Daily Archives: November 22, 2013

The List: One Simulation Game

No, I haven’t completely forgotten about this feature!  Sorry that it’s been so long!

This is not the beefiest genre in my collection.  I like Sim games.  But usually I get hooked on them for a few months, I’m hopelessly consumed by them and nothing else, then for whatever reason, I quit playing them for ages until I get the urge to start over.  So I guess you could say I’m not much for the endgame in Sim games, but like the initial experience of creating something.

So here’s the list for the one Sim game I’m taking with me:

One of the most amazing games in the list above is Orbiter.  There is SO much in that game that I completely don’t understand.  But one thing that is pretty cool is that not only can you fly spacecraft around, but you can traverse the entire solar system which is set to scale.  For instance, I’ve taken off from earth and flown to Jupiter.  But that trip took about an hour at 10,000x Simulation speed.  And parking yourself into orbits takes at least a rudimentary knowledge of physics, so it’s super geeky.

Sim City 2000 is still incredibly fun.  It’s hard to believe it’s about to be 20 years old next year.  You gotta love re-naming all your buildings.  Taxing the ever loving hell out of your citizens.  And the gratuitous use of llamas in the news paper are all very satisfying.  The music is iconic… if you ever played Sim City 2000, you will remember those tunes until the day you die.  It’s not without it’s flaws though.  I can’t even have an airport in my city because of the weekly plane crashes which cause fires and destroy neighborhoods.  It has difficulty being completely compatible on modern operating systems so some of the sound effects and animations are a bit off.

Sim City 4 doesn’t have the same nostalgia factor, but if takes the joy of “playing god” to the next level.  That game is so granular, it’s amazing.  You can fine tune your cities finances, utilities, services, etc.  It’s a micro manager’s dream come true.  You can enjoy the building and laying out your city like always, but it’s the tweaking that makes magic for me in this game.

I put Gran Turismo 5 on this list because I do feel that it’s a pretty darn good driving simulator.  If you are used to racing games where the brake button is just because they had an extra button left over on the control mapping, then Gran Turismo games are a bitter dish.  But if you can appreciate taking a machine and finding out what it’s limits are, then this game really starts to open up before your eyes.  It’s a challenge of driver skill to see how much you can get out of your car.  And what I love is that you aren’t always racing super cars, you can drive anything from a PT Cruiser, to a Dodge Viper, to an all out race car.  All the while you are shackled by the realities of momentum, gravity and friction.

The Sims 3 is another game from Maxis, the makers of Sim City.  I actually remember this game being somewhat controversial when it came out the first time around.  There was some questions about the ethics of taking these human characters and subjecting them to the cruelties of things like… building a house without a bathroom in it…   But let’s face it, things like that are the best part of this game.  I only owned up to the Sims 3.  And while it’s often assumed that the demographic for this game skews female, I still love it.  I love that I can build my dream house.  I love that I can roleplay good or evil.  And I love that I can get all my pets to get jobs to support me financially.

I guess probably the oddest inclusion in this list is Flight Simulator 98.  It was one of the first “3-D” games I really remember playing.  And this was on our old 200MHZ PC back in the day.  Yes, it chugged.  But I took a lot of pride in taking off and even landing (sometimes).  I’m actually a bit saddened that the airfield in Chicago which was always the default airport for the game Meigs Field has been razed and turned into a park.  Even though I’ve never actually been there in real life.  Another amazing feature I remember was being able to actually build your own aircraft.  Plugging in values for the wings size and position.  Then I’d take off an see how absolutely horrible it would fly!  Ahh, it was the golden age of PC games for me, and a lot of virtual adventuring was had.

And the decision is….

Sims 3 Screen

The Sims 3

I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I love The Sims.  Epicly huge houses, and putting your sims in ludicrous situations.  I get the most gratification from playing “legit”.  No money cheats.  I play honest… and by that I mean getting six cats and dogs and getting all of them jobs so my Sim can sit around watching TV and maxing out his happiness meter!  I could play this game through generations and generations of Sims!