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Will fancy controls make a simulation fan of me yet?

What could be more tedious than tilling a virtual field? As you’ve probably guessed, I find simulation games incredibly dull. But maybe it’s just me. After all, the market for them is huge. That’s why you can get all kinds of accessories now too, like the «Saitek Heavy Precision Control System for PC». But will that be enough to get me hooked on hobby farming?

I slam my foot down on the pedal. At a reckless nine kilometres per hour, I’m tearing across the field on a combine harvester. It doesn’t take me long to reach the other end of the field when I’m going at this speed. That means I have to turn round. I spin the controls one and a quarter times to turn as fast as possible. It’s just as well the combine harvester is wide otherwise it would tip over in this breakneck manoeuvre.

Breakneck manoeuvre at 9 km/h

My first attempt at driving the «Saitek Heavy Precision Control System for PC» is somehow fun. What isn’t fun, however, is the name of the input device. It’s pretty cumbersome, which is why I’ve taken to calling it «Farmy».

The controls

We’ve had Farmy lying around the editorial department for a few months now. With this lovely weather we’ve been having, it seems a shame to lock myself away in a gaming cave. So rather than being stuck inside at the end of June, I decide to take the virtual world out for some fresh air. The controls are a welcome excuse. Farmy consists of:

  • a steering wheel with an integrated gamepad
  • a go and break reverse pedal
  • a side panel with various buttons and joystick

Getting started

I test the controls with the «Farming Simulator 17». The packaging does say: «Works great with Farming Simulator 15 Gold Edition». That might be the case but whatever. I want to play the latest version of the game. I’m sure it’ll still work.

As I’ve never played a farming simulator before, the first thing I do is select the tutorial. Yeah, I know… I said I think simulators are boring without ever having played this farming simulator game. It’s not very open-minded of me. That’s why I’m giving it a go now.

Right, let’s get stuck in. Once the tutorial started, it said I should left-click on the mouse to continue. OK, now I’m confused. Am I not supposed to use Farmy to control the game? I slap the keys in frustration. Suddenly the input instruction changes. Now I’m supposed to press «2». The game knows what I’m using for the controls. That’s what I call intuitive.

Driving a tractor like a pro

Now we can really get started. At first I’m still a bit tense but with time I manage to relax. The tutorials show that every button and stick is actually used for something. What makes it even better is that it all works seamlessly. That lessens my initial scepticism somewhat.

A quick word about Farmy

To ease my guilty conscience about having gamed while at work, I should probably tell you a bit about Farmy. The steering wheel and the control console can be screwed to the table. Once there, they’re quite secure. The pedals come with a non-slip coating so they stay in place on carpet, parquet floors and lino. For even better grip, there’s a fold-out pedal mat.

Now the hardware is affixed, you know it’s safe even in the heat of ploughing

The buttons look rather cheap, which is a shame as this finish spoils the overall good impression I had of the hardware. The flip switches are only dummies and don’t do anything different to the other buttons. Meanwhile, the steering wheel wobbles when the base is anchored. But what is cool is that it automatically returns to its starting position – even if it does so with a lot of swerving and lurching. To keep the vehicle steady, you need to press the controls from above rather than from in front. Another thing that bugs me slightly is that you need two USB A connections to link up Farmy.

Waning attention span

After watching the tutorial I know what to do and head off for my first day on the farm. As I’m still very much a beginner I set the difficulty level to «easy». In fact, with a surname like «Hofer» you’d think I was born into a farming family. Will I live up to my «person of the farm» («der vom Hof») title?

Thankfully, the game gave me a quick heads-up at the start so I know what I’m supposed to do. In spite of my surname, I still have no idea what I’m doing so I begin by threshing the field. I then take the harvest to sell to the distributor; dig over a field and sew wheat in another. The controls make all of that good fun.

Also, everything gets done quickly because I can hire people to help finish jobs for me. That means I don’t have to drive up and down the fields for x hours. Once I’ve been through the introductory section, I can do what I want.

As a «GTA» gamer first and foremost, I instantly go looking for the fastest vehicle possible so I can make the streets and fields unsafe. That’s not the point of the game but I don’t have a great attention span. In fact, that’s one of the things that puts me off simulation games. I prefer a bit of action. Fortunately, things step up a gear once I’ve got the pickup truck and can test out the quality of the steering wheel. Having said that, it’s not as though the farming simulator would do a good job of simulating realistic reckless driving.

