It’s happened again, guys. We here at PRC.net have received a Reader Submission from someone whose name we can’t post for obvious reasons. Today’s entry in our Reader Submission category comes from someone in the scene, who has ended up dropping sim racing altogether in favor of diving head first into hardcore civilian flight simulators. His reasons as to why? You might be surprised…
Hello. Not bringing you any sort of controversial news, nor a conspiracy theory. Not going to beat any particular sim-racing game title with a mean critical stick (I would easily do it for all of the recent ones though). It’s just something that has been a subject of many private conversations with other fellow simmers, modders, and game developers in recent years that, maybe, could be a topic for an article of yours. Something to reflect about.
Before getting to the crux of the matter, allow me a “get it off my chest” moment of sorts.
My name is not important. I wish to remain anonymous. With that being said, I’m someone that has worked with a few of the prominent game developer teams in our little niche of commercial sim-racing. For game titles that you may have sim-raced, and others that never got to be finished/released. I’ve seen good and bad ethical principles and practice standards, and different levels of care to the content produced. I am also someone that devoted well over fifteen years to this hobby of sim-racing, and especially modding for it – that’s how I got involved with dev teams in the first place.
Like many of us, I’ve seen good and bad people come and go from this “community”. Always passionate about the hobby, regardless. However, the disappointment in these last years had been exponentially increasing and I split with sim-racing altogether in 2014. Sim-racing peripherals into boxes, the games (and mods) uninstalled, and so on. The way I see it, the whole scene is going backwards (increasingly so) instead of evolving. No need to explain it. If one has been around long enough and look deep into it (the articles at PRC touch some of the relevant issues here and then) then one will get it, somehow, sooner or later.
I lost interest.
So, two years ago I changed my “hobby addictiveness” needs (tabula rasa) and decided instead to get positively into flight-sims, after more than a decade of hiatus. I’ve been loving it. And feel I should have done it much, much earlier. It wasn’t so overnight, but there have been so many “WOW” moments that it’s almost like a revelation.
I still look at sim-racing articles here and then, check out old forums and friends still in the scene, see “how are things”… that sort of stuff. And, of course, flight-sims are not without their own set of problems. Actually, some problems seem common across genres (more on that further below). But it got to a point, now looking to this side after being on that other side, where it shows how bad (and frivolous?) the whole sim-racing scene has been, and is, now more than ever.
I get the impression that this whole thing may sound negative and bitter. Maybe it is. You see, one spends years of time and energy into a hobby and a craft that you love and believe in, only to see it all going to shit years after. That’s how it feels.
Here comes the part where –I think– could possibly inspire you for a simple article at PRC. Sometime ago, I came across this interesting article about symptoms/problems that have been noticed in flight-sims in more recent years:
Where this relates to sim racing is, I think, immediately obvious once you read it. I believe this is very prevalent in the newer generations of simmers and gamers. Is it of interest? That’s up to you. By the way, while I certainly don’t think the articles in PRC are Pulitzer material, I do think someone needs to pinch where it really hurts. Keep at it.
One kid made a video of him and his buddies playing rFactor online together. Hell yeah brother, kudos for getting your ass out on the track! Another post is advertising open spots for Season 5 of the Assetto Corsa Reddit League. Yeah, it may not be a game I’d personally run a league race in, but at least they want to get people’s asses out on the track! Meanwhile, the rest of the posts are either advertisements or discussions regarding things they can buy for sim racing – mostly hardware, but there’s talk of mods and 4K monitors in there somewhere.
So what am I getting at?
For a video game genre designed to replicate competitive auto racing, there’s an almost complete lack of discussion regarding the racing aspect. Instead, it’s essentially a collection of gear snobs – comparable to walking into a Guitar Store and seeing middle-aged men masturbate over expensive guitars and pretend like they understand the technology behind it, but could barely stumble through Basket Case if you plugged them in.
I guess maybe it’s time to take Dave Grohl’s legendary quote, and apply it to sim racing.