Elemental Challenge Day Sixteen: Simulation



Dear NPCs, please simulate reading the following:

Today’s genre is the broad spectrum of Simulation games out there. Sim games come in many different varieties and the gist of them all is basically to pretend doing something very specific, meaning generally that the process of the game is more important than its conclusion. Sim games are less about trying to beat them than they are about accumulating game time. A genre of diversity, there are simulators for dating, managing theme parks, building cities, working a 9 to 5, driving vehicles, performing surgery, being a cat, and of course the perennial favorite: farming. Simulation games have made a comeback recently, too. How many times have you seen a random noun with the word “simulator” after it. Yes, that’s why we have games like Goat Simulator and Cockroach Simulator. Can’t wait for Diarrhea Simulator.

Below, we simulate telling your our favorites…


FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is literally the best! You make your own park, fill it with dinosaurs, get tourists, destroy the tourists exits, destroy the gates, and let the dinosaurs eat the tourists…. That’s how you play, right?



blackmage  The Black Humor Mage

A game very near and dear to my family and I is Zoo Tycoon: The Complete Collection. I wanted to pick Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis because I love that game too, but it made itself needlessly difficult. Plus, the complete collection edition of Zoo Tycoon came with the Dinosaur Digs expansion, so hey, there’s dinosaurs plus the zoo animals and the marine life from the other expansion too. Operation Genesis couldn’t do that.



mystic_knight1 The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)

Roller Coaster Tycoon. Simulation is a genre that I have always loved, it is just so relaxing. You don’t have to be all fast paced and stressed out you just sit back, veg out, and build up whatever little empire it is that you are working on. Roller Coaster Tycoon is the series that I have both spent the most time in (that may be contested by the Sims though) and had the most fun playing. I am really eager to pick up Planet Coaster on Steam when I am able, it looks amazing and is by the RCT original developers. (Honorable Mentions – The Sims, Prison Architect, Sim City, Surgeon Simulator)



spoonybardmageright.jpg  The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)

When I was young and we had our first Intel 486 desktop, my Uncle gave us Sim City 2000 for DOS. To this day, this is still my favorite simulation game. I love being the mayor and overtaxing my citizens so I can build many monuments to myself.



FF3-NES-Geomancer1 The Five More Minutes Mage (Gamegato)

While it is really, really slow, Harvest Moon: Animal Parade takes the cake as my favorite simulation game. There’s something fun about it. Planting crops, raising animals, and building friendships all take center stage in this game, and all these Animal Parade activities are fun.



finalfourteenthmage  The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)

Harvest Moon on the SNES remains my favourite game in the series. I really enjoy the simplicity of the game. You have your cows, your chickens and your crops and when you’ve tended to those, you fish. If you’re lucky you could even join Eve in the hotspring. Eve was always the girl that I went after. I went for her solely because she lived in the bar and I could just see her after I did all of the farm work for the day. The bad ending for the game is intense and definitely changed the way that I looked at chickens. Scary!



HandheldMage1  The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)

The most fun I’ve had in any simulation is being a theme park magnate on Theme Park (Mega Drive). Raising prices, ripping off my own staff, making dangerous, expensive rides…not terribly realistic but I enjoyed it. I guess it’s a very simple game that can become complex and fun the more time you put into it. When you know by heart the amount of salt to put on the chips to maximise drink profits, you know you’re hooked!



Kx18GL1dNEW  The Dapper Zaffre Mage (Save File 02)

“WELCOME TO BOATMURDERED! Hope you like miasma!”

I had first heard about Dwarf Fortress through a friend, who would put our poor computer lab’s desktops through their paces by running this monster of a game on them. The old-school ASCII graphics fascinated me and further research pulled up a tidy amount of Let’s Plays to read over. Dwarf Fortress is an odd game where a Game Over is imminent, and yet, the best of !!Fun!! is had when everything is breaking down, on fire, or both. The learning curve is absolutely insane and a well-run fort can still be brought down through a variety of misfortune, from a poorly placed lever to the ever (in)famous psychotic breakdowns. Dwarf Fortress features an amount of detail in just about everything it does that really speaks to the running joke that we’ll see the first full version of it soon after the heat death of the universe. The game keeps track of just about anything, from every injury and damaged body part of a unit, to populations and individuals you won’t even see during a single playthrough of any given fortress. It genuinely is a ‘world’.