Has your car sunk? Sounds like you need to buy a new one

Once I was done trying to run people over – unfortunately, it didn’t work and I just drove through them – the vehicle ended up in the river. It was all down to my driving ability or lack thereof. It’s a shame there’s no simulation for car damage either. I was quite surprised given it calls itself a simulation game. The farming simulator is definitely no «GTA» and I have to buy myself a sleek new car. If it ends up in the river, there’s no fixing it. And nope, you can’t steal one.

Back to the simulation

OK, apart from exploring the countryside there’s not much else to do. I suppose that makes sense, as the game is called «Farming Simulator» for a reason. It appeals to people who appreciate a quiet life and want to get back to nature. Slow movement is the keyword here. So without further ado, I go back to my farm and look for new countryside adventures.

The simulator fulfills any aspirations of getting back to nature

Without further instructions on what to do, I head off to another farm and take on some work there. I’m supposed to spread manure over the field. And they’re barely giving me six minutes to do it. High time to test out the controls again. After that, I have to attach a weight to the front and the manure device at the back. Once again, the controls make it quick and easy. After three minutes I’ve already finished the job. And I get paid royally at almost 3,000 euros. Never let it be said that there’s no more money in farming.

Although it didn’t take long to spread the manure, I was already starting to get bored. In the threshing in the tutorial, I was able to hire a helper fairly quickly. I don’t think I could imagine threshing a whole field. I’m basically sitting in front of the notebook for 20 to 25 minutes doing absolutely nothing. How boring is that?

Death knell

Even the cool controls couldn’t make me work for a long time in the field. And yet, there I am, heading off to the next farm to take on a longer job. This time I’m supposed to harvest the field. The lovely neighbouring farmer is allocating 220 minutes for the task. I’m speechless. Am I really supposed to spend three and a half hours going up and down the field with this harvester?

231 minutes and 27 seconds for this job? You’ve got to be joking

Yip, that’s right. Eventually, I try it out and have to overcome my weaker self. So I get behind the wheel of the harvester. Even though I’m against food waste, I don’t take that too seriously when I’m harvesting. I mean, I’m not that bothered if I cut corners or let some produce drop on the ground. Fortunately, digital food waste isn’t an issue yet.

Soooooo boring!

After driving round the field for the fourth time, I hit my chin on the steering wheel. I’ve only been on the harvester for ten minutes. How can people do this? Instead of surrendering to my thoughts and switching off, I get nervous. Slow movement is different.

My leg starts to bob up and down of its own accord. It must be restless leg syndrome or something. I don’t normally get it and can usually sit quietly and quite happily do nothing. Come on, pull yourself together and get back to harvesting, I tell myself. But after five more minutes, I call it a day.

One go at simulation is enough

I just can’t do it anymore. It’s not like I played for long – maybe two hours at most. But it felt like an eternity. Simulation games weren’t and still aren’t for me. They just signal boredom is on the cards. And I’m an avid JRPG player, so I know what boredom in video games means.

Maybe it comes down to the fact I want to slip into another world when I play computer games and do things I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Granted, it’s unlikely I’ll ever drive a tractor. But it’s even more unlikely I’ll get to go on an alien hunt with laser guns or goad the Hell House in the playground in Sector 6 with my fire spells.

The way I see it, there are two types of people: those who like simulation games and those who don’t. I definitely fall into the second category, even though the game controls did seem pretty cool.

  • Saitek Farm Sim
  • Saitek Farm Sim
  • Saitek Farm Sim
CHF 205.–
Logitech G Saitek Farm Sim
4

Availability

Mail delivery

  • Only 4 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 12:30
  • Bern: today at 17:00
  • Dietikon: today at 13:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 14:00
  • Kriens: today at 13:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 12:30
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Wohlen: today at 11:00
  • Zurich: today at 17:15

PickMup

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

Farming Simulator 2017 (PC, FR)
CHF 22.60
astragon Farming Simulator 2017 (PC, FR)
1

Availability

Mail delivery

  • Only 4 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 12:30
  • Bern: today at 17:00
  • Dietikon: today at 13:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 14:00
  • Kriens: today at 13:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 12:30
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Wohlen: today at 11:00
  • Zurich: today at 17:15

PickMup

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

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From big data to big brother, Cyborgs to Sci-Fi. All aspects of technology and society fascinate me.

