Off-road driving simulation Spintires has had a rough ride. It was one of Eurogamer's favourite games of 2014, the year it took Steam by storm. But then development stalled and Spintires fell off the radar when British publisher Oovee and Russian programmer Pavel Zagrebelnyy had a bust up.
I can't drive, and I will probably never learn, but still: I hear very good things about the shift from third to fourth gear. I can imagine it, actually. I can imagine the moment. For the car, it's all like, "Oh, we're doing this are we? I guess you really want to get to that Mexican restaurant." But for the driver, it's more of an anticipatory thrill, a twitch of everyday nihilism. Ask an ordinary person if they're willing to rob a bank with you, and the moment they're most likely to say yes is the moment when they move from third to fourth. The future seems panoramic. The brain disengages. This is the body's territory. You reach forward for the gear stick or whatever it's called, you push - or you pull or whatever you do - and there's a sort of sinewy catch. A catch! Something fast trades with something faster: you're hooked and then you're off. You were off before, of course, but now you're off. Really off. Unstoppably off. Did-I-just-hit-that-badger? off.
Spintires' D-537 truck has such a sad face. It's flat and it's somehow clenched, with those two oblong window panes providing sombre stand-ins for huge, brimming eyes. If it was possible for a truck to look bullied, the D-537 has it nailed; I've been messing around on Google for the last 10 minutes trying to find the Soviet beast that inspired it, just so that I can track one down to a garage somewhere unlikely and give it a hug. I doubt that will do any good, though: the D-537 seems world-weary and downtrodden. The thing that might not happen already has.