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Video Game / Jalopy

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Jalopy is a video game in which the player drives their Uncle Lütfi throughout eastern Europe in a Laika 601 Deluxe. Set just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the plot is relatively simple: The player character and their uncle Lütfi embark on a trip from Berlin to Turkey, armed with nothing but the clothes on their back and their trusty cobbled-together Laika sedan. Along the way, the player must do what they can to keep the journey moving, such as keeping the Laika's various components in good condition (or replacing them with better parts) getting fuel and oil for the car, avoiding fines from the border guards, and making money so they can pay for the various expenses of the trip.

Despite the complexity of the gameplay, overall the game is very simple and minimalist compared to other games such as My Summer Car. The story pretty much consists of travelling from Point A to Point B, occasionally diverting to scrapyards or gas stations to buy parts and/or resources needed to maintain your car. Your only companion is Uncle Lütfi, who will regale you with conversations on history and muse about the state of post-Cold War central Europe, and occasionally chide you for turning the radio up too loud, rolling down your window while it is raining, and driving too recklessly.

Provides Examples Of:

  • The Alleged Car: The Laika 601 Deluxe has a top speed of 100 km/hr, goes from 0 to 60 in just 22.6 seconds, and drives at the economical rate of 9 km/liter. With the standard parts, you'd be lucky to make it to Hungary before something breaks, let alone Turkey.
    • The Laika is actually a recreation of the Trabant, a famous East German Alleged Car.
    • When Uncle Lütfi first brings it in it's missing various parts under the hood, all four tyres and its passenger-side door. Good thing you live in a garage with a junkyard.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Neither the passport nor the player's wallet can be lost; if dropped, they immediately teleport to the Laika's glovebox. This is to prevent the player from rendering the game Unintentionally Unwinnable if they manage to lose track of their passport.
  • Artistic License – History: The Mária Valéria Bridge, connecting Slovakia and Hungary, was destroyed in 1944 and not repaired until 2001. In the game, it is fixed at some prior point in order to allow the player to cross the Danube.
    • Lampshaded somewhat by several of Uncle Lütfi's lines while driving through Czechoslovakia; he recalls that the bridge was destroyed during the war and wonders if it's been rebuilt.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Dobrovnik is portrayed as a border town with Bulgaria. In real life, Dubrovnik is about 220 miles (350 km) from Bulgaria. Probably, the developers wanted a level where you drive along the coast, and going to Dubrovnik would accomplish that, even if it required playing loose with geography.
  • Balkanize Me: Referenced by several of Uncle Lütfi's lines while driving through Yugoslavia.
  • Checkpoint Charlie: As the journey requires passing through several national borders in post-Soviet eastern Europe, this is a given. Thankfully, all they do is ask for your passport and inspect the Laika's trunk for illegal goods (different countries ban different goods), slapping the player with a fine if any are found.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Think you're clever trying to score some free oil or tyres by stealing them from the petrol station without paying? You'll find that a chain-link gate has closed off your way out, until you either put the item back or pay for it. If you do manage to sneak an item out of the shop without paying and then drive off with said stolen goods (achieved by using your Laika to obstruct the gate's swing arc), then the next time you load your game, all the items in your trunk will be replaced with trash.
    • Usual procedure upon starting a new game is to turn left onto the Autobahn as you leave the garage, per Uncle's instructions. If you instead turn right, you'll run into a roadblock. However, in the distance you can spot the silhouettes of the Reichstag building and the Brandenburg Gate, confirming that you are indeed just outside of Berlin.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Not that you're missing out on much. True to the minimalist nature of the game, the other characters barely have any features at all save for hair, body shape, and very vague facial features.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Uncle Lütfi's jacket is an obnoxious tweed that has this effect.