I subscribe to a YouTube channel run by a fellow from the UK, who goes by the name Squirrel. He plays video games, the games I enjoy. I keep getting notices that Squirrel has posted a new video about some game called My Summer Car. I had no idea what this game is, because, for reasons unknown, I’ve been ignoring the notices.
This week, I decided to check out Squirrel’s My Summer Car playlist.
This is not a game I’m interested in playing, but, at the same time, I am mesmerized by it. It is one of the most bizarre computer games I have seen in a long time.
My Summer Car was, according to Squirrel, was written entirely by one man in Finland. It is rated 18+, due to some crude behavior, intoxication, public urination, and swearing (in Finnish). The game is in Finnish, with English subtitles.
The premise of the game is this: It’s summer, 1995, in the Finnish countryside. Your parents have gone on holiday, leaving you alone in the house.
You decide to build a car, by hand, starting with parts and a rusty auto body. The building is incredibly detailed – every little part that goes in to a car is there, and you have to put it all together, using the proper tools. If you get the car running, you have to tune the engine, align the wheels, adjust the carburetor – everything you’d have to do with a real homebuilt car.
(Computer games are so detailed these days, it baffles me how someone could program all this.)
You can order parts for your summer car, but, since this is 1995, you have to fill out an order form, seal it in an envelope, drive to the general store, and drop it in a mailbox. You can earn money by selling firewood or emptying septic tanks.
I don’t know if this is an actual place in Finland, but where you live is populated entirely by lowlifes and drunks – and the police.
Death is a possibility. You can die by crashing your car. You can die from hunger or thirst. You can get hit by a train. You can also be killed by reckless teenagers driving too fast in their subwoofer-enhanced cars.
There are constant mosquitoes and barking dogs – it a game, says Squirrel, designed to troll you.
This game is strange and unusual, and I can’t look away.