Social simulation game
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Social simulation games are a subgenre of life simulation game that explore social interactions between multiple artificial lives. The most famous examples from this genre are The Sims and the Animal Crossing series.
Influences and origins
When The Sims was released in 2000, it was referred to as "almost the only game of its kind". But there are several important precursors to The Sims and the social simulation genre. Firstly, the game's creator Will Wright acknowledged the influence of Little Computer People, a Commodore 64 game from 1985. The games are similar, although The Sims is described as having a richer gameplay experience. Secondly, Will Wright also acknowledged the influence of dollhouses on The Sims, which have generally also informed the gameplay of this 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 a social simulation game. Story of Seasons, a series that began in 1996 and is often compared to Animal Crossing, has also been described as a social simulation game. Its social simulation elements are derived from dating sims, a subgenre that dates back to the early 1980s, with games such as Tenshitachi no gogo in 1985 and Girl's Garden in 1984.
Since the initial success of these games in the early 2000s, video game journalists have begun to refer to a group of similar games as belonging to the social simulation game genre.
Several other social simulation games have emerged to capitalize on the success of The Sims. This includes several sequels and expansion packs, as well as games like Singles: Flirt Up Your Life with heavy similarities.
- Little Computer People (1985)—by David Crane, published by Activision
- Tenshitachi no Gogo (1985)—One of the earliest dating sims, released for the 16-bit NEC PC-9801 computer.
- Alter Ego (1986)—a personality computer game by Activision
- The Money Game series (1988–1989)
- Jones in the Fast Lane (1990)—by Sierra Entertainment is one of the earliest life simulators.
- My Life My Love: Boku no Yume: Watashi no Negai (1991)—a life simulation for the Japanese Famicom system
- Princess Maker series (1991–2007)—by Gainax
- Princess Maker (1991)—by Gainax, a raising sim which the player must raise an adoptive daughter until she reaches adulthood. The final result varies from a ruling queen, to an ordinary housewife, to even a prostitute if the player looks after her poorly.
- Princess Maker 2 (1993)
- Princess Maker: Legend of Another World (1995)
- Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True (1997)
- Princess Maker 4 (2006)—by GeneX
- Princess Maker 5 (2007)
- Tokimeki Memorial series (1994–2014)—6 main games and a large number of spin-offs
- True Love (1995)—a Japanese erotic dating sim and general life simulation game where the player must manage the player's daily activities, such as studying, exercise, and employment.
- Persona series (1996–2016)—6 main games and several spin-offs
- Story of Seasons series (1996–2016)—by Marvelous Entertainment, farming simulator, role-playing game, and dating sim rolled into one.
- Moon: Remix RPG Adventure (1997)—a social RPG released only in Japan, created by the same designer as Lack of Love and GiFTPiA
- Shenmue series (1999–2019)
- The Sims series (2000–2014)
- Animal Crossing series (2001–2020)—a life simulator by Nintendo. It has also been dubbed as a "communication game" by the company as had Cubivore, Doshin the Giant and GiFTPiA.
- Real Lives (2001)—an educational life simulator by Educational Simulations where the player is randomly "born" somewhere in the world and often must deal with third-world difficulties such as disease, malnutrition, and civil war.
- Singles series (2003–2005)
- Democracy (2005)—a government simulation game that was first developed by Positech Games, with a sequel released in December 2007 and a third game in 2013.
- Eccky (2005)—by Media Republic.
- Façade (2005)—An artificial-intelligence-based interactive story created by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern.
- Nights series (2005–2008)
- The Idolmaster series (2005–2015)—an idol raising sim by Namco.
- Kudos (2006)—by Positech Games. There is a 2008 sequel Kudos 2.
- Virtual Villagers series (2006–2010)—by Last Day of Work.
- Tomodachi series (2009–2013)—by Nintendo
- Castaway Paradise (2014)
- Wright, Will. "Presentation: Sculpting Possibility Space". Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- Rollings, Andrew; Ernest Adams (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. New Riders Publishing. pp. 477–487. ISBN 1-59273-001-9.
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- Keighley, Geoff. "Gamespot - Simply Divine: The Story of Maxis Software". Retrieved 2008-03-18.
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- Astro Ranch: iPhone Gets Its Harvest Moon, Wired.com
- Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Review Archived 2009-03-22 at the Wayback Machine, GameSpot
- Tenshitachi no Gogo at MobyGames
- Tenshi-Tachi no Gogo, GameSpot
- AtariAge at CGE2010, Atari Age
- "Life Simulation Games Like The Sims". Games Finder. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- Butts, Steve. "Review: Singles - Flirt up your life". Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- "New Shenmue 2 information". SPOnG.
- "The page you were looking for might have moved - Bordersdown (NTSC-uk)". bordersdown.net.