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Sunday, August 14, 2022

My Summer Car looks like a masterpiece

My Summer Car ranks up there as one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen. I’m not talking graphics, but in a sense that this game is doing something more than the sum of its parts. It’s interactive poetry. It’s capturing something that still exists, but really doesn’t anymore. It’s more than a game.

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Some will simplify PC game My Summer Car as a “realistic driving game” but is better described as bored Finnish guy in the 90’s simulator. You’re given something like a beat up Datsun 100a and have to repair and maintain it – everything from tweak the valves when the carburetor is getting too much gasoline, to making sure you’ve gotten enough brake fluid, to installing a bare plywood mount for subwoofers in the back of your car so you can listen to sad Finnish ballads with a little more depth.

Definitely check out the video:

Naturally you order these parts through a parts catalogue and then drive through the Finnish countryside to pick them up at the post office. The bottles of beer in its case clink in the seat next to you. “When you drink, your hand goes in front of your vision. That’s realism” creator Royal John Love says in the latest video.

Obviously money has to come into the equation somewhere, and in order to buy these parts a planned feature is to have you make and sell kilju – Finnish homemade bum wine. More planned features include the ability to go to sauna, as well as a drivable cargo van and rowing boat, as well as rallycross and drag racing, which will probably earn you some money.

As warned on their 90’s style webpage, this game is hard. Sure, you can tune your car with foreign parts to hit 200 km/h, but death is permanent in this game, which you may or may not consider when sliding through Finland’s backcountry roads with a beer in your hand and shitty suomipop coming out of only the front-right speaker in your car.

But listen to the perfect rally english in the video. I don’t even want to do an interview to break the fourth wall.

Does anyone outside of Finland “get” this game? I’ve only been in Finland the last 5 years, but I’ve spent a good part a few summers in that exact early 80’s yellow brick house, and I’ve clutched the door of some shitty car driven too fast down a dirt road. Come winter, all I want is it to start being those summer days when life is all good – it’s the cycle that keeps Finland going.

Maybe my enthusiasm for this game is because it’s hitting me at the right time. This spring I’ve been checking tori.fi for a beater, but I know the “but we can sell it for the same price!” or “and then we can look for an old cabin!” deal doesn’t pass my girlfriend. With My Summer Car looks like escapism, especially in the brink of winter.

The game isn’t available for download yet but should be coming out sometime this year at a randomly changing price between €1 and €20.

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