About a year ago a new trucking simulation game by the name of American Truck Simulator hit the scene. Technically it is the successor to the many trucking games that came before it from the 18 Wheels of Steel franchise. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent on these games in my more formative years and honestly I don’t want to know. The latest incarnation of 18WOS does a decent job immersing you into the world of driving a big rig with manual transmissions, lowering landing gear, blind side backing and dealing with idiot four wheelers (cars). I consider myself a casual player of the game so I use the default keyboard and mouse controls but others out there have full steering wheel setups that include pedal and gearbox shifters. While impressive, all of those pale in comparison to the Sigma Integrale system that bolts onto a real Peterbilt 579. Real as in this truck drove to the show. Yeaaaah.
Using the actual gauges, steering wheel, seat suspension and more the Sigma team is able to transport you behind the wheel of actual big rig. All the blind spots, wide turns and increased stopping distances found in a real truck can be experienced using American Truck Simulator as the engine. Unbelievable! Many years ago when I went to trucking school they had a simulator in the most basic sense. It was a truck seat and a shifter mounted in front of screen that showed two gauges, road speed and rpms. You worked your way through shifting both up and down. If you missed the right combination of speed and gear it would grind the gears and refuse to shift. At the time it seemed like the most advanced system ever created, rivaling that of the space shuttle. How times have changed!