Simulation games are more popular than ever, but what is it that makes them so appealing?
Why We Love Simulation Games
Once upon a time, simulation games were something of a niche curiosity in the gaming world. Too geeky for the mainstream, too slow for younger players, and with unconvincing graphics, nonetheless sim games as far back as the 1970s had something of a cult following. The announcement of Flight Simulator 2020, the latest version of the Microsoft game originally released in 1977, was met with almost ecstatic delight on social media.
World-building games had their start back in the 1980s, and their mass appeal has grown in conjunction with improvements in graphics quality and gameplay. A recent game that is scoring rave reviews from its early access players is SimCasino, a game that allows you to build and manage your own casino empire. This game enables players to create something as realistic as any no wagering casino Canada like those found here. This hyper-realism is at the heart of why sim games have picked up so many new fans, but it is not the only factor at play.
New Platforms, New Audiences
In a sense, the popular rise and diversification of simulation games was inevitable. Despite not being completely mainstream, sim games had a healthy following from the start. As more people from every demographic engage with computers on a daily basis, it stands to reason that these games would pick up more fans as time goes on.
Social media clearly played a big role in bringing sim games to the attention of the masses. Anyone who was on Facebook just over ten years ago will remember the FarmVille craze that swept the platform. The game was more of a hit than anyone had anticipated, and it seemed that people just could not get enough of managing their farm. It remained the most popular game on the site for more than two years, peaking at almost 84 million players busy raising livestock and planting crops.
More recently it is YouTube influencers who have discovered an enthusiasm for sim games. This has had a big impact on bringing younger players to games that were typically played by those aged 45 and over just a decade ago.
Blurring of Boundaries
The popular video games of today no longer fit into neat and discrete categories like they once did. Many games bring in aspects and elements of others, and this blurring of boundaries has helped draw popular attention to sim games. The concept of a sandbox game, where players can roam and interact with the game environment – and, crucially, modify it – has proved wildly popular and shows that this is something that is enjoyed by many.
Some of the most popular titles of today walk the line between a sandbox and a simulation game, and there is sometimes dispute over the way in which they should be classified. Both Minecraft and Fortnite, two of the biggest games of the decade, have strong elements of simulation incorporated into the gameplay.
The Appeal of Storytelling
Modern sim games create total immersion in another world, allowing players to create their own stories within that universe. The characters in The Sims are more or less a blank slate with a very simple backstory, and it is up to you and your imagination to decide where their life should go. In last year’s Lumberjack’s Dynasty, you can engage in forestry, build your business and even raise a family. Escapism, the opportunity for creativity and a large dose of wish fulfillment – the appeal of these games is not hard to understand. You may never get to run your own renovation company, but with a game like House Flipper, for a while you can pretend that you do.