Skip to main content

Market Overview

Rewriting The Script: Simulation Games Take Inspiration From Art, Social Issues

Rewriting The Script: Simulation Games Take Inspiration From Art, Social Issues

The in-trend in simulation gaming is not violence, gun shooting or racing — all predominant themes in the past. Slowly and steadily, the industry is gravitating toward concepts that highlight the social and economic plight of the present. Quite surprisingly, classic literature as an art form has also found takers among game developers. The trend is apparently reflecting the pulse of the audience, who are warming to the changed focus of game developers.

What Simulation Games Mean

Simulation games, a diverse super category of video games, is a recreation of real-world situation, designed to explore key elements of that situation. A simulation offers the opportunity to "live the world" of the phenomenon that we are studying.

Simulation games are developed with the objective of training, analysis and prediction, and the well-known simulation games, include war games, business games and role-play simulation. This category of video games has no strictly defined goals, with players given the leeway to freely control a character.

A BBC report, quoting research by the American Psychological Association, said there is a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior and aggressive cognitions, and decreases in pro-social behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.

Even as these criticisms are leveled against video games, the latest trend in simulation games gives us a reason to cheer. Games are now not merely violence simulators but are taking an artistic and social inclination.

The different perspectives simulation games now offer can be better understood from some of the simulation games currently released or in the works.

Blast From The Past: Taking A Leaf Out Of Classic Literature

Commemorating the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau, the University of South Carolina's Game Innovation Lab has planned to release a game based on his celebrated work, the Walden. The game fittingly named as "Walden, a Game," is described as a first-person simulation of the life of American philosopher Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The game begins in the summer of 1845 when Thoreau moved to the pond and built his cabin there.

Some of the other games, which based their premise on ancient classics included:

  • Visceral Game's "Dante's Inferno" released in 2010, based on Dante's Alighieri epic "Divine Comedy."
  • Dreamers Guild's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" released in 1995, adapted from Harlan Ellison's work going by the same title.

Back To One's Roots

"Back in the Woods," developed by Infinite Fall, comprising Alec Holowka (Aquaria), Scott Benson (Late Night Work Club) and Bethany Hockenberry, has a college dropout Mae Borowski returning home to her fictitious former mining town of Possum Springs.

As she hopes to connect to her old life and friends, she realizes things have changed and strange things are happening as the light fades.

The game runs on PC/Mac/Linux and PS4; it was released on Feb. 21.

Games on such themes help users explore the transformation the formerly working-class towns go through, as they are saddled with debts and lag grossly behind the overall economy.

Revenge With A Twist

"Mafia III," developed by Hangar 13 and published by 2K has a mixed-race man called Lincoln Clay coming home from the Vietnam war. He is being drawn into violence, as circumstances pitch him against an Italian mafia, with the action happening in a fictitious city based on New Orleans.

The game reflected many raging issues of the present such as discrimination against black men. With police shooting of black men and hate crimes on the rise in the United States, such games are likely to resonate well with gamers.

Related Link: The Business Of Gaming

Image Credit: By Jesse Lee Tucker - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Related Articles (XLK)

View Comments and Join the Discussion!

Posted-In: American Psychological Association Augmented Reality BBCEducation Psychology Tech Media General Best of Benzinga

Don't Miss Any Updates!
News Directly in Your Inbox
Subscribe to:
Benzinga Premarket Activity
Get pre-market outlook, mid-day update and after-market roundup emails in your inbox.
Market in 5 Minutes
Everything you need to know about the market - quick & easy.
Fintech Focus
A daily collection of all things fintech, interesting developments and market updates.
Everything you need to know about the latest SPAC news.
Thank You

Thank you for subscribing! If you have any questions feel free to call us at 1-877-440-ZING or email us at