19 comments

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User G.M.

Schon klar kommt kein realitätsnahes Gefühl auf, wenn man das ganze auf einem 16" (?) Monitor auf einem Laptop spielt ;)

Ich denke mit einem besseren Monitor-Setup würde aich das ganz anders anfühlen.

03.07.2018
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User Don3Mal

Hinter dem Laptop stehen ja zwei Screens. Ich glaube, ich hätte da kurz bei den Kollegen mit den HDMI-Kabeln eins geborgt. =;O)

09.07.2018
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User Ginosucke

Das war ja mal ein richtig schlechter Artikel. Gute Leistung Digitec. einer der keine Ahnung vom genre hat, sich nur über key features beschwert und anscheinend die Kernidee nicht verstanden hatt oder es einfach nicht interessiert. Das war sicher die richtige Wahl...... Digitec: super Produkt Auswahl, gute perise, tooler Kundendienst aber miserable Artikel.

05.07.2018
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User CorDharel

Ich fands witzig, den Artikel zu lesen. Wo bleibt dein Humor? War ja schon von anfang klar dass er den Landwirtschaftssimulator nicht längere Zeit spielt.

05.07.2018
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User Anonymous

bin jetzt auch kein sim-fan, aber vogelperspektive + lenkrad allgemein (was soll das bobby car lenkrad auch bei nem lkw sim wenn man mal ehrlich ist...?) ist sowieso das merkwürdigste was ich so in streams und reviews sehe, am besten noch gepaart mit laptop. wie gesagt, bin kein sim fan, aber wenn man sich ein richtiges cockpit baut für das jene spiel, mag es eben fliegen, lkw fahren oder zug etc sein, dann kann das schon ganz cool sein denk ich. meins ist es auch nicht, aber so ein 3x beamer surround-leinwand mit nem guten rally cockpit würd ich auch nehmen :P

03.07.2018
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User Softloader

Witzig / komisch dass dein Post über 300 Zeichen enthält (567). Ich kann gerade mal 500 Zeichen verwenden wenn ich jemandem Antworte und Du kannst 500+ verwenden wenn Du einen Post machst :( Liegt evlt. daran dass Du 20 Lvl. höher bist als ich? :[

03.07.2018
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User L1f374k3r

Ich dachte immer die lvl sind nur zum Spass da?

04.07.2018
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User Softloader

Dachte ich auch... Only Digitec knows... :D

06.07.2018
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User Anonymous

kA, kann ich euch auch nicht sagen wieso... :o
hab bezüglich des levels auch nichts auf meinem Profil finden können was darauf hinweist

06.07.2018
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User Alessandro Bottinelli

Vielleicht kann ich euch das erklären ^^ Es hat damit zu tun, dass nicht überall gleich viele Zeichen zur Verfügung stehen. Bei einem normalen Kommentar stehen mehr Zeichen zur Verfügung als bei einer "Kommentar-Antwort", wie dieser hier. Wann die Zeichenanzahl erhöht wird, ist nicht bekannt :(

06.07.2018
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User Anonymous

Also ich bin ein riesiger Simulator Fan und habe schon ein paar 100 Stunden mit dem 2017 LS verbracht. Verstehe das Rumgeheule nicht ganz :)
Jedem das seine. Eine solche Steuerung ist aber doch zu klobig und zu unhandlich für mich wenn ich mal eine Runde GTA, LOL, CS usw. zwischendurch machen will

03.07.2018
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User JazzSam

Sehe ich genau so. Warum ein Spiel zocken wo man im Vorhinein schon Antisim eingestellt ist.
Spiele seit dem ersten Teil, nicht exsessiv aber immer wieder mal. Für mich in Sachen Simulation ziemlich das oberste bei all dem Müll in der Sparte.

04.07.2018
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User Skorpionbird

Ich bin selbst ein grosser Fan vom LS 17. Klar macht das Standart Spiel mit drn Maps nicht soviel Laune. Hätte man sich mal mit der ganzen Community im Internet beschäftigt wäre das ganze vieleicht anders bewerten worden, da es extrem viele coole Mods für das Spiel gibt. Ich denke da nur mal an dir Stappenbach Map welche ich auch nach X Stunden immer noch genial finde.

14.07.2018
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