Boss Rush Banter: What Do You Think About “Dad” Games?

There seems to be a strange trend going on with video games on almost an Andy Kaufman level of it being an inside joke. Recently, Xbox Game Pass surprised us with House Flipper on their service as well as announcing PowerWash Simulator available later in July, joining Farming Simulator 2022 and Lawn Mowing Simulator. Because if there’s one thing people want to do in video games, it’s the chores they’re putting off in real life. Perhaps this is me, being the old timer, not understanding the new generation of gaming. While these fall under the simulation genre, I saw a name for these particular games, and it made a lot of sense. What do you think about “Dad” games?

Simulation games have been around as long as people wanted to try something without important ideas like “education” or “entertainment”. Ever wonder what flying a Boeing 747 is like without the hassle of learning aeronautics taking up time on your busy schedule? That’s why there’s Microsoft Flight Simulator. Think you could run a city better than those fatcats in Washington? Here’s SimCity 2000, and let’s see how you handle an earthquake, tsunami, and an alien invasion, all at the same time, Mr. Johnny Councilmen. But there is a particular rule set that separates Dad games from other sim games. It seems as though the task at hand needs to be the most benal activity possible that literally anyone can do. Aside from allergies and the occasional squirrel attack, just about anyone can mow the lawn. Did we really need a game for that? 

Is this one of those paradigm shifts in entertainment I keep hearing about? Do we keep upsetting the almighty algorithm with content unsuitable for advertisers that the only thing left we can do is watch other people clean an entire skate park, seeing them get excited for a new nozzle, all of which is completely fake? I’m all for the suspension of disbelief, but can it be for something exciting? If I’m not riding a dragon, sword in each hand, living out a fantasy from 1940’s pulp comics, then why get my hopes up for my power washing business?

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m doing the internet thing of not playing the game that I’m complaining about. I downloaded House Flipper, mostly on a whim, but I had to see why people get into these kinds of games. In the most boiled down review possible, it’s kind of clunky, generic, and honestly boring, but it really convinces you that what you’re doing means something. There’s a mission where you are asked to paint a room, which I did while complaining about it the entire time. There’s even a mission where you have to clean up an entire fraternity house, complete with trash, wine bottles, roach nests, and mopping up messes. I hate it when I have to be the janitor at work (which is more often than you think it would be for a manager), why would I want to be a janitor for fun?

But then, I played PowerWash Simulator. That game is as addicting as Pixy Stix and Fun Dip. I mean, you start blasting that old house, clearing away caked layers of dirt and grime, restoring it to a perfect sheen, there’s something to be said about that feeling of completion–despite the fact that there is honestly no high point to that game. The visuals are fine, but it’s nothing that a programmer with basic knowledge can’t do. The sound design captures that perfect sense of drudgery, with only the sounds of rushing water keeping you company for hours. And the only thing you do…is power wash things. And I can’t pull myself away!

Yes, I am being over-the-top for dramatic effect, but I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Do you think “Dad” simulator games are a weird niche? Let’s talk it out on the Boss Rush Discord.

Featured Image: Square Enix

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