When two trucks go to war

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This video showcases a mod for Euro Truck Simulator 2 that turns a humble 90 km/h-capped truck into a monster racer doing 560 km/h. That’s roughly half the speed of sound in case you’re wondering.

I enjoy the sedateness of driving in ETS2. It’s humdrum in a good way and requires only low-level attention and skill (until you suddenly remember your turn at the last minute). It can be a way to drift into a slightly meditative/sleep-ready state. It can be a walking simulator where walking can be as challenging as you want it to be. It can be a vehicle (no pun intended) for podcast listening or music enjoyment. It can be a way for ADHD sufferers to focus. It can be quite relaxing.

Racing seems antithetical to the game as played by most people. However, the mod is a) an entirely optional add-on for those who seek it out and b) quite funny. I for one found the video hilarious. When trucks fly and so on.

That’s not how BahamutX sees it, though.

when are you gona learn that this is NOT A RACING GAME!!!you are making this game look stupid,keep it for yourself only.thats why you get comments like these because it is idiotic.Go Play Mine Craft.since you think like boy.LOL

Strange, he doesn’t sound like he’s laughing. scanialoverr (wait, lover with one ‘r’ was taken?) agrees that the mod creator should not share his creation:

please remove this mod from the site ASAP!

In the comments section of the mod, I counted 11 comments that argued vehemently against the mod’s idea and quite a large portion of those also argued against the fact that the mod should exist at all, or at least be allowed on the mod site. Only 9 comments at least defended it’s right to be tolerated (even if they usually did not endorse the idea behind the mod). Even on YouTube, where silliness is appreciated more than most places, the video’s rating score is only 25:16 in it’s favour.

The modding scenes I’m familiar tend to have an inclusive ‘the more, the merrier’ view of mods. A large part of Skyrim mods are explicitly devoted to making the world a sillier place. Clearly, this addition isn’t a cause for merriment for the ETS2 hardcore fans. They are not only rejecting the mod, they very actively wish it did not exist.

This made me curious: Why do they reject is so vehemently rather than just take commenter Senpai’s advice to live and let live:

[…] If you dislike it, don’t download it […]

Senpai

Reading through the comments, a distinction emerges:

This is a Simulator, not a racing game…..

shogoon1984

stupid mod…..this is a truck simulator game,go and play need for speed, fool

randy

At the outset, non-simulator fans playing ETS2 tasted of hipster irony, the software equivalent of the trucker cap, or it had a guilty pleasure vibe. But the game had shed so much of the deliberate intricacies and complexities of the simulator genre that coverage soon turned from ‘weird cult hit’ to ‘just another driving game’. After all, if you can enable automatic transmission, let the game start the engine for you if you forget and let the invisible trucking valet handle parking duties, how does the game differ from the Driver or Burnout series apart from in speed? This slow re-classification is not endorsed by players like shogoon1984 and randy.

Of course, a lot of these commenters are kids who haven’t learned how to behave on the internet. Others aren’t helped by English apparently not being their mother tongue. Still I can’t help but ask: Why so angry? And what is it about this particular mod that hits the sore spot? I found nowhere near as many comments on any mod on the site. The only one coming close was another racing mod – with the exact same type of comments.

Let’s start with what the mod is supposed to accomplish. A single commenter calls it a ‘cheat’, whereas I think of it as a silly prank. I doubt anyone wanting to do 500+ km/h is going to do so to ‘cheat’ and in all earnestness deliver diggers to Gdansk waaay earlier than expected. If, that is, you make it to Gdansk in one piece rather then the ditch in a thousand. The mod creator himself calls ETS2 a game that should be whatever you want it to be within the limits of ‘applicable areas’ (do I detect a hint of sarcastic trolling?):

Euro Truck Simulator is still a VIDEO GAMING PRODUCT and as a driving simulator it should offer industry value in all applicable areas, including “Truck Racing”

Sasquatch (mod creator)

Now here’s adi2003de explaining what he likes about the game and by inference what he dislikes about the mod:

The main reason why we play the game, because we want to drive trucks and ours is a s**t where there! We take pictures and make videos for the game to make known and simply give us only the greatest effort to let it stand as well […] There are 2 types of players .. the one who play it and the others use this simulation to simulate the reality . for it was created . Fortunately, the majority is the second choice.

adi2003de

Okay, so that’s a bit hard to decipher but… there is a “we” and “they” take pictures and videos of their trucks. SCS Software’s World of trucks forum has a ‘My Page’ where you can do those things and talk to other fans. A lot of people put a lot of effort into this and it shows. Basically, the community around ETS2 and being a part of it is at the heart of adi2003de’s enjoyment of the game. If I can be forgiven for a bit of interpretation, what adi2003de seems to say is that he uses the game to create a world that he can fully immse himself in (‘simulate the reality’) and project himself unto. His truck is his and he is proud to show it off to likeminded people. It reinforces his feeling of belonging to the community of sim-truckers for whom the game was concieved and to whom it belongs (‘for it was created’). The mod can be construed as bad because it works against immersion into the game world. Trucks don’t really go hundreds of kilometers an hour. If you see one flying past you, you know that it’s a just a silly game. If it’s just a silly game the value of the community and the player’s game identity is diminished.

In a word, these fans have put something of themselves into ETS 2. They identify with the game and the slow and steady trucker role that the game gives them. They also identify in opposition to someone: People playing racing games.

Here’s my preceonception of simulator fans: They take their thing seriously. Here’s what I gather about people playing Need for Speed from the commenters: They are not to be taken seriously. Any ingroup needs an outgroup. People playing ‘unrealistic’ racing games like the Need for Speed series are of a different tribe to the nation of simulation. You understand yourself to be a simulator fan by not being the kind of person who plays Need for Speed. I can only speculate as to the real-world differences between the two kinds of players but certain stereotypes do suggest themselves. By introducing elements of racing into ETS2 the mod seems to have blurred a firm boundary between hardcore simulator fans and less serious (if not outright casual) gamers who are in it for the lulz. If you use a game or a genre to express who you are, the idea of others taking it and running with it for their amusement, well, it’s scary because it touches on your understanding of yourself.

If the comments are anything to go by, ETS2 can be more than a relaxation aide. It can also be a ‘grown up’ toy to distance yourself from kiddie play like ‘Mine Craft’ and the flippant and frivolous NFS players to whom nothing is serious or sacred.

A game can be many things to many people but we are all part of and influenced by the common discourse on what a particular work is. Yes, you can hide away in your (mom’s) basement (sorry), stuff your fingers in your ears going ‘nanana’, and pretend that this thing is yours and your serious sim-trucker buddies alone. Still, the mere existence of a mod – undownloaded, unused, untouched – does subtly change what a game means and to whom even when it doesn’t change how it plays on your pc.

To round things off, I want to give the final word to ‘uktrucker’ who offers a voice of reason by simply commenting on it as a ‘mod’ to a ‘game’.

Thanks for the mod mate, its not for me but I saw the comments that you was getting and I don’t think of it as a “NFS” mod but more of a “cheat” mod for ETS2 same as a “no police” mod or a “no damage” mod they are both “cheat” mods only this one makes you go faster to do the job faster hence “cheat”.

uktrucker

Also, his avatar is a Volvo logo. Volvo is my favourite brand of truck in the game, too. It’s me and uktrucker against all the others. Damn their eyes.

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