While present technology allows games to be as realistic as possible now more than ever, simulation games pretty much have been in existence since the days of the Commodore 64. In addition, a good number of old school arcade games were intended to be simulation games as well. Simulations more than 20 years ago were mostly emphasized through racing games by having an arcade cabinet to make you feel like you’re driving a real race car. Many of Sega’s arcade classics, most notably Hang-On, was one of the first mainstream simulators where you feel like you’re riding on a real motorcycle based on its cabinet and how you can steer it based on leaning it left or right. With G-LOC, there were some cabinets where they could rotate in a circle and you could literally be doing barrel rolls like a real military aviator. With modern graphics, peripherals, and VR technology now becoming next to the real thing, more simulation games have been coming out of the woodworks. So what are some of the best simulation games to check out? Read our list to find out!
10. Densha De Go!!
- Platform: Arcade
- Publisher: Taito
- Developer: Taito
- Release Dates: November 7, 2017
The Tokyo Metropolitan Area probably has the most convenient means of transportation in the world thanks to its intricate train system. Depending on the station and train line, you’re going to get a train every five to ten minutes. While Densha De Go has been around for 20 years, modern graphics and technology now allows players to know what it feels like to operate these trains more realistic than ever. If you ever find yourself at an arcade in Japan, Densha De Go has a huge cabin you can enter which perfectly simulates an actual train cockpit. It includes a pedal, breaks, a lever, meters, gears, an actual chair a driver uses and everything you can think of.
Most likely, you can learn how to operate a train on some of Tokyo’s busiest train lines such as the Yamanote line. Depending on what time it simulates, it takes into account the capacity of the train and it can affect acceleration. Just like the actual Yamanote line, you have to go from one station to another within 90 seconds, give proper timing to allow passengers to get off and on, check the doors are closed, and everything a driver must do. Plus, the landmarks of each station are visibly captured within this unique simulator as you observe the monitors. So try to be on the lookout for Shibuya!
9. Two Point Hospital
- Platform: PC
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Two Point Studios
- Release Dates: August 29, 2018
Ever wanted to know how difficult running a hospital is? Then Two Point Hospital will offer answers to that question. The basics are to get patients, diagnose them, treat them, and get money. Sounds easy, right? That’s where things go crazy! As you progress and raise your hospital’s reputation, you get the chance to expand in other locations. Not only that, you can also improve your facilities with better quality equipment and medical supplies.
As you get money, it’s surprising what you need to buy to provide comfort and care to patients and their visitors and then wonder why medical costs are ridiculously expensive. You need AC, an MRI machine and other medical equipment, good quality food, chairs, beds, and vending machines. Lastly, you need to hire doctors, nurses, receptionists, and custodians and keep their morale in check so patients can have a pleasant stay and get better.
8. Democracy 3
- Platform: PC
- Publisher: Positech Games
- Developer: Positech Games
- Release Dates: October 14, 2013
Think you can handle Donald Trump’s job? All you have to do is tweet, talk smack about CNN, and try to get that wall up, right? WRONG! In this text based simulation, you can be the head-of-state of numerous nations at your disposal (or get other real life nations through mods) and win the support of various special interest groups and get voters. Just like any other president or prime minister, you enforce policy and the funding through simple sliders. But like any real life government, you can’t please everyone. Want to piss off the hippies? Increase military spending! Want to piss off neo-cons? Raise taxes!
Not only do you got to enact policy and keep the budget balanced, you also have to pay off the national debt, handle outbreaks of a virus, and keep certain campaign promises by the next election! Is one of your promises to legalize weed? Then do it! Are you against the death penalty despite overwhelming support for it? Then you’re going to have a lot on your plate.
7. Silent Scope
- Platform: Arcade, PS2, Dreamcast
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Konami
- Release Dates: 1999
Ever wanted to be a true American bad ass like legendary SEAL sniper Chris Kyle? Then take your best shot through Konami’s arcade hit, Silent Scope! While this is kind of a rails shooter with some stealth elements, the arcade cabinet has a proper sniper rifle with a scope you can use to magnify in order to see your target. If you look at the regular screen, then your targets will be simulated as if they’re a few football fields away. Targets are constantly moving and in some instances, you’ll be shooting from a helicopter (while trying to fire at a fighter jet) so proper self-discipline is a must.
Some tips we can give are to make sure to breathe for every shot you take like a real life sniper. Due to the environments taking place within urban conditions, you also must be careful not to fire at civilians! But if you catch a sexy nurse in your scope, you can get your life back up! While snipers tend to have scouters as back up in the field, in this instance, you’re on your own so happy hunting.
6. Football Manager 2018
- Platform: PC
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Sports Interactive
- Release Dates: November 10, 2017
For all of you Americans reading, we’re not talking about the NFL but soccer. So if you’re a fan of soccer (or football for non-Americans/Australians) and ever wanted to manage a team, then Football Manager will challenge your business savvy. It’s fantasy soccer but you are managing your team physically and emotionally. Is your player not enough getting time on the field? Then he’s likely to make a complaint! Considering the inter/cross national nature of soccer, if you get a player from a different country, it’ll take awhile for him to get adjusted.
