A simulation video game describes a diverse super-category of video games, generally designed to closely simulate aspects of a real or fictional reality.
A simulation game attempts to copy various activities from real life in the form of a game for various purposes such as training, analysis, or prediction. Usually there are no strictly defined goals in the game, with players instead allowed to freely control a character. Well-known examples are war games, business games, and role play simulation.
From three basic types of strategic, planning, and learning exercises: games, simulations, and case studies, a number of hybrids may be considered, including simulation games that are used as case studies.
Comparisons of the merits of simulation games versus other teaching techniques have been carried out by many researchers and a number of comprehensive reviews have been published.
Simulation games began with Will Wright opening the Sim series in 1989 with SimCity, a city-building game. Certain games such as SimLife and SimEarth were subsequently created and are capable of teaching players the basics of genetics and global ecosystems.
In a study where adolescents played SimCity 2000, the study found that those participants who played the game had a greater appreciation and expectation of their government officials after playing.
Construction and management simulation
Construction and management simulation (CMS) is a type of simulation game in which players build, expand or manage fictional communities or projects with limited resources. Strategy games sometimes incorporate CMS aspects into their game economy, as players must manage resources while expanding their project. But pure CMS games differ from strategy games in that “the player’s goal is not to defeat an enemy, but to build something within the context of an ongoing process.” Games in this category are sometimes also called “management games”.
Life simulation games (or artificial life games) is a subgenre of simulation video games in which the player lives or controls one or more artificial lifeforms. A life simulation game can revolve around “individuals and relationships, or it could be a simulation of an ecosystem”.
A sports game is a video game that simulates the playing of traditional sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including team sports, athletics and extreme sports. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport (such as the Madden NFL series), whilst others emphasize strategy and organization (such as Championship Manager). Some, such as Arch Rivals, satirize the sport for comic effect. This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of game series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes.
Dating sims focuses on dating as the principal theme.
In medical simulation games, players take the role of a surgeon. This includes the Trauma Center and LifeSigns series.
In photography simulation games, players take photographs of animals or people. This includes games such as Pokémon Snap and Afrika.
Certain wargames with higher degrees of realism than other wargames set in a fantasy or science fiction environment. These attempt to simulate real warfare at either a tactical or strategic level.
Certain tactical shooters with higher degrees of realism than other shooters. Sometimes called “soldier sims”, these games try to simulate the feeling of actually being in combat.
Some simulators, like Geocommander by Intelligence Gaming are designed for the US Military to help new officers learn how to handle situations in a game setting before actually having to take command in the field.
“Sim” games marketed by companies such as Maxis. These games have simulated many kinds of experiences.
Social simulation game
Vehicle simulation game Flight simulators, including combat flight simulators and space flight simulator games
Racing video games, including sim racing
Vehicular combat games
Video games which are designed to simulate mechanical or other real-world games. These could include simulations of pinball games and casino games such as slot machines, pachinko, Roulette, Blackjack and Poker (including video poker).
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