“PowerWash Simulator”: one pressure blow and all worries fly away

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“PowerWash Simulator” doesn’t sound like much. However, this simulation of high pressure cleaning exerts a hypnotic and calming power.

The problem, when you live next to an active volcano, in a remote hometown in the USA, is the accumulation of grime due to the ash fallout. The facades of houses, cars and other street furniture get dirty quickly and covered in soot.

Fortunately, if you have the right arsenal, dust and rust may just be bad memories. Armed with a high pressure water cleaner, we are placed in charge of a cleaning company. The first contract is simple: give a second life to a van that seems to have spent the last twenty years in a mud puddle.

In the game world, a Kärcher jet restores any surface to its former glory. Everything is repairable, nothing is serious.

It is true that we are not necessarily full of enthusiasm when we launch “PowerWash Simulator” for the first time. Yet we quickly fall under the spell: When you pull the lever trigger, the water jet hits the body with a dull white noise. Behind the mud and dust, a bright blue body begins to appear. We juggle between the different nozzles to alternate between the powerful but narrow jet and the others, with a larger radius but with a more moderate force.

follow from long hours of relaxation during which we methodically clean a patio, a playground or the facades of houses.

From the outside, “PowerWash Simulator” makes no sense. He really doesn’t have much to say.. However, it is impossible not to appreciate the experience. The game is almost therapeutic. Its repetitiveness, the sound of the water that differs depending on the surface touched, everything gives the impression of being in front of an ASMR video, those experiences of listening to soft and relaxing sounds. Total relaxation. In the gaming world, a well-placed Kärcher jet can restore any surface to its former glory. A slide that we thought was good for the dump quickly regains its glory. Everything is repairable, nothing is serious.. For a moment, we genuinely feel the euphoria forced by the actors in the laundry detergent commercials. And she feels good.

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Published by Square Enix Collective


Available on PC and Xbox

Note from L’Echo:

“Simulation is more a means than an end”

Take care of your fields and harvest corn when the weather allows it; transporting a shipment of screws between Le Havre and Munich at the wheel of a semi-trailer; manage the purchases and contracts of soccer players to raise your club in the ranking…: there are many simulation video games similar to this “PowerWash Simulator“, and its success is undeniable. How to explain that some players prefer to spend their free time performing these thankless tasks in front of a screen rather than live extraordinary adventures in an “Elden Ring” or embody, at random, Batman or Spiderman?

“It’s the exact opposite of a shooter, and yet it plays the same.”

Thibault Philippette

Co-founder of Leuven GameLab

“Often the development of a strong trend calls for its opposite. More and more games are designed to be competitive and target esports competitions. It is quite logical to see Other proposals emanate that are aimed at players who are looking for calmer and calmer experiences”, believes Thibault Philippette. This professor at the UCLouvain Faculty of Economic, Social, Political and Communication Sciences is one of the creators of the Louvain GameLab, a university center that brings together researchers interested in video games and virtual universes. “Games like ‘Animal Crossing’ on Nintendo Switch, for example, take a lot of the pressure off that you find in other titles. There’s no timer, no enemies. You just run the island you live on as you see fit, harvesting various resources. most simulation games act the same way. These are often quiet experiences that become almost poetic.. While a multiplayer game like ‘Splatoon’ pits two teams against each other trying to cover as much of an arena as possible in their team’s color in a limited amount of time, ‘PowerWash Simulator’ is the exact opposite: we clean up quietly, on our own. . swing. It is quiet, contemplative, repetitive. In a word, relaxing.”

“Pretend play is a form of cultural reappropriation. Like children playing at being an adult in short”.

Thibault Philippette

Co-founder of Leuven GameLab

But the game does not distort only “Splatoon”. It is a supposed counterpoint to many current games.. “It appropriates the codes of first-person shooters that see the world through the eyes of the person holding the gun. But instead of the gun, the player here has a Kärcher,” notes Thibault Philippette. “It plays mechanically in the same way as war games, which have been hugely popular for years. But here, there’s no need for sharp reflexes or enemies to take down.. He is the exact opposite of a marksman, and yet he plays the same..”

“Farming Simulator” asks the player to manage a farm from A to Z.

The relaxing aspect of this type of game alone does not explain the success of the simulations. More complex experiences like “Farming Simulator” ask the player to manage a farm from A to Z, from choosing seeds to buying tractors and combines. We can also mention “Eurotruck Simulator” which puts the player behind the wheel of a heavyweight and forces him to drive through endless highways to transport various goods. “Some players seek to optimize their actions, to master a set of complex procedures. It’s a way to check if you’re competent enough to fly a plane or a taxi for hours without damaging your cargo. And it’s less restrictive than doing it for real. It is a form of cultural reappropriation.. As children would play at being adults in short.

Still, all games, to varying degrees, are actually simulations. “But don’t confuse a game’s theme with its mechanics. In many games, simulation is more of a means than an end. All games seek to simulate a believable universe, even if that means simplifying it. As an aquarium mimics the ocean. Each game mechanic is a simulation. Some, like ‘Flight Simulator’ or this ‘PowerWash Simulator’, are the purest examples of simulation by simulation. Other games invite players to introspect. In ‘Todo’, for example, the player moves from one living being to another, in a section peppered with commentaries on philosophical lectures, thus offering a real reflection on the interconnectedness of matter. A simulation can also hide an adventure game or a puzzle game.”

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