Jalopy wasn’t always called Jalopy. When I first met it, it introduced itself as Hac. Since Hac is possibly the least-descriptive title on the planet, I’m glad that it had its name changed. Jalopy is far more fitting for a game in which you slip into the driver’s seat of a temperamental old car and begin a journey across an impressively brown, procedurally generated version of Europe.
It’s currently running the Steam Greenlight gauntlet, and the thing is so charmingly unique that I think you should pop a positive vote in the ballot box right now.
First, have a look at its Greenlight “mechanics” trailer:
Such an interesting-looking thing, isn’t it? “It’s your task to keep your Jalopy running through anything that comes your way,” reads the game’s description on Steam. “Navigate miles and miles of tyre changing, fuel burning, carburetor busting, mud clattering terrain, through night and day, rain and shine, you’ll need to constantly adapt to whatever the procedurally generated world of Jalopy can throw at you.”
You’ll have to pay close attention to the state of your mechanical companion (called the Laika 601 Deluxe) throughout your journey. When it breaks down, you’ll have to repair it. When its tyres wear away, you’ll have to replace them. When it’s running low on fuel, you’ll have to find a station to stock up. You can earn money to buy upgrades and various travel-fueling items by doing things like hunting for scrap, smuggling goods across the border and doing a bit of trading. The nature of the game means that the experience will be different with every new journey you begin.
Every time Jalopy pops back into my view, I’m so pleased that such a strange, endlessly intriguing video game concept is being made reality. That it’ll use the simple pleasures of a road trip to weave a procedural narrative is fascinating to me. If you feel the same way, there’s a ton more info to be gleaned from the game’s devlog, which’ll give you a fuller idea of what you can expect from Jalopy.