What is a Sim Game?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Players can create amusement parks in Roller Coaster Tycoon®.
Players can create amusement parks in Roller Coaster Tycoon®.

Sim or simulation games are video games that replicate an aspect of reality for the player to control. These games are frequently heavily detailed and depend on strategy and skill to succeed. Whether building a theme park or a metropolis, or just trying to find a job and build a house, sim games have proved one of the most popular genres of video games since their invention.

Sims are video games in which players control reality.
Sims are video games in which players control reality.

One early sim game was released in 1985 for most of the major personal computer systems. Little Computer People® was an extremely basic game, featuring a man in a house with whom players could interact. While the game had no clear purpose and was more of a novelty than a game, it was a clear precursor of the mega-genre to come. Little Computer People® is remembered fondly by early game lovers, and is considered a major influence on the creation of The Sims®.

Some sim games are designed to be used by the entire family.
Some sim games are designed to be used by the entire family.

Sim games are generally divided into three categories: building sims, vehicle sims and living sims. In a building or managing sim game, the goal is to create a society or advanced location. This can be extremely varied, from creating an expansive medical center in Theme Hospital®, to creating a fabulous amusement wonderland in the Roller Coaster Tycoon® series. Probably the first building sim game was Utopia®, released in 1982 for the Intellivision® game system. This game combined both construction elements with early strategy elements, and many reference it as a landmark game.

A vehicle sim game will put you in the driver’s seat or cockpit of a variety of different machines and transports. This genre includes motorcycle and car racing games as well as flight simulators and some war games that involve realistic simulation. You will often see complicated versions of vehicle sims at arcades, some with steering wheels, tilting motorcycles or even airplane cockpits to enhance the feeling of reality.

Life sims are considered some of the most successful games of all times. Because they appeal on a gender-neutral basis, they are credited with bringing a large number of women to video gaming. When The Sims® was released in 2002, it quickly became the best-selling video game of all time. Its continued expansion packs have only increased its popularity, and inspired improvements in the entire sim game genre. Other life sims include pet-rearing and farm games, and may also include games with both life and building elements, such as Zoo Tycoon®.

Sim games are a means of distraction and escapism, and they continue to prove incredibly popular across all gaming ranges. They allow an easy, controllable environment that is still mentally stimulating, which can provide a nice break from a sometimes chaotic and tedious daily world. They can be played by gamers of most ages, and often feature variable difficulty settings to help younger or new players get the swing of the game. Sim games can be a great introduction to video gaming, and you may be surprised with the new fans you can create among your friends.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

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Discussion Comments

Melonlity

These blasted things are some of the most addictive games on the planet, too. How many hours of sleep have been lost to the likes of "Sim City," "The Sims" and other games that are easy to pick up and hard to put back down again?

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    • Players can create amusement parks in Roller Coaster Tycoon®.
      Players can create amusement parks in Roller Coaster Tycoon®.
    • Sims are video games in which players control reality.
      By: djma
      Sims are video games in which players control reality.
    • Some sim games are designed to be used by the entire family.
      By: Kurhan
      Some sim games are designed to be used by the entire family.