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Simulation video games aim to create play around closely simulated real-world activities. This could be a battlefield, landscape, motor racing, farming, flying or just a kitchen. The novelty is that you are not only playing a game but interacting with complex systems modelling the real-world in some way. This opens the door for creative and inventive approaches to succeeding in the game. It also provides the player with an open-world in which to spend time simply experiencing the simulation. Almost any game can offer a simulation experience as this can combine with most genres to skew gameplay in a more realistic and open direction. This can mean that players enjoy a particular game not because of the shooting or racing but because it's a chance to spend time in a simulated world or system they enjoy.From an educational and experiential perspective, a simulation game offers an entirely new way to learn and understand the world. Rather than a cold or external understanding of how things work, this offers an embodied experience of a system as the player moves and interacts with the simulation from within.
Release Date: 01/01/1997, updated in 2017
Out Now: PS3, PS4 and PSP
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and 3D Third-Person
Gran Turismo is a driving simulator that focuses on a photo-realistic driving experience. Players race real-world cars where bodywork and interiors are perfectly modelled. Whether hatchbacks or supercars, this game lets you step into the world of the...
Release Date: 11/12/2009, updated in 2021
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Web, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Angry Birds is a series of puzzle games where you catapult cartoon birds to destroy the pigs who have stolen their eggs. The latest game, Angry Birds Reloaded, is a remake with new levels, graphics, locations, birds, and story elements. The series'...
Release Date: 24/01/2008, updated in 2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch and Wii U
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead
PixelJunk Monsters is a strategy game where you build defensive towers to defeat a linear march of enemies before they reach your base and kill your creatures.
Release Date: 14/12/2006, updated in 2012
Out Now: PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4 and PSP
Components: 3D Third-Person
Motorstorm is a series of games started on the PlayStation 3 with innovative tracks that got muddier as you raced. This, along with a wide variety of vehicles and routes through each of the courses makes for an entertaining and light-hearted racing...
Release Date: 01/01/1998, updated in 2020
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, DS, PC and PSP
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night and Weather
Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero) is a series of games where you take charge of an airport. You deal with landing planes, directing them to runways and gates while ensuring things run on time and without accidents. Each session is a unique set of...
Release Date: 14/02/1991, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PSP and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Lemmings is a series of puzzle games where you guide small (suicidal) creatures to the end of the levels. Unusually, you don't control when or how a character jumps and navigates the areas, but instead, you assign them actions that change the level to...
Release Date: 17/07/1997, updated in 2021
Out Now: PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP and iPhone, iPad
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Everybody's Golf is a series of golf games that create a detailed, gentle electronic version of the game. Although there are cartoon characters the focus is on realism and positive encouragement as you make your way around the various courses. The...