Lawn Mowing Simulator is a game about mowing lawns. Andy Kelly found a demo if it to be surprisingly soothing and meditative. (opens in new tab) I haven't played it myself, but I have found a window into the souls of those who have: the Steam reviews (opens in new tab).
It turns out that people have very strong opinions about lawns and the art of mowing them. For every review about widescreen support or game mechanics, there is one like this by flyingpoptartcats (opens in new tab):
"I don't know what I quite expected from this game but I own a small lawn maintenance company. First thing I did was grind to get a scag to test out the striping mechanics and I was very let down.
Also nothing made by scag is going to bog down at full rpms and full speed cutting 3 or 4 inches of dry grass. I should know, I own one.
And to top it off why are we cutting grass at 2.5 inches??? are we $20 lawn guys? A Cool season lawn should be cut at 3.5 inches minimum. They look great at 4-4.5."
In another context, it might seem petty to complain about a detail like one inch of grass height in a game, but if you put "simulator" in the name of your game, you'd better believe that the claim is going to be challenged by people who know a lot about the thing being simulated.
"Grass should be harder to cut in the rain," said Ty5123 (opens in new tab), who posted a list of other complaints. "Why the heck did they not add a speed cruise control or speed lock? Almost every mower has one. They are making us play inch warm with the speed."
Some reviewers were more concerned with ambiance.
"No push mowers, no weed eaters, no grass juice flying out the mower chute, no grass sticking to the wheels, no mourning doves in the ambience, no even GETTING OFF THE MOWER... This is literally the bare minimum of the satisfying lawn mowing experience," said giv_me_hell (opens in new tab).
"My 5 year is making me refund this because he can't get off the mower," said benwegraham2015 (opens in new tab). "Also no weed wacker? no speed control? He doesn't understand how to not overheat the engine. Not recommended right now for kids."
There are also plenty of positive reviews, and Lawnmower Simulator has a 'Mostly Positive' overall rating on Steam right now.
"It's so relaxing to just fire up your Stiga and make patterns in the Nook Cottage lawn," writes HeadlineStorey (opens in new tab). "Or if you've had a particularly bad day at work, just tear up that turf with a few well earned doughnuts!!"
"The only thing that can improve this game is if my dad was in it. He would be standing at the edge of the lawn with his arms crossed," says pillow (opens in new tab), drawing on nostalgia in support of the mowing game.
"Finally I don't have to wait for my actual grass to grow to mow again. Also you can mow these lawns while drinking naked and not get judged by your 'neighbors' or get tasered by the 'police'," says CDROn (opens in new tab), who clearly just needs a hundred acres in the country, a tall fence, and a riding mower to achieve joy in this life.
I'll leave you with this review from TwistedStixx (opens in new tab), a melancholy paean to the desires of the soul: "Only thing i wish they would add, is that you can get your own truck and trailer and drive to the site. maybe one day...."
Maybe one day.