A list of my favorite sim games, in no particular order.
1. Civilization is an incredible series of sim games created by Sid Meier and his development studio, Firaxis. In this series, you choose to play as one of many real-world civilizations. Civilization II features female and male leaders to choose from, some historical (Jeanne d’Arc, or Joan of Arc) and others mythological (Amaterasu, a Japanese goddess). All civs have their own perks. Your job is to lead them from the Stone Age to the Space Age in a randomly generated world. Will your civ survive?
Civ II received a PS1 port, but I played Civilization Revolution way more. This is a faster-paced Civ made for consoles, but it’s still ridiculously fun and addictive.
2. Harvest Moon is a cult favorite farming sim from Natsume. I like these cute and deep games, but I tend to get overwhelmed and stop playing them for a while…
While HM is probably Natsume’s most famous series, they have branched off into other sim games such as Rune Factory and Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon.
3. Animal Crossing is one of my favorite Nintendo series. It’s a very unique game. In some ways, it’s a very casual experience. There’s no world to save or deadline to beat. You decide what you do at your own pace. I like to pimp out my house and try in vain to finish a complete furniture set to please the Happy Home Academy, who rates tour interior decorating somehow (their sneakiness is an in-joke) and gives you prizes if you score high enough.
There are many cute, charming, and funny villagers to bond with as well. Just like the layout of your village, the villagers are randomly generated when you first move into town. From there, old villagers will move out after a while and new ones will come in. Sadly, there are only a few personality variations for possible villagers, but their appearances and decors vary. For example, there is a cat that looks like Cleopatra, and her whole house has an Egyptian theme.
4. Pandemic/Plague Inc.: Pandemic is the Flash version of a plague sim that first appeared on sites such as Kongregate. Years later, I would discover a free-to-play mobile version of the game, now called Plague Inc.
This game worries me a little with how much I enjoy it. To start, you choose a plague type (bacteria is the default, the rest have to be unlocked on higher difficulties or purchased outright) and a country to infect. Your goal is destroy the world’s population while developing your virus’ attributes, symptoms, and resistances to different climates and eventually cure research with DNA points. Random viral evolutions, world events, and countries catching on to your virus all affect your chances of success.
The game has a bit of a sense of humor, but it can also be very creepy, such as when you hear someone coughing, the flat line of a cardiac monitor, and a little kid singing “Ring around the rosie…”
The game’s presentation may be a bit sparse, but the game shows red dots on the map for each person infected per country. Eventually, the whole world is covered in red…
The mobile version features 100 achievements.
What are your favorite sim games?