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Video Game / My Summer Car

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In the summer of 1995, a 19 year old kid finds himself alone in the Finnish countryside with a lot of free time on his hands. Dirty jobs, bizarre Finnish swearing, drunk driving, spontaneous urination and car building ensues. The main attraction is building the eponymous car, the Satsuma, from square one, but it also involves a healthy dose of not dying. The car building part is perhaps a bit too accurate to real life, what with the game just giving you a bare car frame, a garage with a couple hundred car parts on the shelves, and a bunch of tools for putting it all together. Bolt by bolt. Each requiring a different size spanner to fasten. The game will never tell you anything, so you either have to be a Mr. Fixit or a Grease Monkey by trade to assemble the car without an online guide. All the while the survival part... Is equally realistic. You'll often find yourself having to drive down several kilometers of dangerous Finnish dirt roads just to buy much needed sausages and beer, or else it's game over and all progress on your car is lost. While there is no ultimate goal yet, you can do various jobs to make money for better car parts that you order via snail mail.


In short, My Summer Car is more or less an accurate depiction of a typical teenage Finnish summer back in the day.

Note: While there's no story yet, this is one of those games that are best played blind, so some listed tropes might spoil the surprise.

Has a Wiki.

My Summer Car Provides Examples Of:

  • Ace Custom: You can build your car out of base parts, which may or may not include a custom paintjob and aftermarket mods, both cosmetic and performance-oriented.
  • The Alcoholic: About half of the NPC's are this. The biggest offenders being Pena (the drunk driver in the little green car) and Jokke (the drunkard you drive home from the pub and sell kilju to). According to the player character's grandma, alcoholism runs in the family; his grandfather, uncle, and the aforementioned Pena (his cousin) have all succumbed to heavy drinking. Your father on the other hand, doesn't drink.
  • The Alleged Car: The stock Satsuma. In particular the radiator is a pile of garbage that overheats just going to town and the tires you can find for free are a massive safety hazard. It'll start to get away from its status as this as soon as you replace those things in particular, with the Racing Radiator not overheating for no reason and the Gommer-Gobra tires actually having grip, while not being over-specialized like the other two sets of tires (the price difference between Standard and Gommer-Gobra tires, both of which can pass inspection, is not big enough to justify ever getting the Standard tires since the Gommer-Gobra tires are strictly better).
    • The Ruscko, the old station wagon you can win in the card game is very worn down and slow. It has no radio, seatbelts, or power steering. Its acceleration is slow, its brakes are even slower. The engine stalls often and it guzzles petrol. If you can manage to get it above 60kph, it becomes very unstable and prone to spinning out. Somewhat justifiable because it's a literal barn find and appears to have not been maintained in years.
    • The Gifu, the massive vacuum truck that you use to do sewage jobs, is the big truck version of this. Despite appearing in better condition than some of the other cars, the thing is a bear to handle on the backroads where you will most often be driving it, and good luck if you get stuck at the bottom of a hill. Being modeled after an actual big rig's operations, starting and driving it is very complicated and the truck is extremely finicky about its operation. There will be times where it will stall out and simply refuse to start.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you find driving stick too daunting, you can enable autoclutch in settings.
    • If you're not a fan of Final Death, you can disable it.
    • Mosquito repellent and sauna can be used to get rid of the annoying insect sounds.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: There's a shiny muscle car parked in front of the repair shop. It rips asphalt, but doesn't handle too well on long, narrow and awfully crooked dirt roads, such as the one leading to your house.
  • Ax-Crazy: Jokke, a local drunkard, reveals to the player character that he won the lottery and hid his prize money in a briefcase. Should the player steal the briefcase, Jokke will come to his house and try to kill him with an ax.
    • According to the player character's grandma, the ventti (blackjack) dealer might have killed his father by setting his house on fire after the latter beat the former in a game of cards.
  • Backstory: The intro sequence shows the birth of the player character. There's also a lengthy note on the fridge door explaining some of the more recent events and player character's family. The player's grandmother sometimes tells the player about the lore.