You also have to deal with cliques, alpha males, and other kinds of egos. But hopefully, if you do a big speech like those coaches in the movies before a big game where it’s all or nothing, it can make a potential impact on your season. If your team goes down the drain, then say bye bye to your job.
5. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- Platform: VR
- Publisher: Steel Crate Games
- Developer: Steel Crate Games
- Release Dates: Oct 8, 2015
Ever thought of joining the bomb squad of either your nation’s armed forces, your local law enforcement agency, or a private security firm? Then you can put yourself to the test through Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes! As the person responsible for disarming the bomb while wearing your VR headset, you’re going to need help! As you look at the bomb, you have to describe the bomb to someone playing with you with a guidebook of the bombs you need to disarm.
Some things you have to describe can be something like a serial number, the color of the wires, or any symbols printed upon the explosive. Upon discovery within the guide book, your backup will explain to you how to disarm the bomb within the time limit. Think you can handle it? If so, you can probably put Jeremy Renner’s character in The Hurt Locker to shame, or if we’re ever in such a hostage situation, hopefully you can be the one we can depend on based on you and your partner’s success through this unique simulator.
4. Flight Simulator X
- Platform: PC
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release Dates: Oct 13, 2006
Ever since 1982, Microsoft has offered one of the most popular simulation games, Flight Simulator with X as its latest release. As the title suggests, you have a chance to learn what it’s like to be a pilot. You know how plane rides can take time before boarding, taking off and landing? Well, if you try out Flight Simulator X, you learn that pilots, the flight crew and other staff members have NUMEROUS things to confirm to ensure a safe flight. With present technology, it’s now easier than ever to accurately capture that experience.
You learn how to use real life airplanes with control panels and gauges based on the airplanes you choose to practice with. As the pilot, you also have to interact with the control tower and ground crew like in real life. You learn to fly from one airport to another and through other expansions, you can use weather data to help you learn how to deal with severe conditions. In addition, you can also get other planes such as an F-18 Hornet as a downloadable addition. While you can play with a standard keyboard, thankfully, you can get the proper airplane controller for a much more accurate experience.
3. VR Regatta
- Platform: VR
- Publisher: MarineVerse
- Developer: Greg Dziemidowicz
- Release Dates: May 31, 2016
Ever wanted to go sailing on a sunny day in the Caribbean? Then VR Regatta will take you there! As you put on the VR headset, you’ll feel like you’re actually on a boat off the coast. You learn how to operate the boat and how to steer it through its useful tutorials. You can also enjoy a great view of the Caribbean during the middle of the day or at sunset. While it is mostly sailing and racing, be sure to be on the lookout for floating whales! Be careful of hitting other boats and other rocks because if you do, you’re going down!
If you prefer to play this game while sitting down, we strongly recommend you play on a rotating bar stool to help accommodate the distinct controls to this game. Also, try to have a fan blow into you so you can get a feel of the wind. So for those of you who don’t live within short driving distance to a nice sandy beach, VR Regatta can fill that void.
2. Aerofly FS2
- Platform: PC
- Publisher: IPACS
- Developer: IPACS
- Release Dates: Oct 17, 2012
As the title suggests, Aerofly FS2 is also a flight simulator like FSX, but many hardcore fans of the genre dispute which is the superior game. Thanks to its superior graphics in terms of environment and cockpit representation, you can get a more realistic feel when trying to fly in Aerofly, most especially in VR. You’ll enjoy flying over the Grand Canyon and the landing on a runway is praised as being more realistic than FSX due to its more accurate portrayal of runways. While it isn’t as technical as FSX, many veterans of the genre agree that Aerofly is more user friendly to those who are new to flight simulators and its superior VR features makes it more fun for them as well.
1. Assetto Corsa
- Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
- Publisher: Kunos Simulazioni
- Developer: Kunos Simulazioni
- Release Dates: Dec 19, 2014
In this cult hit, you can get one of the most realistic racing sims, Assetto Corsa. Like many of its counterparts, it offers real life vehicles, customization, amazing graphics and real life tracks. In addition, it has accurate steering and accelerating physics, and weather conditions that can affect your performance. Can’t afford a Ferrari? Then you can drive a virtual one for 1/over 9000 the price an actual one when you get a proper gaming PC/console, a copy of Assetto Corsa, a VR headset, and a steering wheel controller, and you can drive one in the digital world.
Thanks to mod support, players can create their own cars (since most of the default cars as are dominantly European) and tracks. So if you’re a fan of Initial D, then you can download or customize vehicles and tracks from that very same anime! Like many racing sims, if you want to get the most out of Assetto Corsa, most certainly play with a steering wheel (with stick or paddle shift). Though VR is now optional, please refrain from playing for long periods of time in order to avoid motion sickness.
Last, we would like to make some very honorable mentions to Ferrari Challenges, LovePlus, Job Simulator, Gran Turismo, and The Sims. Throughout the years, games and technology have been evolving hand-in-hand for new experiences. While some games can take you to a world of fantasy, there are others that let you become a professional athlete or sports executive, an elite soldier, an ace pilot, a surgeon, or a train operator. As stated throughout this list, we can experience the difficulties and pressures of these occupations, and their rewards upon success. So what are some of your favorite games on consoles, computers, or arcade that allow you to assume the identity of someone in a real life occupation? Give us your recommendations in the comments!