OPINION

Driving a forklift in VR is much more fun than it should be

Driving a forklift in VR is much more fun than it should be

Best Forklift Operator is the perfect “prequel” to Euro Truck Simulator: In VR I push pallets onto trucks. Sounds like fun, eh? Well, it is!

I just made myself comfortable in the virtual forklift and immediately had this “VR moment” of presence: I’m not playing a computer game, I’m actually sitting in a forklift and transporting Euro pallets from A to B. I’m not playing a computer game, this is virtual reality. I’m hooked.

Why is it so much fun to drive virtual pallets around?

Until now, I’ve only known forklifts from documentaries and TV shows. A truck with an open loading area is ready, and wooden crates strapped to pallets, cable drums and water dispensers are to be loaded onto the shelves. So let’s get those pallets moving.

There’s not much to do in “Best Forklift Operator” – but after a short time I’m in a meditative flow. I drive along quietly, tidy up the warehouse and nobody bothers me. Actually, it’s the perfect complement to “Euro Truck Simulator”, in which I drive loaded trucks through the countryside (also possible in VR).

The motivation is there despite the relatively simple “work”: Because I quickly master the few interactions of the switch (forward, backward, fork up, fork down, tilt fork back and forth), I want to get better and better – and that means above all: faster!

Best Forklift Operator is even better with a steering wheel and a shifter

The immersion is great: I look around, estimate the height of the fork with the big boxes, and look into the side mirrors while reversing. The steering wheel with gas pedal, which I had previously retrieved from the basement and dusted off, really pays off here: the feeling of actually sitting in a forklift is twice as good.

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Having the shifter physically in your hand makes sense in VR. Otherwise, I just wave the VR controller around in the air when I want to touch virtual levers. The downside, of course, is that I can’t see my steering wheel in VR – but when I drive in real life, I shift blindly, so that’s okay.

Unfortunately, so far the game only offers two scenarios, in each of which I can play six missions. There is also a practice course. A third scenario has been announced.

Still, driving the virtual forklift is a lot of fun: I played through all the missions in a single afternoon. I can’t remember the last time that happened to me in a game. Now I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the new level. After all, someone has to keep order in the warehouse.

Best Forklift Operator is currently in Early Access on Steam.