Like other sims, DF is a lot more fun when you rope somebody else into playing, and succession games were great to watch unfold, where players handed the fort over to others in turn. I daresay it’s a lot like sharing a world on Terraria, only, the players rarely have the same plans for the fort as the other and the conflicting tasks and priorities eventually lead to a satisfyingly hilarious downfall. The question isn’t so much ‘is this place going to go down in a blaze of glory’, it’s when and how much of a metaphor you want ‘blaze’ to be.



nostalgiamage  The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (Nostalgia Trigger)

I don’t remember much from the fifth grade, except seeing my crush kiss a jock at a school dance, and playing Rollercoaster Tycoon to forget about it. Let me tell you – despite what I tell strangers in hospital waiting rooms, I’m no doctor. But Rollercoaster Tycoon was and still is some of the best therapy for heartbreak that money can buy! The ability to create your perfect theme park was so mentally stimulating to 11-year-old me that it’s no wonder the franchise exploded afterwards. Of course, as a young kid, the toughest part to understand was the concept of the bank loan. Typically my park would go bankrupt within the first year. Still, I played many simulation games during my youth and Rollercoaster Tycoon stands out as one with the fondest memories, by far.



  The Rage Mage

Sometimes video games are all about wish fulfillment. Like you wouldn’t actually commit grand theft auto or pick up a hooker or spend days in front of a mirror trying to figure out your “character creator” settings. That’s why there are simulation games, so you can digitally do all the mundane work you don’t have the credentials to do in real life. Sim games are wish fulfillment. Take Surgeon Simulator for example. It’s therapeutic. That and it gives all those YouTube talking heads something to yell about when they run low on pointless stories about their trips to grocery stores… “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free…”

Surgeon Simulator skull buzzsaw


rmage2.jpg  The Well-Red Mage

Ladies and gentlemen, the king of all simulation games: SimCity 2000. As far as simulators go, this is the gold standard for construction based ones. Its mechanics are identifiable and robust, scaling quickly as your cities grow, with each new milestone leading to new challenges. This is one of the few games in my life that I’ve sunk multiple hundreds of hours into, as I used to play it nearly every day after school when a wee mage. I learned so much from this game. I learned more about traffic, city zoning, and taxes from this game than I ever did in school. I learned that if your residents hate you, you can always summon an alien invasion to eradicate them. Going through my old games, I came across the CD-ROM for it, so rest assured there’s going to be a revisit review coming shortly! How could I not be enticed all over again by one of the greatest sims ever made? This is the kind of game I gravitate towards: one that screams “potentials”.

Other sims I’ve enjoyed over the years include: AbzûSimAntSimEarthSimCity 4Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral TownHarvest Moon 64Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, Stardew ValleyRestaurant City, Rune Factory: Frontier, Surgeon Simulator, and E.V.O.: Search for Eden (an evolution sim!).



Please don’t just simulate coming back tomorrow. Let’s be adults and drop that running gag. See you after another eventide for our 17th Elemental Challenge sol-cycle! What genre will it be? I don’t know… that’ll be something you’ll have to see in person, first.

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35 thoughts on “Elemental Challenge Day Sixteen: Simulation

  1. I still own Theme Park on Megadrive & the Extra Salt on French Fries is a meme now!!! Yay Nostalgia!!! (Dusty!!! *Brushes but it’s too late, the dust has become the cartridge* Noooooo! :C )
    But I did play Sim City once & after laying out a shitload of sewer pipes (pun intended ;D ) I always immediately went bankrupt… Never bothered again….
    Also jus don’t consider Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon/Seasons? worth my time, cos struggling to deal with people/bills/dating is what I game to avoid in’t 1st place.. *Sighs Deeply* I miss Gaming…. *Sobs*
    That’s all Lord C has to say about that…………

