Get the ‘real’ experience with Farming Simulator 19

Farming Games: As real as it can be: Farming Simulator 19 is the perfect game for someone with an interest in agriculture but who's not yet ready to make the commitment. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

As real as it can be: Farming Simulator 19 is the perfect game for someone with an interest in agriculture but who's not yet ready to make the commitment. Photo: Supplied/Farming Simulator 19

Into gaming? We bring you another instalment of Gareth Davies’ series on games. The last time we dipped our toes into the world of farming video games, we had a look at Minecraft, which isn’t entirely about farming. It’s more a creative building game with farming elements. This time however, we are going full-fledged farming with Farming Simulator 19.

Granted, there is no substitute for getting your hands dirty out in the real world, but for someone who may have an interest in agriculture, this is a good way to test the waters without the commitment. You can get a sense of the scope and intricacies that come with a career in agriculture: from managing your land, equipment, staff and produce, to interacting with your neighbours over the hill. Farming Simulator 19 tries to offer the most realistic experience possible.

Farming Simulator 19: As real as can be

Farming Simulator 19 is the quintessential real-world farming experience. The name says it all. It simulates farming. There are no blocky landscapes, pixel-art towns or monster-filled caves. Just open farmland and beautifully rendered real-world farming equipment.

When you start your campaign, you are given three levels from which to start. Photo: Supplied/Farming Simulator 19

With this land you can farm whatever you want: crops, livestock or even forestry. Unlike Minecraft, you aren’t simply dropped in a world. You can craft your farming experience from the get-go. Start your career as an up-and-coming smallholder farmer with basic funds, equipment and a small chunk of land for you to expand through selling your goods. Or start with more money than you could ever need, top-of-the-line equipment and land that stretches as far as the eye can see.

When I say this game is a farming simulator, I mean it

Every task you complete feels like real-world work. To harvest your crops, you need to hop in your harvester, attach the right machine, with the right attachments, then slowly make your way across the land collecting the efforts of your labour.

The level of detail the developers added to this game is astounding, but I would recommend you keep a real farmer nearby to help you get acquainted with everything the game throws at you.

The game assumes that you will understand the mechanics and as such, you will need to figure out a lot by yourself, much like in the real world. But with this comes a great sense of accomplishment. Seeing the grain I grew disappear into the gaping maw of my Massey Ferguson MF Activa 7374S combine, with a FreeFlow header attached (yes, I now know farming equipment thanks to this game) is incredibly satisfying.

How not to prepare the soil for crops: At this moment I handed the task over to a helper who did a much better job! Photo: Supplied/Farming Simulator 19

The realism of the equipment and farming practices is astounding too, but the game does have some bugs. There can be issues with the AI of some of the “quest” givers.

Once I accepted a job from my neighbour to harvest their crops and when I returned, sun burnt, with their crop in tow, they had disappeared and were never seen again.

Glitches like this can be a bit of a deal breaker for some people but if you are willing to push through the bugs, you are in for a very rewarding experience.

Farming Simulator 19 is available on Windows PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox.

ALSO READ: Minecraft: The only place where farming is all fun and games

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