Cranes, Planes, Automobiles and Tribute Bands

We love absurd and obscure simulators. Classic flight simulation is all very well, but it’s the lovingly crafted virtual recreations of quirky machines and processes that fascinates us, such as this Street Cleaning Simulator (via RPS). It appears to be German, and perhaps has an educational/training aspect. Another German company, Astragon, is on a mission to simulate every aspect of transport based simulation, from demolition to buses and trams and quarrying. Elsewhere, there are tractor simulators, farming simulators, shipping simulators (with a Ferry add-on pack). All these and more are sold by Excalibur Publishing, which has a vast roster of sims.

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Then there’s Rig of Rods, where obsessives can spend hours recreating complex devices like the Sennebogen 5500 starlifter crawler crane in relentless, mind-boggling detail (many thanks to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which has boundless enthusiasm for this genre). As an aside, the ‘white italic san serif caps’ style of simulator packaging seems to be universal, thanks largely to Microsoft. The first edition of Flight Simulator came out in 1982 (source: Wikipedia history) didn’t feature this style, nor did version 2.0 (1984), 3.0 or 4.0. It wasn’t until MS Flight 5.0, released in 1993, that this graphical style appears – as part of Microsoft’s general game branding of the time. Somehow, someone somewhere decided that it conveyed just the right amount of seriousness for a simulation (and its constant re-use in the many, many scenery packs that supported MS Flight helped too). See The Old Flight Simulator Vault for more. See also this fun video history of Flight Simulator, for students of the evolution of computer graphics.

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Related, the history and development of Coles cranes / Salon gets on the post-apocalyptic imagery bandwagon, collating a guide to the most evocative modern ruins, ’14 spots [that] are begging us to cast off our cultural hubris and step into their lonely embrace’ / Artists Beware, ‘A Community to Warn Others of Good, Bad, and Ugly Commissioners’ / Microkhan, always worth a read / the ‘everyday photography’ of Peter Doubleday, especially the series ‘Shelf Life‘ / Scanwiches, a blog and now a book / Blueprints for new BND spy agency HQ ‘missing’.

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Heaven for Atheists (via the fresh, new The Morning News, just subjected to a brilliant redesign). Any insights into the weird, wonderful world of Alcor is always welcome. And well, the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is very certainly worth a read, as is Defenders of the Faith, all about ‘the golden age of all-female tribute bands, from Sheagles and Blonde Jovi to AC/DShe and Cheap Chick‘ / The A.V.Club’s Pop Pilgrims series owes its existence to Fiat sponsorship, for sure, but it’s fun stuff nonetheless, revisiting key locations from classic films.

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Chinese police caught rebadging Mercedes as a Honda to avoid tax / The BMW Art Car Collection on the Internet / Interview With Lew Jaffe The Bookplate Junkie / Tubular Fells, ‘a great new map of The English Lake District, called Tubular Fells, based upon the iconic work of Alfred Wainwright, The Lakeland author and Harry Beck, the draughtsman for London Underground.’

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One Response to Cranes, Planes, Automobiles and Tribute Bands

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