Advantages & Disadvantages of Simulation Games

by Kristyn Hammond ; Updated September 28, 2017

Simulation games allow players to experience situations and realities, which are often foreign or removed from the player’s normal lives. While simulations games can inspire creative thought about the scenarios they represent, they fail to capture the nuance of the situation, often leaving players confused about the reality of the situations they work to recreate.

Simplify Difficult Concepts

Simulation games replicate elements of a more difficult situation, allowing players to study and enjoy the replicated elements. While players would require years of training and education to experience the real situations physically, the simplified version is something they can experience and enjoy. For instance, a flight simulation game allows players to enjoy the experience of flying a plane, seeing the scenery of the world passing by, working controls similar to those in a real aircraft and facing some of the mock challenges built into the system, without spending years earning a pilot’s license.

Impossible Experience

Some experiences are too fantastic or impossible for a person to enjoy physically, such as flying a spaceship in space, recreating a historic war or saving the world from an attacking alien species. Simulation games allow players to enjoy these elements in an exciting and enjoyable game, even though these situations are impossible to recreate physically. These experience can excite player’s imagination, as they face challenges and situations impossible to face outside of these simulation games.

Emotional and Intuitive Experience

The simulation game environment can provide action, adventure and substantive information on a wide array of environments, but it fails to provide an accurate emotional or intuitive account of these situations. As an example, recreating a historical war scenario can allow players to visualize important battles from history, but those players can never understand the emotional impact of the soldiers on the field or gain an intuitive understanding of the reality of the battle. Players are left inevitably behind a cognitive barrier reminding them that if they fail, they can play the scenario again, when the reality of the historic war was much more severe.

Oversimplification

In order to provide an enjoyable and exciting simulation game, some elements are removed from the scenarios to avoid boredom or overcomplication. By removing these elements, players avoid facing some of the harsh realities of the scenarios, thereby gaining a less realistic account of the situation. For instance, in the historic war simulation, players avoid the feeling of spending days marching to the war, rationing supplies and developing friendships with other soldiers. The result is an inauthentic experience, leaving players with a less realistic vision of the actual scenario.

About the Author

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.

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