  • Badass Driver: It's surprisingly easy to feel this way considering the circumstances.
  • Big Badass Rig: The turbocharged vacuum truck.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The game is fully dubbed in Finnish, with only cursory English subtitles. The phone calls tend to go on for much longer than the subs would have you believe.
    • Also, all signs are in Finnish, some can be quite punny.
    • The "Hayosiko" van in the game is based on a late 1970s Toyota Hiace. In a Finnish joke, "Hajosiko Toyotasi" is the name of a Japanese car mechanic or just "car mechanic" in Japanese, the joke being the name translates back into Finnish as "did your Toyota break down." Ironically, the Hayosiko never breaks down.
  • Bladder of Steel: Hitting escape merely brings up a menu, but doesn't pause the simulation. You have to save and quit to main menu if you have to go AFK to prevent your character's needs meters rising.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The subtitles tend to be extremely literal when it comes to translations, which is particularly notable with the swears your character can utter - while completely valid F-Strikes in Finnish, when translated literally into English they tend to sound somewhat nonsensical. Another example is the "macaron box" that you can buy, which is actually just what macaroni casserole is literally called in Finnish.
  • Book-Ends: If you hang out with Suski for a while, there's a chance where you'll recieve a phone call from her claiming that she's pregnant, demanding the Player Character to take responsibility as a husband. As the result, the game ends with the same sequence from the intro except the player is shown rushing Suski to the hospital in the Satsuma while the credits roll. However, you can still continue playing the game after that.
  • Boring, but Practical: The tractor can't go over 40kph, but it has a working forklift attachment and can produce some serious torque when pulling vehicles out of ditches.
    • Your uncle's van; It's slow, it handles horribly, and you can't customize it. But it's virtually indestructible and a very reliable mode of transportation until you get your car built and fixed.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In one of the radio programs, the host says that if any listeners are playing video games right now, they should stop and go outside.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: Both the van and Satsuma inevitably meet this fate.
  • Commonplace Rare: Booze is hard to come by, particularly since the free bottle at the shed near your house was removed. It can only be purchased at steep prices one night out of the week, and other than that usually requires some sort of harm done or crime committed to get ahold of, and the only way to get a wristwatch so that you can check the current ingame time is to find a guy who has one in the dance pavilion, knock him out and steal it from him.
  • Copy Protection: With the rollout of the October 2018 computer update introducing the MikroPekka, a purchasable in-game home computer, a mild anti-piracy measure was integrated into the computer. Players running My Summer Car without Steam will download a virus into the MikroPekka alongside any game they acquire through the in-game bulletin board system. The virus will then format the computer's drive upon restart, bricking the computer for good and locking players out of the computer's features.
  • Critical Existence Failure: There are several meters monitoring your condition, and if any of them is left unchecked (except Dirtiness and Fatigue, the former of which has minimal adverse effects and the latter of which will cause you to pass out), you will die. Up to that point, though, you won't notice a thing.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with some of your meters already in the red can mean a very slow and painful death.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Left mouse button to grab, F to use... The default control scheme is quite eccentric to say the least.
  • Death Course: The average grocery run.
  • Diegetic Interface: While the bodily function meters are a part of the HUD, when driving a vehicle your only source of information is the dashboard.
  • Double Meaning: The store's slogan seen on shopping bags, "Se ainoa!" literally means "The one and only!", which is fairly accurate considering the store is the Only Shop in Town.
    • Also a Shout-Out, "Se ainoa oikea" was a Finnish advertising slogan of the Esso Gas & Service stations the time the game is taking place.
  • Driven to Suicide: Should Ax-Crazy Jokke fail to kill the player after his lottery money is stolen, he will give up, leave a dejectedly written note at his old home, and hang himself from a bridge.
  • Driving Game: Pretty much the trope page's description of Real Life driving.
  • Driving Stick: The only automatic is the muscle car.
  • Early Game Hell: As the game starts, you start with three vehicles available to you. A moped, which is effectively worthless for hauling things since it only has a relatively worthless rack on the rear, a forklift that is very slow, and a boat that is the most efficient way of getting to town in the game, but obviously only works over water. Coupled with the fact that the store only restocks every Thursday (thus limiting your ability to bottle and sell Kilju), and it'll be slow going until your uncle finally appears to loan you his van so that you can get things hauled around at a respectable click.
