Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing


I had just finally unlocked the heat seekers for my jets in Battlefield 3, and so I decided it was time for a break.  I plopped down and read a rather interesting article on Wikipedia about the all-time worst video games out there.  I’d seen gameplay from that dreadful E.T. game, and I’d even seen some from Custard’s Revenge.  But the one that caught my eye the most was Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing.  It sounded awesome, and so I went out, found a copy, and downloaded it.  What came next I did not expect.

Flames? Cops? LIGHTNING? This game has everything.

The game is incredible.  How it received such a terrible reputation I’ll never know, because for the 30 minutes or so I played it (until it crashed my computer), I was having a blast.  I fear that the game was simply so ahead of its time that people didn’t know how to treat it.  Maybe other big name tractor trailer truck racing game companies hatched a scheme to discredit this game.  Maybe it was simply too advanced, to edgy for America to handle.  One can never be sure.  But one thing remains certain, this gem of 2003 set the standard for all big rig 18-wheeler PC racing games, and I think that’s why nothing of note has come from the genre since.

It takes all the glory and fame of being a trucker, mixed with the intelligence and wit normally associated with NASCAR.

First of all, the game took a bold step by removing all AI from the computer opponents.  This is something gamers have been begging for for decades.  I don’t know about you, but I hate losing.  I hate to even think losing is a possibility.  And so with Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, there is no possibility you can lose.  Even better, there is no multiplayer, so your friends won’t be there to ruin the fun for you.  Nope, its just you against a few other trucks, none of which will even accelerate off the starting line.  I found this to be a charming addition to an already great game.  What’s the point in spending money (which I didn’t) on a game when, in the end, you don’t even win every time?  And if you’re like me, you’ve become accustomed to winning all the time at everything.  But is there really anything worse than winning, only to have to read three or more words congratulating you on such an accomplishment?  To me, it’s the stuff of nightmares.  Thankfully, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing did away with such superlatives, and gives you this in its place:

Yes, yes I am winner.

Another thing I hate in video games is choice.  If I’m playing Modern Warfare, nothing sends me into a frothing rage more than having to choose between numerous guns.  On top of that, you have to choose attachments and other stupid things.  Grand Theft Auto forces you, unwillingly, to have to choose which car to steal.  Skyrim is ruined because of all the choices I don’t want to end up making.  Can anything be more arduous?  But in Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, they’ve helpfully made our choices easier.  See, when you choose your truck at start up, the game will do one of two things.  If you choose correctly, you get to race.  If you choose incorrectly, the game crashes your computer.  I can’t think of anything more helpful or convenient.

Whoops, wrong truck! Silly me

And have you ever thought, “I’d like to play a video game, but I only have 2 minutes until I have to leave the house?”  Well, wonder no longer, because in Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, half the time that you go through the starting line to begin the race, it thinks the race is over!  Once again, You’re Winner, but without the added hassle of actually having to play.  And the game has a wicked sense of humor too.  It will leave you turning up your speakers full blast, trying to hear the sound effects the designers didn’t add.  That way, when it crashes your computer (and trust me, it will crash), you’ll be blasted in the ears with an endless loop of repeating dings produced by the error messages.  Hilarous!

And why focus on designing the ground, when you'll just drive all over it anyway?

Moreover, although racing games are popular, almost everyone complains and gets mad when they crash their car.  But the developers of Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing heard their customers loud and clear, and thus didn’t include crash detection.  Luckily, this means you get to drive through everything!  Buildings no longer stand in your way, trees no longer slow you down, and physics no longer constrain you like the shackles of a condemned prisoner.  One can drive up 90 degree hills without so much as a reduction in speed.  This helps when you need to take a short cut, in case the opponents who aren’t driving happen to not be catching up to you.  This level of innovation puts games like Batman: Arkham City to shame, and I’m embarrassed to even own other games after this.

Make sure you watch the credits, to make sure to know who to thank later.

One of the best parts of the game, and in my opinion the most realistic, is the fact that you drive faster in reverse.  It is possible to get up to a thousand miles per hour in reverse, which is helpful if you need to go back to an earlier part of any of the three levels!  (There is a fourth level, but as an added bonus, it crashes your computer when you select it!)  But I must say that my favorite part of Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is the plot.  The box art states that you are carrying illegal cargo, and must escape the police to deliver your contraband.  I was turned off by this because why would I want to run from the cops?  That sounds illegal.  Lord knows in GTA IV all I did was drive slowly and see how many red lights I could stop at.  Thankfully the developers must have had a change of heart at the last second, because they removed the plot entirely.  And while they didn’t put another one in its place, I still found the game charming.  It forced an introspective look at one’s self.

We all have our hills to climb.

With no music, no plot, no physics, and no opponents, I was left to ponder my life; to ponder my fate.  Is it that we are all ultimately alone in this world?  Is it that our bodies are not unlike big rigs, driving the road of life, passing through buildings and trees as moments and people pass us by, growing ever closer to the grave?  As fear and dread crept upon me, realizing that I too have cargo that must be delivered, the baggage of a life left unlived, I was shocked back into reality by a sudden death of sorts.  The game, poetic as it is, crashed for me one last time.

And then I uninstalled it, because it’s more like malware than a video game.

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9 Responses to “Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing”

  1. I want win

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