Today I want to explore the psychosis of the simulation game, gamer, I want to find out what attracts the consumer to want to create cities, guide their own virtual character through life, or even run their own farm or locomotive business.

I once had an in depth conversation with a student from a university who was carrying out a survey to find out why people like myself for instance are so drawn towards games like The Sims series. The questions asked were of a personal nature, and once satisfied with my answers, I was left to question myself and had to think what kind of person am I. I mean is my life that sad and lonely that I have to create a visual and enhanced version of myself? Do I hate my physical appearance and personality so much that even though the character created might look like me, they are well built, rather than podgy? My character has great traits that I wish I possessed such as discipline, can sit and write for ten hours straight, publish books, paint masterpieces, and reach the pinnacle of a career in a matter of weeks! This of course is insane as no one is perfect, and not many people I know can earn silly amounts of money for eight hours of work.

Games like The Sims allow you to create the perfect life, even without cheating with only a few hours of game play you could own your dream car, be self employed, have a wife or husband and have children. You can master any talent you desire, from painting to writing, from mechanical abilities to being able to play any Steve Vai track on a guitar. If only life was so simple eh? What’s really great about The Sims I personally think is that it doesn’t discriminate against same sex partnerships, allows marriage, adoption of children if you’re in a gay relationship, and your sex, race, physical appearance doesn’t affect your career goals (Unless you’re in the fitness career of course!).

Apparently according to the in game manual, your Sims love interacting and social activities, however you might find you might not after you become addicted to it! Thinking back, I probably played for 12 hours straight in some circumstances. Taking my single Sim through his career, love life, making babies and then ensuring they grow up and begin careers and lives of their own.  But I digress; The Sims series isn’t the only simulation game that gamers such as myself have spent hours, days and weeks progressing to achieve something great. City building simulations see the player managing a metropolis, handling tax systems, water and power, public transport and public relations. Some of the more diehard fans of games like SimCity and Cities XL treat these simulators like a work of art. They spend unprecedented amounts of time perfected every street corner, placement of residential, commercial and industrial zones, then post them to the main games website for all to see, or even download.

Simulation games go back a couple of decades, beginning with simple flight and ship simulation games, to hotel and amusement park management. Locomotive, business tycoon, farming, city building, general time management, hospital and a range of others make this genre of gaming a large portion of the industry. Simulation games reach out to pretty much every one as the mere concept can appeal to a large range of consumers.