  • Earn Your Fun: Pretty much everything you might decide to do will take you several hours, if not tens of hours.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Starting a game with permadeath off will give you the "I am coward" achievement.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Especially whatever you're driving. Or whatever is being driven at you.
  • Family Business: Kesselin Lietehuolto and Kesselin Urakointi are owned by player's uncle and some other relatives.
  • Fauxrrari: Almost every in-game vehicle is based on a real life counterpart.
    • The Satsuma is a Datsun 100A, also called a Cherry E10 in some regions.
    • Hayosiko is Toyota and is the maker of your uncle's van. The van is based on a 2nd gen HiAce diesel. You can also buy Hayosiko branded wheels.
    • The Ferndale is a combination of an early '70s Dodge Coronet and a Plymouth Road Runner. It's unclear whether "Ferndale" is the name of the car itself or the make of the car.
    • The Gifu is a Sisu M-Series lorry. Besides your septic truck, there's also a Gifu-based box truck on the highway.
    • The Ruscko wagon is an early '60s Škoda Octavia Combi.
    • The Kekmet is a Valmet 502, a Finnish farm tractor.
    • The Jonnez ES moped is a Suzuki PV, a cheap moped that was popular in Finland in the '80s and '90s.
    • The NPC vehicles are based on; Fiats, Saabs, Toyotas, Škodas, and Opels.
  • Full Motion Video: All two of the amateur programming on the TV, which are Production Throwbacks to old videos uploaded to the developer's YouTube channel years prior to the development of My Summer Car.
  • Guide Dang It!: In order to build your car, you have to install the various parts in the exact right order, starting with putting the engine together from various bits and pieces whose names may as well be in Martian if you're not terribly knowledgeable about cars. Unless you're a big car enthusiastic, your only options are either to look up directions online or go through a lot of trial and error.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The ventti dealer has hooves of a pig and when he loses, he squeals and runs away on all fours.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted - doing anything at night without a light source is impossible. If you find yourself in your house past nightfall without the lights on, pray you manage to randomly find a lightswitch or the bed before you die of exhaustion. Weirdly in this case it is unrealistic for Finland in summertime, meaning that actual Hollywood darkness would've been more true to life, but at the cost of difficulty.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: You can down multiple bottles of beer to quench your thirst... And then you can keep going. Your urine meter will increase instantly.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In one of the radio programs, the host complains about his son's habit of playing computer games. He later enthusiastically reveals that he also used to play a lot.
  • Machine Empathy: You'll need to listen to the engine to diagnose some problems, such as a tight fan belt or bad valve timing.
  • The Many Deaths of You: There are too many ways to die to list. None of them are particularly graceful, but each has a humorous associated headline in the local newspaper.
  • Mini-Game: Players may play a myriad of Retraux early-1990s computer games on a purchasable in-game computer through 3 1/2 floppy discs or downloads from the in-universe bulletin board system.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: You have no inventory, and you can only carry one item at a time. This includes spanners, so you need your toolbox with you at all times while working on the car.
  • My Car Hates Me: When it gets really mad, pistons fly. And that's just the Satsuma. Every single drivable vehicle in the game loathes you to some degree: The van bounces around like no one's business and is prone to spin out when not loaded down with cargo, the Gifu guzzles diesel and sometimes just seems to quit working on a whim, the Moped will fall over onto its side and stall out if you brake and turn too hard, and the Ruckso is a barn find that barely runs on its own and is filled with wasps when you first find it. Even the boat, which is far and away the safest vehicle in the game, tends to lean if you have some things loaded onto it, and God help you if you run out of fuel in the middle of the lake and didn't have the foresight to leave a canister of two stroke fuel on it.
  • The '90s: It's explicitly stated the game takes place in 1995. The universe is largely modeled after what rural Finland looked like around that year.
