Much of the farming experience isn’t covered by Farming Simulator 2012 on iOS. Pissing in hedges, for example, is conspicuous in its absence.
Spotting townies who’ve strayed from clearly demarked footpaths and giving them a glare isn’t in here either. Likewise, running over small dead animals with a hay turner to see what happens.
Tractor-work, gentle reader, was the daily content of my school summer holidays as a teenager. It galls me that Farming Simulator 2012 excises the dust, the sweat and the endlessly looped Radio One playlist.
Then again in terms of tilling the soil, hoovering up wheat and selling it on to grain multinationals it’s a little transfixing. You can drive combines, steering with a tilt of the iPhone, and couple your tractors onto drills and trailers to ferry seed and grain around your ever expanding agricultural empire.
The area your farm covers feels a little like the Thomas the Tank Engine’s original Isles of Sodor – but wiped clean of character and winking machines, and replaced by stolid Germanic efficiency. Much of the game is in your imagination, as you tip grain into silos, trundle over to the diesel station and sell on goods through the train station. Just as in real-life, meanwhile, backing up a tractor and trailer is a right royal pain in the arse.
Thing is, if my Dad was one of the tiny people who drive past my lovingly harvested fields he’d stop the car, turn off the radio and loudly criticise the wavy lines I’d left behind me. I’d say “Dad. It’s really hard to drive straight with the iPhone tilt, and besides I was sitting on the train while I was working it and I was bouncing everywhere.” Then he’d say: “There’s just no excuse for that kind of work, Will. Do you want to win the ploughing competition at the Young Farmer’s Rally or not?” I wouldn’t say very much after that point, and Dad would turn the radio back on.
I wouldn’t recommend Farming Simulator 2012 to any of my townie friends. They’d be unlikely to get in a froth over the realistically portrayed and licensed farm vehicles as they’re all too busy eating ‘ciabattas’ with ‘pesto’. I would, however, recommend it to slightly dull machine nerds and anyone who’s ever wondered just where their food comes from. The answer? The sweat of my Dad’s brow, you unthinking city-dwelling arsehole. BUY BRITISH. ALWAYS SHUT FARM GATES BEHIND YOU.
You can get Farming Simulator 2012 off of the App Store for £1.99. You’re not going to get any sort of ‘I’ve got a brand new combine harvester’ gag from me by the way, as that’s just insulting. And besides The Wurzels are actually quite good.