TL;DR Reviews: Agricultural Simulator: Historical Farming

Erik "wordsmythe" Hanson wrote:

The GWJ community seems to have stumbled across a great idea: Take those odd keys leftover from Humble Bundles and gifts, and give them each one hour. Report back on your findings. This seemed to our editor to be a great source of content for the front page, along with a high probability of weird and humorous experiences, so I pressed a goodjer into service. [It's OK, though. He likes it. I think. I mean, I didn't ask, but I presume he likes doing this.]

Here's the first, courtesy DoubtingThomas396 himself, the originator of the scheme. Let's see how far we can push him before he snaps.

Agricultural Simulator: Historical Farming

Sponsored by: A Humble Bundle mistake

Time Spent: 90 minutes.

What makes a game broken? Is "broken" just a social construct? Is it subjective or concrete? Does calling a game "broken" make it so?

Oh hell, I don't go in for all this post-modern, deconstructionist crap. This game is broken. Full stop.

Farmer's Almanac
The sun is up, the cockerel has crowed, and I am starting out on my first day as a farmer in Tuscany. To my right there is a small house with a staircase leading to a balcony. Let me walk over there to get the lay of the land.

Whoooa! That was fast. This country air must be making my legs stronger. Best hold the "walk button" as I climb the stairs.




Um, ow.

What are you looking at, chicken? You think you're the only one who can fly?

Okay. Let's forget about the scenery for now. What's my new farm got to offer?

Hmm. There seem to be icons floating over here. Let's see what they do.


(Click click.)

(Right click)

"Nothing" it is, then.

Ahh. Now we're talking. That's a nice looking tractor. Let's see: triangle icon, square icon, half moon icon. Ah, here we are! Steering wheel. Let's climb up and ...

Holy hell! Is that what I look like? I'm a walking corpse in a plaid sweater vest and a slouch cap!

Never mind. I'll get some color in the sun. Let's get to farming.

Well the tractor's fun to drive, anyway.


Let's try the lights.

(Press I)

Cool! The lights make the ground black! Who knew they had dark beams in the 1950's!

Okay. Now. What can I hook up to the tractor? There seem to be some logs stacked up here. Let's see what happens when I ...


This Tuscan air has apparently made me a superhero, because that log must have flown twenty feet. And sprouted a tow chain. I wonder it I could hook it up to the tractor.

I can.


Now what do I do with it?

(Consults manual)

So: nothing, then.

(Disconnects log)

Okay. What other equipment do I have? Let's see. There's a hydraulic transfer rod. So I got that going for me, which is nice. And some kind of blue box.

Well, maybe the trailers are hidden elsewhere. There are some buildings over there. Let's check that out.

Oh it's a town!

And there are shops! With two women dressed ... pretty fancy, considering how muddy everything looks here. Who told her high heels were a good idea to wear at a farm stand?

Oh well. What can I buy?


(Click click.)

(Right click)

Nothing. Hmm. Maybe she's buying, not selling. Fine. I'll come back later.

Ooh. A shopping-cart icon is floating in the distance.

It's the equipment shop. And I have a couple of grand to spend. Okay. Let's buy a plow.


Did that do anything? Maybe it didn't recognize the click.

(Click, click. Double click.)

Wait, my wallet just got lighter. So I must have bought it. Let's also buy a cultivator, a seeder and a combine harvester.

Back to the farm.

Hey, look at that. There's a deer swimming. His head is just poking out over the surface of ... the ... ground?

Does Tuscany have mole deer or something?

And we're back on the farm. And I now own ... seven plows.


And I see the seeder. But where's the cultivator and harvester?

Oh. They're under the seeder. Well, that's efficient, anyway.

So. First the plow: Click this triangle here, now click that triangle there and. Voila! The plow is now hooked up. Now to just trundle along out to a likely patch and bust some sod.

[Trundle, trundle, trundle.]

Lower the plow with "J." Plow blade lowers and I am now creating furrows — which looks an awful lot like dragging my knife through mashed potatoes. I wonder why it's still green like the rest of the grass. Maybe the cultivator will make it look like dirt and not green clay.

(Hooks up the cultivator. Raises it. Lowers it. Tries to lower it again.)

Okay, so the cultivator does nothing at all. Fantastic.

Maybe if I turn the graphical settings up it will look more like dirt.

W..ell th.. to wo..k but ..ow th fram...ate is bo..ed.*

[*Translation for those of you with faster PCs: Well, that seemed to work, but now the framerate is borked.]

Whew! So running this on high isn't so much an option then. Good to know.

And the manual says I need to put seeds next to the seeder to fill it, and that I can buy seeds. From where, though?

Never mind. Let's go look in on the animals. I have two pigs standing around in front of the barn. And inside the barn there is a floating pig icon. So let's see what happens when I put a pig on that icon.

The manual says to click on animals and hold the mouse button to drag them to their destinations.



This pig is now following me. Slowly. Very slowly.

And now it is sinking into the earth!

No little pig! Don't leave me! I'll give you a name and a backstory! You can herd my sheep if you want! Come on! Come on! Pull yourself up out of the invisible hole!

Whew. Ok. Let me drag you to the pig icon, and ...

Where'd it go? Dammit, a pig that size doesn't just ... . Oh. There you are. You just warped into the pen six feet to the left. That'll do, pig.

There are chickens all over the place. Maybe I should try to get them into their coop. Just click and ... .

Boy. They're fast. But that one is near the coop. Let's see if herding toward the coop gets it to ... run right through the chicken coop in one wall and out the other?

Yes. That's something like what I wanted to happen.

Hey! It's that deer again. This time he's standing on the ground. Oh, and now he's walking away. Now he's sinking. Sinking, sinking, gone. Just a pair of ears breaking the surface. Kind of like Jaws, if Jaws was really skittish and prone to trying to out-stare oncoming headlights.

I think that's enough excitement for today. Maybe tomorrow I'll try being a goat. It can't be more broken than this was.

Will I keep playing?

Umm, no. I'd be too afraid of harming a mole deer while plowing the field.

Is this the Dark Souls of its genre?

On a scale of 1 to 10: 12 sun praises! Never before has a game told you so little and allowed you to do so much less!


This was a hilarious read. Thank you, DT!

Is this the Dark Souls of its genre?

I'm so glad this is being retained for the front page.

Let's see how far we can push him before he snaps.

I'm putting my hour into Daikatana now, so we'll see.

I won't say I'll only do bad games, but I will say that I have a while lot of them in my queue.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
Let's see how far we can push him before he snaps.

I'm putting my hour into Daikatana now, so we'll see.

Enjoy that 20 minute cutscene at the beginning.

garion333 wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:
Let's see how far we can push him before he snaps.

I'm putting my hour into Daikatana now, so we'll see.

Enjoy that 20 minute cutscene at the beginning.

I'm not counting that toward my total time. And not only because I fell asleep during it. Actual, hands-on playtime only. (Though there is plenty of comedy to be mined in that cutscene for those with the patience...)

A review of a Metal Gear or Final Fantasy game could take months.

I'm amazed you got that far in AS:HF.

I couldn't get out of the barnyard without the game crashing or the frame-rate dipping into the negative numbers.

Entertaining read as always.

Glad you're getting a pot on the front page, DoubtingT!! Those 1 hour reviews were a great idea and that was a a hilarious review. Looking forward to reading about Daikatana!