Essay on Simulation: The Sims and Sim City

Submitted By Butts59
Words: 1147
Pages: 5

Brief History

Simulation is a genre of gaming that has developed and increased in popularity following the success of Sim City (1989) developed by designer Will Wright. The game revolves around the realistic planning, construction, development and maintenance of a city. This artificial representation of a real life scenario or situation in this case a city is a consistent theme in simulation games. In Sim City for example, placing housing around factories and utilities buildings will lead to poorly developing, low value neighbourhoods. Further to this concept of simulating real world situations, Sim City incorporated scenarios. Scenarios in Sim City included ‘Detroit’ where the player would take over an accurately economically destitute and crime ridden city with the goal of developing it. These scenarios begin to reveal the educational and training benefits of simulation games.

*Photo of Sim City with description*

Simulation has grown to encompass arguably the widest collection of sub genres including vehicle, sports, medical, dating, war, tactical, gambling and life simulation. Each of these genres is well supported by a variety of software which has proven very popular on the videos games market. Marquee titles such as Need for Speed, FIFA, Microsoft Flight Simulator, IL 2 Sturmovik and The Sims are amongst the mostly popular titles in gaming history. However, simulation is not just limited to an entertainment purpose. In the role of education raining there is a large market for ‘high tech’ super simulators which replicate real world vehicles and scenarios down to the final detail. These simulations are used extensively in the automotive, sports, space and airline industries to not only train drivers, players, pilots but also to develop systems and test possible future scenarios.

Key Issues

-Education

Whilst many academics debate the learning or educational benefits of gaming in comparison to more traditional methods, it is undeniable that simulation games have the capacity to teach players a greater understanding on how real world scenarios operate. For example, a study of adolescents who played Sim City 2000 (1994) revealed that players of the game had a greater appreciation and expectation of the role of government officials and town planners. [1]

*Photo of Sim City 2000*

Following the processes in simulation games to achieve a result or outcome leads to players acquiring new skills and a great knowledge base. A person playing a train simulator regularly is likely to develop at the very least a basic understanding of the key components of a train, how a train works and some of the constraints and difficulties associated with operating a train. Furthermore many students are resistant to traditional learning techniques. A student playing a simulation game can acquire new skills and knowledge without even being aware that they are learning.

The opposing argument to this is that simulations do not always teach good habits and skills. Driving games in particular have come under criticism from the media and wider public for influencing the road behaviour of young drivers. Detractors claim that by pushing the boundaries of a cars performance and handling in a video game, young drivers will be encourage to attempt the same feats in real life. The opposing argument to this is that by pushing a car beyond its limits in a game then young drivers will be aware of the potential dangers and be less likely to do it in a real world situation.

The potential benefits of video games in the field of education and training are a contentious modern issue as gaming gradually gains more mainstream credibility. Even within an issue that generates so much debate there is no argument about the already well established benefits of utilising sophisticated simulation software to train individuals on many important skills.

Flight simulators are the most famous example of simulation software being used for…