Driving a bus or a taxi in New York City is a nerve-wracking experience for first timers. Roads are jam-packed with motorists and pedestrians. There’s a stop in what seems like every five seconds. The turns are tight and the streets are narrow, but seasoned drivers negotiate these conditions as if they were nothing.
One could even say that these skilled drivers could do it in their sleep. Which is why when I saw that there was going to be a “New York Bus Simulator” and “New York Taxi Simulator” on Steam, I wanted to try it out and be the commuters’ hero.
The bus may sound like a dying lawn mower and the taxi may look like it escaped out of “Crazy Taxi,” but it’s my mission to help the passengers get to their destinations no matter what.
Even if it means going almost ten times faster than the speed of sound.
Before taking to the skies and disregarding Newton's discoveries, I was a law-abiding bus and taxi driver. Prescribed bus stops were followed within every unlocked mission and the bus ran under the speed limit. Mysterious orbs were collected and brakes were applied as gently as possible. Passengers were picked up within their colored zones and their requests for a “hurry up ride” were granted. With the help of a floating green arrow above the vehicle, I was able to get a tour of the most generic-looking, traffic-lacking streets.
As I continued to pass by roads that were blocked by invisible barriers, I wondered what was beyond them. I was no longer satisfied with the arbitrary star-rating of my bus driving skills, nor was I motivated by the very slow progression of my taxi-driving experience bar.
I wanted to be different like these games' title cards and break expectations. Just like how "New York Bus Simulator" and "New York Taxi Simulator" were really "New York Bus The Simulation" and "New York Taxi The Simulation," I was an explorer instead of a driver.
Once I abandoned all hopes of ever seeing a Comfort Inn like the one on the loading screen, my eyes were opened to things unknown. My vehicles were indubitably strong and impervious to any damage. Perhaps due to an invention by someone who wanted to avoid costly insurance claims, my bus withstood head-on collisions with trees and buildings.
My taxi paid no mind to lamp posts and instead gave them a ride across town. Water fountains splashed happily after knocking off a few fire hydrants. Pedestrian fatalities were non-existent because they somehow unlocked the secret to turn ethereal at will. The bus sinking into the ground and twitching for a few seconds following a multi-car collision was simply a minor inconvenience.
Perhaps the best lesson learned from this game was the fact that one could drive a vehicle from the side. It was almost like a statement against the status quo, a daring defiance that doesn't really hurt anyone even after hitting every single car around.
As a curious, intrepid driver, I decided to experiment with more driving views. Apparently, switching from first-person to third-person view while driving against an invisible barrier renders them useless.
Perhaps this was a skill only those “in the know” could perform, a password of sorts that only the initiated can demonstrate, because all of a sudden I was on the other side of the barrier. Driving on the outskirts of town like an outlaw, there was no longer any need to pay attention to the infractions and “driving softness” violations. I was outside the system, far away from the clutches of the modern world.
Eventually, I threw caution to the wind and decided to give my passenger the best “hurry up” ride. I took off the ground and rapidly increased my speed while gaining height. It was during this time that I realized one thing: I broke the game.