    • That being said, the game follows more of a '70s aesthetic with the rural Finnish town being Two Decades Behind. Most of the cars (including your Satsuma and van) are from the '70s, the interior of your parents house (presumably built in the '70s) is almost 90% woodgrain with comfortably stylish green and orange furnishings, some of the tacky shirts a few NPCs wear are very '70s, even the game's official logo's typeface resembles various bubble-lettering typefaces that were popular in the '60s and '70s. The song "Nasta lautaan" also has some '60s vibes.
  • Nintendo Hard: Every drive on those treacherous roads can be fatal.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted up to eleven. You can suck the locals' septic tanks with your vacuum truck, only for them to call you the next day claiming their well is already full. You can also use any toilet/latrine to save the game.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The game will supposedly have a light plot, but it's not like it really needs one.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The car inspector is a minor version of this in that you need to have your car pass the inspection to race with it and it's not immediately obvious what you need to do to make it pass, although you get a list of missing things afterwards if you don't. He's also often surprised if you DO manage to pass the inspection and says he can't understand how you managed to pull it off and always adds "to be honest, this car is a piece of junk" to the paperwork afterwards.
    • He's more this toward Fleetari, since they're in the middle of a long-standing feud and he refuses to let Fleetari's car pass inspection, which is the main reason why he wants you to empty a septic tank on the inspector's yard.
  • Only I Can Make It Go: The repair shop can help with details like wheel alignment, but only you can put the car together. The starting procedure on Satsuma is also more complex than the other cars' and varies from player to player. Also inverted, as likewise there are things that only Fleetari can take care of which are out of the player's hands, such as installing the roll cage or applying a custom paint job.
  • Only Shop in Town: The shopkeeper runs the store during the day and the bar during the night, and he also handles any mail orders and gas purchases. If you flip him off for any reason, one of his replies points out that "if you don't like to shop here, feel free to find another store...oh wait, you can't". This is even lampshaded with the slogan of the shop, "Se ainoa." ("The only one.")
  • Pixel Hunt: The game asks you to hit some very specific spots when installing the car parts, or simply interacting with the car interior.
  • Power Limiter: Of the revving sort. Satsuma will never go over 200kph - not like that's slow or anything. I mean, it is way past the speedo range.
    • Although it can go way past 200kph if you have the final ratio changed at the repair shop. There is also an achievement for reaching 200kph.
  • Press Start to Game Over: Starting on your car is not very wise before getting the groceries - you won't make much progress before you starve to death.
  • Press X to Die: When the game was initially released on early access in October 2016, throwing punches increases the thirst meter dramatically. Giant Bomb was oblivious to this and quickly died of dehydration.
  • Press X to Not Die: P makes you, well, pee.
  • Properly Paranoid: Never underestimate the ability of AI to drive wherever they damn well please, including straight into your face.
    • Scary corners around ditches aren't to be taken lightly, either.
  • Racing the Train: There is a train that randomly travels down the tracks crossing the dirt roads. It is quite possible to try and dodge the train, with predictable consequences if you don't make it. The train also isn't disabled during the rally.
  • Rated M for Manly: You build a car, drinking beer and swearing constantly, then you drive it really fast for no reason flipping everyone you overtake off, you crash and pee over the wreck. Then you chop some firewood and wash the dirt off with your own sweat in a sauna.
  • Reality Ensues: When you overturn your vehicle in the middle of nowhere and there's no button to reset to track. Or rewind time.
    • Diesel vehicles require you to turn the ignition on and wait for the glow plug light to go out before starting, otherwise they will struggle to start.
    • Yes, you can fall into the septic well and die horribly
    • If the phone rings during a thunderstorm and you answer it, there's a chance that you can get killed by a lightning strike: you can avoid this by waiting for the phone to ring twice before answering it.
  • Recycled In Space: The 2017 April Fools prank
  • Retraux: Just look at the official webpage.
    • The DOS-like command line interface of the MikroPekka's operating system, the bulletin board system and games accessible through the computer, as well as the television's built-in teletext functionality, also qualify.
  • Rice Burner: One possible outcome for the Satsuma.
