Monday, March 12, 2007

Playing Games: Big Mutha Trucker

My friends have decided it is time to educate me on the finer points of Xbox.

As a result, I spent another fine Saturday evening, controller in hand, playing Big Mutha Truckers.

I question their taste in games....

The premise: Ma owns a trucking company in Hick County. She wants to retire. She has 4 kids and can't decide who should get the company. To prove that you are worthy, you need to make as much money as possible in 60 days hauling stuff around the county.

As you may have guessed, all characters are American redneck stereotypes. For those of us who have spent quality time in the Deep South, the sidebars and soundtrack are kinda funny. A couple of Budweisers consumed while playing helped set the mood.

Mary Jane Irwin, at IGN.com accurately described the game as "2/3 arcade trucking and 1/3 economic simulation."

It's a simple buy low / sell high model with some extra opportunities on the side. Beating rival truckers to the next city. Performing "special projects" - such as mowing down all of the newspaper stands on the route. That sort of thing.

Of course, you make the most money by causing vehicular mayhem. Hit 1 car, $1000. Multiple cars, more money. If you manage to plow through everything on the highway in an impressive manner - $100,000. Decimating your fellow commuters is more profitable than hauling stuff. Not quite the lesson you want to teach kids close to driving age.

Come to think of it....I have a feeling many DC commuters learned to drive playing Big Mutha Truckers....

This game is an interesting introduction to small business economics. You have to pay for supplies - gas, repairs, beer. You also deal with the unpredicability of the market.

While playing, certain decisions have to be made:

If I mow down these 3 trucks and the bus - will the resulting money cover the cost of repairs?

What should I haul to get the most profit? Hint: Beer is profitable. Canned peaches are not.

Is this really a good price for my load? Should I try to sell in another city?

You get some hints within the game - but I didn't play long enough to find out the answers. It got dull after 20 minutes.

For an economic "simulator," I'd probably choose a game like eBay....

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