Gas Station Simulator has been one of the most popular releases on Steam this year–even outselling Deathloop at one point—and for good reason, too. It’s the perfect game to wind down to if you’ve had an exhausting week. The game is set in an impossible but beautiful utopia: there’s zero expectations to achieve anything, and no one bats an eyelid if you leave them and their car stranded on a sand dune for days.
But let me explain. The crux of the game is this: you’ve inherited a gas station called the Dust Bowl. As luck would have it, it’s located smack bang in the middle of a desert, where sandstorms take place at an alarmingly frequent rate. Then there’s the building itself, which looks like an abandoned junkyard: trash and debris are everywhere, broken furniture is strewn about thoughtlessly, and the ground is caked with generous layers of sand and muddy footprints. While cleaning up this place will hit you with a punch of dopamine—you need to sweep and give the entire building a fresh coat of paint, which feels stupendously fulfilling—you also have to consider a litany of other affairs. This means fuelling up passing cars, keeping your gas station well-stocked with random knick-knacks, clearing away the small hills of sands that have accumulated from sandstorms, and even fixing up cars at the garage. You even have a shady investor—someone who refers to himself as your uncle— who probably has some ties to the mafia.
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