A recently revealed PC game called “Whatever” will give gamers a rough approximation of what it’s like to steer a container ship through a narrow channel, a year and a half after its inspiration, the Ever Given, went off. took off from the Suez.
Why is this important: For all the thousands of video games that are created each year, it is rare that we rely, even vaguely, on current events.
- Any good game like this takes time because games, like large container ships, are difficult to complete.
- For context: A successful 2011 PlayStation game inspired by 2005 Hurricane Katrina was exceptionally timely.
- And when a major game released in April referred to a “DC-storming redneck mob,” its creators said it could only be a coincidence, given production times.
The details: “Whatever” is a little indie game. It comes from Bangkok-based amateur game developer Napas “Jet” Torteeka, 36, who told Axios on Discord that he last made a game 15 years ago.
- In March, he was tinkering with game development tools while researching an idea, when he opened Facebook and saw the news about Ever Given.
- “I just wondered: How is this possible! ” he said. “What were the captain and crew doing to keep it stuck that way?” “
- He got to work creating a prototype game where you steer a ship through narrow, winding passages.
Ever Given game projects have been infrequent so far.
- At the end of March, a player modified “Microsoft Flight Simulator” so that users could fly over the stranded ship.
- In the spring, the developer of a game called “Panama Canal Simulator” quickly released a variant called “Suez Canal Simulator” and in July he added the Ever Given for players to pilot.
The big picture: The slow development of games is an obstacle limiting the creation of games related to the news. The willingness to “go out there”, especially with politically charged subjects, is also a factor.
- For decades, the industry produced big-budget, flag-waving war games largely about WWII before finally – and only briefly – focusing on the more difficult Vietnam War.
- Even if the developers are ready, platform owners can be restrictive, as an independent creator discovered in 2014 when Apple initially blocked its pro-Palestinian game.
And after: Torteeka will release an “early access” version of “Whatever” at the end of September.
- He hopes players find his game revealing. It’s cartoonish but designed to simulate the feeling of steering a heavy object while combating inertia.
- “When I first played my prototype,” he said, “I knew how amazing every freighter captain is.”