The communal fear of the Neo-Luddites is that one day the grand majority of Earth’s populace will be chained to the confines of virtual reality, playing out their lives strapped to a machine as the real world around them crumbles. While there’s a lot to be said for this Bradbury-esque dystopia, the idea that we will all one day be subsumed into our own personal paradise to live whatever life we want sounds appealing to even the most begrudgingly cynical naysayer.
While still a far cry from total VR immersion, simulator games have allowed players to occupy the minds of pilots, military commanders, city planners, and entire families, forcing new perspectives on people who are otherwise unable to achieve such experiences in real life. Simulators today even allow you live the life of a surgeon or goat, and popularity for such a novel experience seems to be on the rise. But while the public clamors for more, the industry wallows in stagnation, so I’ve taken it upon myself to suggest five simulator ideas that developers should consider cashing in on.
5. Anteater Simulator
I’m throwing the industry a softball here because all this would take is a crafty re-skinning of the aforementioned Goat Simulator and a few extra oral mechanics. Just picture it, you, the graceful Myrmecophaga tridactyla, prowling the forests of South America, using your enhanced sense of smell (because your vision is total crap, apparently) to lead you to the next tasty mound of delectable ants. As you position yourself over the tiny hill, you intricately work the analog sticks to guide your long tongue into the dark abyss. The camera follows your slender muscle as it probes each and every tunnel, sucking up the shiny black carapaces scurrying about. Take a couple seconds to situate yourself if you just got all hot and bothered, but think deep about all the cool things you could do with your tongue in an open world simulation of the world’s most satisfying mammal (I won’t even judge you).
4. Drug Dealer Simulator
While thinking about long-tongued mammalian creatures, I made the logical jump to what life would be like if I made a living selling illicit drugs. Now mind you that is NOT what I do, so this is all purely flights of fancy, but how exciting would it be to orchestrate something as intricate and shady as a back-alley deal? Combine the stealth mechanics of Dishonored with Tony Montana from Scarface and you’ve just sold a billion copies to curious minds everywhere. Assuming the role entirely, players would not only have to meet and deal with contacts, but also re-up supply, harass competition, and occasionally grocery shop and do their laundry with ill-gotten quarters, all while keeping a lookout for DA agents and disgruntled customers.
3. Crazy Ex Simulator
Whether it manifests in the form of angry emails and text messages or broken windows and a boiled bunny, Fatal Attraction style, the actions of ex-lovers have long struck fear into the hearts of the newly single, but have you ever wondered what it’d be like to play the part (and yes, I understand a few of you already have)? Crazy Ex Simulator would put you in control of a scorned ex-partner, tasking your forlorn heartache with a single mission: Get him/her back into your life without ending up in prison. Do you stalk them using social media or cruise by their house, leaving sticky notes on their car? Do you shimmy up the tree next to their bedroom window and sneak inside before they wake up, or do you hide away in their closet and collect samples of hair while they slumber? The open-world feel and loosely defined objectives let you utilize that creatively dark part of your brain, allowing us all to experience the life of the person currently hiding in the bushes outside my office.
2. Holiday Traveler Simulator
I recently had the displeasure of traversing across the U.S. on the busiest travel day of the year, but while I nearly stroked from stress and frustration alone, the experience did leave me with a sense of worldliness that I feel others would love to have for themselves. Set within the confines of a large airport during the holiday season, you, the traveler, must make it to your gate on time before the flight takes off. Being strip searched by TSA, losing your bag, and pushing small children aside to make it to the plane all contribute to your stress meter, which can be lowered by a series of different events such as wasting away at the airport bar, canceling other flights by phoning in threats, or calling all your family members and telling them you can’t make it home because there was an outbreak of Ebola. It’s all the stress of the holidays with none of the pesky repercussions, like having your name next to mine on the no-fly list…
1. Colonoscopy Simulator
Along the same lines as the Anteater Simulator (let me explain), this too should be an easy sell for developers. By re-skinning one of the hundreds of train sims on the market with the hospital setting of Surgeon Simulator, and texturing tunnels to look fleshier, you now have the power to virtually recreate one of the most unpleasant medical checkups known to mankind. Can you push past the sphincter and survive the crushing pressure of Mr. Johnson’s colon in order to dislodge the toy car that somehow got wedged inside, or will your corded length tangle around the winding corridors of his lower intestine? Throw in a bunch of collectibles with a timer and I promise even the most anal (tehe) retentive player will have a great time spelunking virtual poop chutes.
While none of these currently exist (that I’m aware of, but Japan has been known to churn out this brand of weird crap every other nanosecond), I openly invite developers to seize the opportunity to make them realities. Surgeon and Goat Simulator were a great success if for nothing else than being something other than another chance to pilot jets, so why not dip a few more toes (and tongues) into the water and offer us the chance to be something we hopefully currently aren’t?