  • Scenery Porn: Finland is a nice country.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Finishing the rally in 2nd place (with permadeath enabled) grants you the achievement titled "First Loser" with the subtitle "Coming in second is just a first loser."
  • Schmuck Bait: The MikroPekka computer's command line operating system has a usable "format" command prompt that has no use besides irreversibly wiping out the contents of your computer's drive or floppy disk and rendering either completely unusable.
  • Signs of Disrepair: The sign on Teimo's shop (Teimon Kauppa) has the first letter 'A' damaged so it looks like it reads "Teimon Kuppa" or "Teimo's Syphilis".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Satsuma is based on the Datsun 100A and has the licence plate VBX-403, the same as the Datsun 100A in the 1988 Finnish film Pohjanmaa.
    • The brand names and signs also contain several Finnish in-jokes.
    • The "Jonnez ES" moped added in the 17 April 2017 update is a reference to the "mopojonnet" youth subculture in Finland, with "ES" referring to a cheap energy drink they like to drink.
    • The TV shows, some of the songs on the radio, and the default posters in player character's bedroom are developer's other projects or references to them.
    • The player character has what looks to be a bootleg Garfield lamp in his bedroom.
    • The name of the truck, Gifu, refers to a Finnish brand of liquorice candy which is named Sisu like the actual truck the ingame truck is based on, and the reason for the different name being the fact that the blackletter Fraktur typeface used on said candy boxes makes the word "sisu" look like "gifu".
    • The name of the MikroPekka computer is a reference to MikroMikko computers that were made and sold in Finland in The '80s and The '90s. Its operating system, RS-POS, is based on MS-DOS.
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: You can easily waste a lot of in-game hours playing the numerous mini-games on your home computer.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Until the February 2018 update, there were no female NPC's in game and the player character's mother was only seen in the opening cutscene. The aforementioned update added the player character's grandmother who as of 2018 is the only female NPC.
    • This is no longer applicable after a later update that populates a dance hall with additional female characters.
  • Some Dexterity Required: To get into a car and get it moving you have to click and hold the door handle to open it, hop on with space then click and hold the door again to slam it shut, press enter to enter driving mode, disengage the parking brake with mouse, hold X to release the clutch, click and hold the ignition till it purrs, press G once to put it in first gear, let go of X, gently tap W to rev it slightly, then continue shifting as needed, downshift with B, don't forget the clutch. No automatic option.
    • The Satsuma requires you to work the choke, and heavy vehicles have a gear range selector.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Routainen maa, the song that plays every time you die, is far more upbeat than it should be. Subverted in that the lyrics are a bit more depressing (if you can understand them, of course).
  • Survival Sandbox: A huge world to explore and interact with? Check. Having to eat sausages and drink beer to live? Check.
  • The Swarm: If you let your dirtiness meter get too high, you'll face the full might of the Finnish summer.
    • Death by wasp attacks is also very much possible if you stumble into a wasp nest.
  • Technology Porn: The attention to detail in car assembly is breathtaking.
  • There Are No Tents: You can only sleep at home. The vacuum truck has a bed in it, but it's only good as beer storage.
    • The update of 5 February 2017 added the ability to sleep in the vacuum truck's bed, as well as the couch found at the dump. Later updates would also add added the ability to sleep in the Satsuma's back seat, and introduced a new combi with a built-in sleeping compartment.
  • Title Drop: "Radio Chill" repeats the words "My Summer Car" over and over in its lyrics.
  • Toilet Humor: A staple of the game.
    • You have a urine meter as one of your stats that fills up when you drink, you must urinate regularly or you risk dying from a burst bladder. You're also able to pee anywhere, even on people!
      • You can pee in the radiator if you're short on coolant, doing so grants you an achievement.
      • You can also drink your own pee if you're close to dying of thirst. You do this by looking upward while peeing, this also grants you an achievement.
      • Peeing on the hot coals in the sauna will create a cloud of yellow steam, this grants you an achievement but also increases your dirtiness meter.
    • One of the jobs you can do to make money is operate a vacuum truck and empty out people's septic tanks. Fleetari might bribe you to vandalize the inspection station by dumping sewage on it (doing so will get you fined by the police).