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m gonna go with the Animal Crossing series for this one… it’s considered a sim, right? 😉 It’s very relaxing to hang out amongst your animal friends and fish, collect furniture, and basically do whatever you want! I also love The Sims… yes, I am guilty of trapping my Sim in the pool by removing the ladder and watching them drown… oops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh boy is that a sim! I’ve heard of so many folks that got sucked into it, and I’ve always wanted to play it but I just can’t at this stage in life, I’d never come out of that digital world again and then I’d just be the Lawnmower Man.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I spent many, many hours on the GameCube version… now I feel bad for my villagers because I don’t get to visit them nearly as often as I used to. It doesn’t help that I have every single version of the game so I have way too many towns I have to keep up with! 😉 It’s so relaxing to play though!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Hopeful Handheld Mage, this is just very spooky!
    I was literally thinking to myself Theme Park, & the next
    thought was “Extra Salt on the French Fries!!!” Theme
    Park, showing us the ropes for Corporate greed 101.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I nominate Theme Hospital. I was considering suggesting Sims 2, but I felt more dedicated to completing Theme Hospital. I liked the way Theme Hospital had a goal system (which involved building a successful hospital and then being offered a new location to build another hospital). I enjoyed creating rooms in the hospital and filling them with the different objects (it was always an ambition to build a staff room large enough to accommodate a pool table). I liked the way each level allowed the development and creation of new facilities (such as suddenly being able to build a Scanner Room in the sixth level). I also enjoyed actually running the hospital as well: hiring staff, ensuring patients are happy, prioritising research and making sure enough handymen are available to keep the hospital running. I also enjoyed the humour, especially seeing a weird-looking patient and realising that there was going to be a new treatment facility to cure their disease in a comical way. I also enjoyed the game Theme Park, Inc, which seems like a game yuppies buy for their children.
    I have played Sim City 3000, but I did not really enjoy it. How did you play Sim City 2000? Was it like me, building small zoning areas and waiting for development to receive more tax money to improve the city? I can identify with triggering an alien invasion to punish the citizens, even though I would go on one of the hugely successful pre-made city and jealously destroy it with tornados and earthquakes instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Story time with Geddy!

    I’ll never forget how I actually came to own a copy of Rollercoaster Tycoon: I was in fifth grade and we got one of those Scholastic Book Club order forms in school. Anyone else remember those things? Anyway, there was only one game in the whole thing, RCT, and for whatever reason my mom asked me if was interested. Not wanting to blow the opportunity for a free game, I agreed immediately, not thinking much of it. Ended up being one of the best outlets for creativity I could have ever gotten! Got me interested in engineering and.. park planning, I suppose. One of those two things stuck with me throughout school and into my career!

    This concludes Story Time with Geddy. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was actually a really tough category for me. Apparently, I really enjoy sim games more than I realized. Growing up I logged countless hours managing the best amusement parks in Rollercoaster Tycoon (occasionally starting new games with the purpose of making the worst park with the most dangerous rides), and had a blast making my antelopes happy by adding lions to their home in Zoo Tycoon… These games almost won here. Almost. They were barely beat out (mostly because they already got love from fellow awesome gammers who know which games rock) by Harvest Moon Story of Seasons. I’ve loved many games in this series starting with Harvest Moon 3 for the Game Boy Color, but the graphics, story, gameplay, and customizability of this particular title has made it really shine.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So Story of Seasons is closer to the original translation of the name. It is farm story in Japanese. The release of Harvest Moon: Story of Seasons marks the renaming for the series, which will now be known as Story of Seasons, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. For my pick, I’m going waaaaaaaaaay back, and saying Space Shuttle: A journey into space for the Atari 2600. This game may not be the deepest sim in history, but it gets a million cool points for its creativity. The point of the game, is to pilot a shuttle from NASA into space, orbit the Earth, experiment, and ultimately come back home in one piece. How did a game that used a one button joystick accomplish this? By turning the entire console into a, well, console. If you have a complete copy, you’ll have an overlay for the Atari 2600 that turns the difficulty switches, black & white switch, select switch, and reset switch into controls for the space shuttle you pilot. It’s pretty awesome. It saw ports to other more competent computer platforms. But the fact Activision could find a way to make a shuttle sim work on the VCS deserves praise.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not my favorite genre but I’ve liked games like Sim City on the SNES and later on the PC. I think I’m going to go with Anno 2070 here though. I love the world overrun by water mixed with Sim City style setups.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Sublime Reviews and commented:

    It’s day number 16 of the Elemental Challenge & it is one of my favorite genres, Simulation. I have always been fond of these types of games and my favorite has got to be Roller Coaster Tycoon. Stop by and talk sim games with us at The We’ll-Red Mage!

    Liked by 1 person

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