How Euro Truck Simulator 2 became a mirror into my sleep deprived life

I’ve not slept for thirty hours and I’m driving a truck from Aberdeen to Rotterdam.

I’m partly past the point I could actually get to sleep anyway, but most of it is that I have a tiny baby on my lap that is getting some much needed rest. I was told they always sleep, but I wasn’t told they always sleep on you.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 main veiw

Wait a minute…I can’t see my hands! AAAAAAAHHHHHhhh

I’m not allowed to go to sleep. If I go to sleep whilst looking after this tiny goblin wrapped in a fluffy blanket, then I don’t want to think about the end of that sentence. Netflix has been the answer so far, but I’ve just finished House of Cards and I’m in that between-shows limbo so I have turned to my old friend video games to bail me out.

That means I’m now driving a virtual truck from virtual Aberdeen to virtual Oslo in Euro Truck Simulator 2.

In order to stave off sleep, I’ve opted for something that requires a modicum of concentration, but not a massive amount of intense brain thought.

I wrote a little bit about some games you can play when you’re looking after a newborn on Chaotic Parenting and the gist is either go for something that can be picked up in five minute bursts, or something that doesn’t need too much from your faculties to operate.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 seems to be perfect. There’s an odd serenity driving a massive lorry through the uncanny valley of England, stopping at these diminutive representations of cities I know fully well include much more than a timber merchant, a lorry dealership, a garage and a job centre specialising in truck drivers.

This is something I would like to play in VR. This is something I would like to play over a long weekend with a bottle of whiskey and two days of podcasts to binge on. This is something…

I’ve crashed. Into a lamppost. To be fair, the lamppost came out of nowhere – here I was minding my own business texting, looking away from the road and

Euro Truck Simulator 2 is anti-texting propaganda

The speed at which I immobilise my truck after taking my eyes off the road to text is bizarre. My sleep addled brain wondered at the time if there was some kind of fancy eye-tracking technology baked into the game that could tell through my webcam whether I’m paying attention to the road or not – I discounted this theory because I didn’t have a webcam plugged in, not because it’s insane.

I've got this. I can take my eyes off the road to admire the view withou

I’ve got this. I can take my eyes off the road to admire the view withou

I think everyone has had that moment in a car where they have a near miss because they were fiddling with the radio, trying to fix the air-con or having a fight with the satnav, but this gave me the same sense of lurching horror without the genuine danger.

At this point I decide that Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a fair simulation of driving a Euro Truck.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a sleep management sim

My crash has set me back. I’ve still got seven hours left on the clock to make the delivery so it should be absolutely fine – if I drive absolutely perfectly I should make it in five, I just need to avoid texting or having any more distractions.

I cast my eyes suspiciously towards the baby for a moment. I decide that if she stays asleep, I’ll be fine – because I have now forgotten that it’s possible to pause this game.

I’ve not slept for thirty hours and I’m driving a truck from Aberdeen to Rotterdam – but Euro Truck Simulator 2 now decides this is a problem. I’m about to fall asleep.

There’s a surreal moment where I think I’m having a hallucination as the game is telling me something that I know is very likely to happen at any moment. I know my body, and I know that when I get to a certain point I don’t have a choice about going to sleep any more.

In fact, what the game is trying to tell me is that my virtual truck driving self needs to sleep because he has been awake in game for as long as I have out of game. Apparently, truck drivers get to just pull over and go to sleep when they absolutely have to. I bet they don’t have to worry about babies on their laps.

This fills me with such absolute stress. I’m now clearly unable to manage my sleep in both worlds and I feel like this is completely out of my hands.

I would like to be able to tell you how great Euro Truck Simulator 2 is

I can’t really attest to the long term playability of Euro Truck Simulator 2, nor the endgame or latter stages of the business sim aspect of it.

I can tell you that hiring a few additional drivers to work for you is pretty fun, but I don’t know how it develops.

I can tell you it’s nice to buy your own truck, but I can’t tell you how it feels to upgrade it and customise it.

Euro Truck SImulator 2 cool truck

This is a cool truck. I never got anywhere near owning something like this.

I have been unable to go back to Euro Truck Simulator 2 now for a year and a half. This isn’t the regular excuse of “I’m a parent and I have no time” as I’ve sunk a fair number of hours into Elite: Dangerous, which is basically this but in space.

It is instead because I can’t face going back to that world where I am unable to function on the tiny amount of sleep that I have had, and fighting to get as much done before that tiny amount of sleep catches up with me and renders me unconscious at the wheel.

Somewhere, in virtual Rotterdam, there is a builder still waiting for his shipment of lumber and he is never going to get it.

Is Euro Truck Simulator 2 worth a look?

I’m not going to give Euro Truck Simulator 2 a review score – despite me putting this in the reviews category, this isn’t a review – this is a rambling about not sleeping enough.

I would say that I can recommend it for an unexpectedly peaceful and relaxing experience and you will definitely enjoy it more than you expect to. How much more, I don’t know, but definitely more.

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