I drive trucks as a day job. I don’t drive on the freeway or anything. I just move them around the local center and park them places. It’s been an exceptionally good week–smooth parking all week long–and I remembered today that I owe it all to American Truck Simulator.
When the old yard shifter transferred, they brought me and a bunch of other younglings in to get certified. Only one problem: None of us had ever driven trucks before, and yard shifting is almost pure backing, one of the hardest parts of driving trucks. My first day behind the wheel, I couldn’t keep the trailer behind me for more than a couple of seconds. I knew I had to do something or I would fail cert.
I went home, opened Steam, and installed American Truck Simulator. I grabbed my old, shitty wheel from 1997 with 90º of turning motion and started backing trailers. I knew my biggest issue was I needed the backwards steering (turning right makes the trailer break left, and vice versa) to feel more natural, so I focused on that.
And it worked! I gained enough control over three days playing a video game to pass my shifter certification.
After the fact, I invested in a new PC steering wheel with more authentic turning, tweaked the force feedback to feel like a real tractor, and continued practicing. When I played, I manually parked every job, no matter how impossible it seemed. I learned to back to my blindside. I downloaded mods for long boxes (bigger trailers). I got virtual experience with every challenge I thought my job might throw at me.
Today, I feel quite competent shifting trailers, and I can even do a few things no other shifter dares attempt. It’s crazy that I owe my new position to a fucking video game!
So thanks, SCS Software for making American Truck Simulator. The extra hours and pay are because of you. And the next time your parents or friends say video games are an irrelevant waste of time, tell them to go fuck themselves and text them the link to this article.