Social simulation game

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Simulation video games

Social simulation games are a subgenre of life simulation game that explore social interactions between multiple artificial lives. The most famous example from this genre is The Sims series of games.[1]


Influences and origins[edit]

When The Sims was released in 2000, it had been called "almost the only game of its kind".[2] But there are several important precursors to The Sims and the social simulation genre. Firstly, the game's creator Will Wright acknowledges the influence of Little Computer People,[3] a Commodore 64 game from 1985. The games are similar, although The Sims is described as a richer gameplay experience.[2] Secondly, Will Wright acknowledged the influence of dollhouses on The Sims,[4] a comparison that has since been repeated.[2] This has informed the gameplay of this emerging genre.

Animal Crossing was released in 2001 for the Nintendo 64 in Japan. While released towards the end of the life cycle of the Nintendo 64, it developed a following that led to it being ported to the Nintendo Gamecube and released throughout the world. As the game's popularity has surged, this series has also been described as social simulation games.[5][6] Harvest Moon, a series that began in 1996 and is often compared to Animal Crossing,[7] has also been described as social simulation games. Its social simulation elements are derived from dating sims,[8] a subgenre that dates back to the early 1980s, with games such as Tenshitachi no gogo[9] in 1985[10] and Girl's Garden in 1984.[11]

Since the success of these games in the early 2000s, game reviewers have begun to refer to similar games as belonging to a social simulation game genre.

Recent history[edit]

Several other social simulation games have emerged to capitalize on the success of The Sims. [12] This includes several sequels and expansion packs, as well as games like Singles: Flirt Up Your Life with heavy similarities.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wright, Will. "Presentation: Sculpting Possibility Space". Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  2. ^ a b c Rollings, Andrew; Ernest Adams (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. New Riders Publishing. pp. 477–487. ISBN 1-59273-001-9. 
  3. ^ Wright, Will. "A chat about the "The Sims" and "SimCity"". CNN. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  4. ^ Keighley, Geoff. "Gamespot - Simply Divine: The Story of Maxis Software". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  5. ^ Felix, Chef. "Animal Crossing Wild World Review". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Anti-Cheating Proposed Guidelines". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  7. ^ Astro Ranch: iPhone Gets Its Harvest Moon,
  8. ^ Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Review, GameSpot
  9. ^ Tenshitachi no Gogo at MobyGames
  10. ^ Tenshi-Tachi no Gogo, GameSpot
  11. ^ AtariAge at CGE2010, Atari Age
  12. ^ Finder, Games. "Life Simulation Games Like The Sims". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  13. ^ Butts, Steve. "Review: Singles - Flirt up your life". Retrieved 2008-03-20.