Like the real-life situation (opens in new tab) it's memeing, the Suez Canal Bulldozer game (opens in new tab) from Eric Wilder is both hilarious and depressing. It's hilarious because it's a plucky little bulldozer trying to dislodge a 247,000-ton container ship, and it's depressing for exactly the same reason. The stuck ship is disrupting global trade on a staggering scale, and it's unclear when it'll be unstuck.
After wasting a few minutes playing the Suez Canal Bulldozer game, it's pretty clear that there's no winning here. Whereas in real life, we can reasonably assume there will come a time when the 1,300-foot Ever Given will move along with its life and the Suez Canal will flow free again, there seems to be no way to give the massive Freightliner so much as a nudge in Wilder's free-to-play browser game.
The controls are simple enough: you move the bulldozer with the directional keys and you can try to move the ship by pressing J, but you're told "it's super stuck" (a reference to Pokemon games). I tried bringing the bulldozer back to the edge of the screen to gain momentum and slamming into the ship, but no luck. Pressing J along with every possible combination of the directional keys? Nothing. Does the conspicuously placed duck in the water have anything to do with a solution? Probably not, but feel free to try.
The Suez Canal calls for aid! https://t.co/Fz1L8Nc0I7 pic.twitter.com/O4BppK4e7kMarch 25, 2021
🙃 pic.twitter.com/oQ5kVOSftcMarch 24, 2021
The Suez Canal Bulldozer game is the natural culmination of a new meme trend (cheers, Buzzfeed (opens in new tab)) comparing the stuck boat and bulldozer to a plethora of other crappy situations with ineffectual solutions, from the two hobbits at the forefront of the fight against Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, to the daily walks intended to ease the cumulative mental burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Kotaku (opens in new tab) points out, despite its indisputable meme-worthiness, the situation at the Suez Canal couldn't be more pressing. CNBC (opens in new tab) reports that the Ever Given is, at the time of writing, disrupting more than $9 billion worth of goods and $400 million per hour. Of course, that doesn't make Wilder's Suez Canal Bulldozer game any less amusing, but it does add some sobering context.
Here are the best feel-good games to play when you're feeling like a useless bulldozer.