your family. What a cool time it seems.
I'm sorry I thought you were weird, Farming Simulator. You are all right.