Surprise Steam global top seller My Summer Car bills itself as “the ultimate car owning, building, fixing, tuning, maintenance, AND permadeath life survival simulator.” It’s taught me a lot.

Find your center

My Summer Car really is an open-world survival game. Sure, my goal is to take the shell of an old junker and fill it with shit-hot parts, but I’ve also gotta make sure I don’t die of thirst, hunger, or exhaustion in a massive, mostly empty open world. My car is not me. I am not my job or my hobbies. Much like a car, I’m more than the sum of my parts.

Oh shit, I seriously have to build a whole car

I thought I’d maybe, like, have to slot a few pieces into places, but even these pieces are in pieces. There’s no way I can do this. I’m terrible at everything. This garage will be my tomb.

Patience is key

Aaaaa, I’m so frustrated. I got the seats in and the dashboard on, but the car won’t go, primarily because the car still isn’t a car. It doesn’t have an engine or wheels. Without those, it is, by most definitions, a crappy barge or, more likely, a submarine.

Don’t lose hope

The steering column just went flying through the dashboard, and I have no idea why. I have lost all hope.


There is just an entire case of beer here. I guess one or two or six can’t hurt.

You can pee whenever you want

And there aren’t really any consequences???

Don’t lose hope: redux

After mashing random parts together for 20 minutes, I managed to put the battery in the car, and also I attached a thing to the block. Maybe I can do this after all!


What a difference 20 more minutes of nothing happening makes.

There’s a van

Maybe I can use it to actually go someplace!


I am in the van, but the ignition won’t make it turn on. I click on it, there are some lights, and then... nothing. I click on the radio, but it makes no sound. I am in hell.

It’s OK to ask for advice

We all sometimes find ourselves lost in life’s insistent currents, paddling with no direction, sinking as our faculties slowly betray us. In these moments, we must accept that we’re not our only resource. It might be a little embarrassing, but it’s OK to ask for help. And so, while screaming, I calmly opened My Summer Car’s Steam page and found a guide that was singularly dedicated to GETTING THE DAMN VAN TO WORK.

Driving realistic cars is like riding a bike

If you go really fast and hit a tree, you will die.

Failure is not an ending, but rather the start of something new

At the rate I was going, I was probably gonna starve to death anyway. Lesson learned: if I’m gonna go on a journey, bring beer and sausage. Also, avoid trees.

Pick a path and stick to it

Otherwise, you will get lost in a forest.

When in doubt, keep moving forward

A town! Oh thank goodness, a town.

When people offer to help you, always be grateful


Violence isn’t the answer

When you try to punch somebody, your hand will probably go through their cool coating of ghostflesh, and then the situation will be awkward as hell.

You can pee whenever you want: redux

And there aren’t really any consequences???

Don’t be That Guy at the bar

Especially when the bar is smaller than the convenience store next door, populated by three people, and run by the same shopkeep you peed on and tried to punch.

Consider the following

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” ― Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life.

There are three buttons for cursing!

One for regular cursing, one for a middle finger, and another for drunken cursing. It’s great.

That adage about monkeys and typewriters and Shakespeare is bullshit

Left to my own devices with a garage full of parts, I could not build a car. Instead I wandered around for a couple hours and got my character so drunk that he passed out and woke up on the roof of his own tractor garage. My Summer Car is a fun game, though. Janky and weird as fuck, but fun!


You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us a message to let us know.