I’m sure everyone has played their share of bad video games. You know, those moments in which your innocence made you pick up that one game with your favorite superhero´s chest on it, or being captivated by the oh-so-familiar words “Duke Nukem”. Everything is fine at first when you just hold the game in your hands. The sheer frustration and disappointed sadness comes when you actually begin to play it. How can something you love so much be this horrible? Why didn’t you spend those $60 banging the hooker behind EB games instead? These are all questions we ask ourselves after making such mistakes.
As far as mediocre games go, there is one in particular that has greatly intrigued me over the years. Whenever I hear someone reference it, they do it with plenty of loathing and regret. This legendary game is the 2003 PC title Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. Is it as bad as everyone claims it is? I had to find out for myself and I had to do it right away.
The first thing I did after obtaining the game was check out the front and back of the case. The front cover features a truck furiously ramming a police car while spitting flames from each of its orifices. Meanwhile, a thunderstorm rages in the background and the words “18 Wheels of Thunder” are plastered on the bottom of the image. Immediately I thought – ” That´s just fucking awesome.” The back cover explained that the game was about huge trucks savagely speeding through several US trucking routes in order to deliver illegal merchandise before the competition gets there first, while avoiding them cops. Upon reading this, I got psyched and prepared myself to play the shit out of the game.
I installed the game and clicked on “custom race” in the main menu, which doesn’t seem to have any sound effects at all but that’s ok… I guess. I then finally selected the truck I believed I would be using to wreak havoc across the US. The game gives you four trucks to choose from: Thunder, Megaone, Thunderbull and the Sunrise w12. I went with the Thunderbull, because it sounds awesome and because it’s what I call my cock, and continue onto the track selection screen. By this point, the utter silence of the menu was starting to irritate me, but the idea of ramming massive trucks into other objects kept me sane. The game offers five tracks, but the last one doesn’t seem to work; it makes the game crash… Maybe this is why people think this game is shit, but the gameplay is halfway decent. After choosing the race track, the game sets up and your truck is pitted against some other truck. Meanwhile, I don’t know what the fuck is going on as nothing in the game explains exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. The explanation on the back of the case gives very confusing promises of cops and illicit transactions. All I saw was a generic prologue to a one-on-one truck race with shitty visuals and frustrating confusion.
The race started and as I struggled to understand how to drive my semi into other objects. I looked up from my keyboard and noticed my opponent is still there. It stopped giving a fuck the day it was programmed. It never moved. I even restarted the race a couple of times and finally realized that the other truck is basically part of the scenery as it never moves. Once I understood that all I needed to drive my metallic beast were the arrow keys, I backed up and prepared to smash into the other truck. That is all that I really wanted from the start anyway, and I would have it. As I stormed ahead at full speed, filled with anticipation and joy, I reached the moment of the glorious crash… if there actually was one. I went right through the other semi. No crash, no disjointed passengers, no flames, no nothing. After driving around some more, I noticed nothing could be hit or crashed into. You literally pass right through any object in the entire game. I kept on driving into the sunset with a broken heart, no competition whatsoever and many diluted illusions.
I eventually reached a bridge and just as I prepared to cross it, my truck fell helplessly through the bridge. The bridge was just a hologram and it was there for the sole purpose of mocking me. This was when I got mad and wondered if all of this was just a sick joke or a horrible, horrible nightmare. After I stopped caring, I drove my Thunderbull off the road into the mountains, expecting to flip over or simply harm the local flora. My truck didn’t slow down, ever. You enter a grassy area, who cares. You drive into a rocky mountain, fuck that. Your truck has the ability to drive over nearly vertical mountains while never slowing down. Just because fuck physics, fuck it in the ass.
At that point, I was just shrugging everything off with laughter. It was the only way to avoid losing my mind and hurling my monitor into the neighbor’s Subaru. After some more exploration, I discovered this game has no boundaries. If you travel farther than you are supposed to, you don’t meet an un-passable mountain or an invisible barrier. Oh no, that would be too mundane. Instead, you are devoured by a white void and watch your truck twitch frantically in space. As I barely returned to the scenario, I decided to see what happens when you complete the circuit. I crossed my fingers, hoping that that this might at least be possible. As I crossed the finish line, I was greeted by the most horrifyingly incorrect victory message ever.
Seriously, what the fuck? I don’t know how to program anything so I don’t know about everything else, but how hard is it to write “You win” or “You are the winner”? How you could possibly fuck this up, I cannot understand. This is when I just gave up and shut my PC off.
This was a very complicated mission, but the game is awesome in its own way. It makes you experience a lot of emotions at once, mostly of anger and WTFness. If you are a true gamer , then you have to experience “Big Rigs: Over the Road” Racing for yourself. It is the only way you will understand true insanity.