The first Euro Truck Simulator was released on 29 August 2008 for Microsoft Windows and OS X and the first European-developed truck simulation of the games. Players choose their starting country from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (versions 1.2 and 1.3 only). Initially, players only have access to their starting country, except if it contains less than three cities, in which this case one or more adjacent countries will be accessible as well. For example, if a player starts the game in Italy or Switzerland, they get connection to the other for free. From there, players choose their first truck with a budget of €100,000.
After this, players can start taking jobs from various fictitious companies and delivering cargo to various cities in their starting country to earn money. This money can then be spent on a new truck, upgrading the current truck, expanding the business to other countries, and obtaining a license to drive flammables and chemicals.
The game features European truck models with working instruments such as flashing indicators, temperature and low fuel warning lights, wipers, and gauges. The trucks included are fictionalized variants of the Mercedes-Benz Actros (known as Majestic), the Renault Magnum (known as Runner), the Scania R-series (known as Swift), and the Volvo FH16 (known as Valiant).