Hello. Welcome to DOS FX.
I had this vague memory of a text-based game about hauling cargo from one end of the country to the other in a semi-truck. It was bugging me so much, that I had to call the interwebs for help.
I had it in my head that it was called “Trucker” or something, but that turned out not to be the case. No, my friends, this blasty from the pasty could be none other than…
A search for “80s trucker DOS game”, plus fifteen minutes later, and I was sitting down ready to play Big Rig, by Bill “Probably Fake Name” Pogue. It was time to test the mettle of this programming trucker from the future and his ultimate, semi-truck driving simulation.
Let’s read a little bit of the overview. I’m not going to show you all of it, because there are twelve pages of intimate details about this game. Not only was Bill “Just Bill” Pogue an adventurous, semi-truck driving demigod, but he was also an ambitious writer as well.
Like I said, there are ten more pages of this. They pertain to speeding, the three different routes you can take to get to New York City, truck stops and other stuff. He always refers to the police as “Smokey”. A Burt Reynolds fan, for sure. But, as our humble Bill “Bigly” Pogue would say….
For my first adventure, I select oranges, the most perishable cargo, and I choose the northern route, the most grueling. Here’s where the fun begins.
Your maximum weight limit is 50,000 lb. When it asks me how much I want to haul, I remember I would always choose one of two answers. I would either type “1” or “100,000”. Now the 1 it doesn’t mind, as long as you can live with the shame of transporting one orange across the country. The 100,000, it doesn’t like so much. Even before I begin my quest, the game informs me 50,000 lbs. of oranges has spilled out of my truck, and I have to pay for it.
This time I type in “100,000”. Sure, I’m in the hole already, but it only serves as motivation, right?
Here’s typical game play. It tells you day, time, fuel, your condition and other things. There’s usually a truck stop every three to four hours. You can stop and put gas in your rig and you also have the option of getting some sleep. As you can see, I’m cruising at 69 mph at the moment. Getting bored yet? Just wait.
So after driving five hours and ignoring a couple of truck stops, I decide to stop and fuel up. Here’s some unintentionally funny stuff: You can input way over the amount of gas your truck can take. Anything over 200 gallons and it spills. This time I had 186 gallons bleed out. I wonder what the service station attendant thinks about this idiot just pumping and pumping and watching it spill all over the pavement. I guess they don’t care as long as I pay for it.
Sleep seems to work the same way. You can enter any amount, and it accurately tracks it. If you type in 72 hours, you will wake up three days later. I wish I had this magical sleep ability. This time I selected 186 hours. I was feeling real bad about all that gas I spilled so I thought an hour per every gallon wasted should ease my conscience. But, due to “daytime noise” (9am-5pm), I only get 93! What did I do for those other 93 hours? Did I just lay there prone?
I don’t think I’ve ever transported oranges before, because I didn’t realize “the refer unit” shuts off after your rig runs out of gas. Since it runs all the time to keep that yummy fruit fresh, it conked out while I was napping. I wonder how many oranges went bad. Big Rig never tells, but I bet someone good at math could do the math.
Since I ran out gas while I slept, I’ve got to get some more. Then, astoundingly, it asks me if I want to get some more sleep. Didn’t I just get 93 hours? Oh well, put me down for two more, just in case.
Damn. I only got one due to daytime noise.
Busted! Smokey got me! I thought I would punch it to 75mph for kicks. It serves me right.
If you get four tickets, you get arrested, your license revoked, and your rig is impounded. Game over, man! Better keep it legit from now on and turn off the Sammy Hagar.
What the hell? I’ve never had this happen before. Is this information even true, or is the transmission shop always 300 miles away? That “SORRY!!!” seems so mocking, too.
I’m all washed up, eh? Well, this review is not over yet, Bill “Laundry Fetish” Pogue.
Starting again, I pull into a truck stop after 440 miles of hard driving. I was feeling lucky so I tapped a cool 1,000,000 gallons of gas. 999,892 spilled, of course. I probably wiped out an ecosystem this time. I was feeling real shitty about it, so again, I thought it best that I get an hour’s sleep for every gallon of gas I set free.
Apparently the program had trouble adjusting its calendar to me getting 41662.166667 days of sleep, and it crashed. Bill “The Admonisher” Pogue must not have added burial service parameters into the game. Technically, I only got 57 years of sleep due to daytime noise, though. I wonder what my oranges would have looked like after 114 years with the refer unit off?
By now, you’re seeing what a blast this game is. We must, at least once, make it through to see the big lights of New York City. This time, we’re going to make it.
Oh hell. Let’s see what happens when you don’t sleep. I’ll sum it up quick. I promise.
Enough fooling around! We’re going make it this time. We’ll play it nice and safe. I’ll go 55 mph the whole way. I’ll pick the middle route, which Big Rig says has the least amount of Smokey, and I’ll pick mail as my cargo. This cargo is time sensitive, so I’ll get docked for lateness. I’ve got to try and stick to only a couple years of sleep on this trip.
This is it! I only have 65 miles to go! Just to be on the safe side, I’d better stop at this last truck stop and get a good 1,000 hours of snooze and wait out this blizzard until next season. I’ve consistently stopped at every fourth truck stop and have gotten 1,000 gallons of gas and 1,000 hours of sleep to ensure I’m always rested and rearing to go.
Ye Haw! I made it. And it only took 35 minutes of game play! I had no idea New York was so green.
All right! Now it’s time to pull this baby into dock and see how much bank I got coming.
Wow. What a bad trip. I’m bankrupt, my rig has been repossessed, and my wife left me. It was something to do with not seeing her or our children for two years or something.
So what if some jerk was whining about his mail being two years late? A guy needs his sleep. I’ll pay off that $75,594.68 with the next trip. I bet the mafia will cut me a loan for a new rig. Nothing could go wrong with that.
In the end, Bill “Sexecutioner” Pogue seems to think I have a small talent at driving a big rig. I’m not sure which game he was watching, but maybe his emphasis was on the word “small”.
But, if The Pogue has taught me anything, it’s that New York City needs lots of things, and they get really pissed off if you’re a couple years late. Still, I really had a great time playing it again after all these years and it still makes me laugh.
If you’d like to get it yourself, feel free to follow this link and haul as much cargo as you want:
But don’t forget to get plenty of sleep.
Reviewer’s Score: 18 Wheels out of 12 Roses.
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