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.[1]


Influences and origins[edit]

When The Sims was released in 2000, it was referred to as "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 acknowledged the influence of Little Computer People,[3] a Commodore 64 game from 1985. The games are similar, although The Sims is described as having a richer gameplay experience.[2] Secondly, Will Wright also acknowledged the influence of dollhouses on The Sims,[4] 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.[5][6] Story of Seasons, a series that began in 1996 and is often compared to Animal Crossing,[7] has also been described as a social simulation game. 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 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.

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 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 Archived 2009-03-22 at the Wayback Machine, GameSpot
  9. ^ a b Tenshitachi no Gogo at MobyGames
  10. ^ a b Tenshi-Tachi no Gogo, GameSpot
  11. ^ AtariAge at CGE2010, Atari Age
  12. ^ "Life Simulation Games Like The Sims". Games Finder. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  13. ^ Butts, Steve. "Review: Singles - Flirt up your life". Archived from the original on June 9, 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
  14. ^ "New Shenmue 2 information". SPOnG.
  15. ^ "The page you were looking for might have moved - Bordersdown (NTSC-uk)".