I’ve often noticed that the NPC drivers in videogames are in urgent need of some help learning… well, how to drive.
Nothing fancy: just basic things like steering, accelerating, braking, avoiding blind panic at the mere sight of a player’s car. So I decided to try to teach them. These are my notes. If you are reading these, there’s a high possibility I’m already dead.
1. The candidate displayed little respect for the rules of the road, and appeared determined to destroy one specific car that seemed at first to be no different from any of the rest.
2. This determination verged on obsession, and the student risked his own life several times in attempts to sabotage this apparently unimportant car.
3. The student also lost points for driving round a loop-the-loop in a car that hovers above the ground, because I’m pretty sure that is impossible.
1. Although the student drove competently throughout much of the test, she appeared to drive faster or slower depending on the activities of other drivers on the track, rather than focusing on her own driving.
2. I referred her to a counselor afterwards, as her rage issues were clearly interfering with her driving at several points, most significantly when she was hit by a small blue tortoise shell and spent the remainder of our lesson attacking a monkey wearing a tie.
3. I must confess I found this test confusing to grade, but when as soon as I got out the student drove into a pool of molten lava my decision was more-or-less made for me.
The many cities of Burnout seem to have problems with traffic control, and in some cases appear to be positively encouraging dangerous driving with arcane insurance laws.
I’m fairly sure, for instance, that you shouldn’t be rewarded for destroying other people’s cars with money and newer, more powerful and larger cars. That seems like a system that could backfire.
1. When I entered the car, the driver appeared calm. We set off at a steady speed, incurring a couple of minor penalties from turning without indicating, and from maintaining speed even when negotiating a U-turn with a radius of about two meters.
2. Unfortunately, the driver failed when, upon seeing a major pile-up in front of him, decided to enthusiastically plow the vehicle into the cars in front.
3. Again, I suspect that the city policy of paying out insurance for all cars involved in every crash, to the car deemed most responsible for that crash, may have had something to do with both the initial crash and my student’s actions.
4. The fact that the driver only even had test drive insurance only rubbed salt into my student’s very real wounds (I dived to safety moments before impact).
The student failed in two different ways.
1. Firstly, in a fit of terror, he swerved to avoid a car that was meandering slowly towards us quite some distance away, and killed a small child. Few people around seemed to care about this, least of all the student, and in the absence of heavy armed support I was reluctant to fail this clearly psychopathic individual on the spot.
2. Secondly, upon receiving a minor scratch to his car, he chased down the offending party and bludgeoned him around the face and neck with a golf club, at which point he was shot at point blank range with an assault weapon.
On the positive side, this meant I was spared having to grade him.
1. The student seemed competent but strangely distant and uninvolved. He had a slight German accent, but no other even slightly identifiable features.
2. The student had no lane discipline, but I really found it very hard to care.
3. Halfway through the lesson I’m afraid I fell asleep, but when I asked him what happened, the student answered “I saw some rain.” I’m concerned for my sanity.
3. I have never experienced an environment so utterly devoid of hope, so psychopathic in its total detachment from anything resembling humanity, so terrifyingly void of interest.
4. I can feel the boredom clutching at me now. Seeking after me. The boredom, the sheer boredom… oh god …it …it hungers.
These test reports were found clutched in the hands of an accredited examiner. His face was contorted into an expression of unimaginable boredom, which was later determined to be the cause of death.
We urge anyone out there considering “gateway” simulator games such as Flight Simulators or Train Simulators to use simulators responsibly, and steer clear of the harder boredom-inducing games, or risk losing their very lives.
James Duval is a technology and business expert who spends most of his free time playing video games. Currently, he writes blog posts for InsureDaily, who provide specialist temporary vehicle insurance.