December 2008 – the Top Five Computer Games Involving Lorries
The Top Five Computer Games Involving Lorries
Lorries are an every day sight on our roads and motorways, ubiquitous in modern life and a common sight (and sometimes annoyance) for drivers. A lorry in the next lane is as much a part of road life as cat’s eyes or yellow speed cameras. But these haulage giants have become more than just a part of our road life – they are a cultural symbol and are frequently seen on our cinema and PC screens. We take a look at the latter, and count down the top five uses of lorries, lorry drivers and general purpose road haulage vehicles in computer games.
5. Silent Hill
In the fifth instalment of this popular first person horror game, our hero drives his lorry into a very unfriendly neighbourhood. Players take the role of Travis Grady, an ordinary lorry driver in the wrong place at the wrong time, confronted with – as so often happens – hordes of undead zombies and mutilated monsters. Not after his lorry, they see him as a tasty snack, and he has to defend himself while saving the town and the few innocents left there.
4. Blast Corps
The first of two games in our list where haulage is a problem, Blast Corps had a novel way of explaining the chaos you were supposed to unleash. A lorry carrying two nuclear missiles started leaking, and the computerised lorry driver in the cab switched to autopilot in an attempt to get the radioactive material to the disposal silo as soon as possible. The problem was, this means taking the lorry by a direct, straight line, as-the-crow-flies route. Through buildings and ditches and, on one occasion, over a river with no bridge. Averting a crash and the ensuing meltdown was, of course, your patriotic duty and you were tasked with blowing up, filling in or ramming aside anything that would get in the lorry’s way. Damn. And we were so hoping to leave that town standing.
3. Frogger 3D
A sad parable about the dangers of involvement with road haulage, Frogger was fun if you won or lost. Several types of road haulage (moving at improbably high speeds) were some of the nastier hazards encountered while guiding your little green frog across what could only have been the M4, M25 and Route 66 laid side by side. Of course, the lorry driver probably felt a little sorry for you after he cleaned the green smear from his wheels at the next lorry stop, but by then it was too late. Frogs take note: using pedestrian bridges is the way to a longer, less car-filled life.
2. The Grand Theft Auto Series
In stark contrast to the possible regret of any lorry drivers in Frogger 3D, it’s much more likely that the population of the Grand Theft Auto (AKA GTA) series would have swerved towards anything small and defenceless on the roads. Taking the role of a hard as nails Mafioso/ hit man/ east European ex-army man/ gang leader doesn’t really leave room for subtlety on the roads. Tankers, lorries, freight trucks and baggage handler trucks all made an appearance in the games, though few were used to solve your commercial haulage needs. Employed as mobile bombs or needed to ram someone else off the road, using lorries in GTA was about as far removed from the life of normal haulage contractors as it’s possible to get.
What’s better than being the lorry driver? Being the lorry itself. Or, in fact, being a transforming car that has a lorry as it’s a boss. Nothing is quite as fun as receiving orders from a large, red, robot lorry named Optimus Prime. Think conversations with a road haulage vehicle would be boring? Possibly, if it couldn’t help you create huge weapons and fight other transforming robots. Today’s lorries are clearly letting the side down on the explosions front.
Honourable mention – Big Rigs
It is worth looking at a game that – supposedly – centres around racing lorries; Big Rigs. While the game purports to let you “race lorries across the country, with police chasing you”, it does nothing of the sort. Almost universally acknowledged as the worst computer game of all time, the lorries involved travel on a flat plain, with nothing interacting with them and no police in sight. Boring, awful and possibly felonious in its blurb, Big Rigs is an unfortunate stain on the otherwise entertaining use of lorries and road haulage in computer games.