Can You Learn To Drive A Combine From The Luxury Of Your Couch?

I’ve occasionally seen ads for a Farming Simulator video game available for your computer.  Given how much time I spent on flying simulator software as a young kid, I can’t be that surprised that you can simulate many different things in a game.  (Even for recruiting purposes.)  Apparently the game is quite popular in Europe, and may grow even bigger now that you can buy the game for popular console systems.

Part of the recently announced expansion of Farming Simulator is the development of a very realistic controller for home play (H/T STEMdaily News Net).  For almost as much as a game system, you can purchase a steering wheel, side panel and pedals to drive your virtual combine.  This may sound a little ridiculous, but given how farm equipment can be guided very precisely with GPS-enabled systems, the simulator may be put to use to help recruit farmers.

That’s in part because the game is more than just driving a harvester or other insanely large piece of farm equipment.  The player must manage all aspects of farm operation, including transporting and selling the crops, and determining how best to diversify the operation – if you chose to do so.  The game developer is presently concerned with connecting with equipment manufacturers to get the rights to use their vehicles in the program.  But it might also think about reaching out to agricultural extension services and other support organizations to see how its long-term game play can help train future farmers (and how current farmers might improve that game play).

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