    • The only locations you can save your game are toilets and outhouses.
    • Teimo has a random line of dialogue that implies he's incontinent.
      Teimo: "My washing machine broke, and I have only one pair of clean underwear, well... not anymore, shit happens."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Any freeroaming AI driver or pedestrian. Of note are the Techno Viking, Jani and Petteri, who have a tendency to Drive Like Crazy and end up in nasty crashes. Pena is also notable for rarely stopping for anything, even if it results in death by a passing train at a railway crossing.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: You'll die a lot before you figure out what to even do. Your chances of survival rapidly increase with experience, though.
    • It can be hard to know exactly what you need to buy from the store at first. Fan belt, a bottle of motor oil, two bottles of coolant, at least 3 bottles of brake/clutch fluid and as many sausages and bottles of mosquito repellent as possible.
      • Or where the store even is. Take a right turn at every interesction
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can punch a guy unconscious, drink his booze and pee on him. And of course, you have a wide variety of vehicles to choose from for running people over. Or alternatively, empty out someone's septic tank, get paid for it and then just dump all of it in their face. Yet another, more subtle way is making one good batch of moonshine and a huge batch of terrible moonshine, sell a single jug of good moonshine to Jokke and unload the crappy moonshine on him at the same price. Or you can just skip making crap moonshine altogether and just sell him jugs of water after the first jug of moonshine.
    • Plus, it's possible to slaughter the green hatchback and yellow tuner car drivers. Aside from that, you can flip off, punch or even kill Suski much as you do to most of the NPCs. (Seriously, why would you do that?)
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you steal Jokke's briefcase full of money and beat him in the fight, he will hang himself from the bridge and will be permanently dead. Not only do you lose a significant source of income but you also indirectly caused the death of one of the few friends your character has and it's all your fault!
    • Doing most of the above will now have some kinds of consequences: not bothering to properly empty out the septic tank where you should will result in a fine for polluting the enviroment, and selling crap moonshine or just plain water to Jokke after he agrees to pay you the highest possible amount for your moonshine will result in an angry answering machine message and slashed Satsuma tires.
  • Violation of Common Sense: You always want to have a nice, large case of beer on the passenger seat to sip on while you drive. Really helps keeping the thirst meter low on those long trips across the map.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: The game is rather creative in the number of ways you can die, including Darwin Award-worthy behavior:
    • Being stranded in the middle of nowhere with minimal chance of help and supplies, and dying from hunger, thirst, or a heart attack before you reach civilization. Bonus points if you do so in the dead of night with no flashlight.
    • Rupturing your bladder by refusing/forgetting to pee.
    • Being electrocuted while answering an erratically ringing phone during a thunderstorm. Or while working on the Satsuma's electrics with a live battery still connected.
    • Crashing your car at high speeds without wearing a seatbelt.
    • Egging the driver of the car you hitchhiked in to drive faster to the point of crashing violently.
    • Being blown up by smoking while filling gasoline at the pumps.
    • Drowning in the lake while swimming in it extremely drunk.
    • Burning to death by remaining in the house while it's on fire.
    • Lingering along the roadway and facing the full frontal force of a speeding car. Or a speeding train if you're on the train tracks.
    • Falling into a septic tank manhole and drowning in sewage.
    • Dying from allergic reactions to multiple wasp stings by venturing too close to an infested wasp nest.
    • Driving without a windshield only to get stung by a bee in the eye.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The best case scenario.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The municipality of Alivieska, which the game takes place in, doesn't exist. While there is a municipality called Ylivieska and Alavieska in Finland, the setting looks like it could be based on any rural part of Finland in general.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: If you don't eat, you die of hunger. The same goes for drinking, peeing, and managing stress. Sleep deprivation used to be fatal, but this was at some point changed so that you just start blacking out instead.
  • Work Off the Debt: If you order a bunch of expensive parts, you'll have to work extra hard to pay for them. Breaking either or both of the breakable windows at Teimo's store while he's around will also get you a stiff bill added to your next purchase.

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