Simulation Games: Why Do We Want to Live Virtual Lives?
To be honest, I found it baffling as to why gamers loved titles like Stardew Valley, American Truck Driver, and Farming Simulator. Why in the world would you want to play something that lets your character do mundane tasks like planting seeds and driving a truck and tractor when you can fight off hordes of monsters in a fantasy MMO?
Well, to be honest, we’ve played The Sims, Stardew Valley, and other titles like Cities: Skylines, and even Medieval Dynasty, and we can’t get enough of them. Simulation games rock, and yes, there are a number of reasons why we like living virtual lives.
Life is too short to live multiple lives
Unfortunately, we only live once. This means we cannot spend time nor the effort to become a farmer, truck driver, surgeon, and chef in a single life. Simulation games enable us to live multiple lives, albeit virtually. In a way, they allow us to pursue interests and try out activities we may have wanted to in real life but can’t. For example, we may have wanted to try out farming, but we live in the middle of an urban jungle where planting crops just isn’t possible.
With games, we can try out these hobbies or ambitions and even go as far as living a virtual life, pursuing something we may have wanted in a digital landscape.
These games give us the freedom we desire
Humans naturally desire freedom, and we don’t always get this in real life. Due to our real-life constraints and limitations, we’re not free to pursue the things we want. In certain games, we definitely can. We’re free to try out extreme sports, explore uncharted frontiers, and try out hobbies we would never have had the chance to.
The chance to be something or someone else
I’m sure we’ve all accomplished a lot in life and have done well for ourselves despite the circumstances. The thing is, we’re restless beings, and there’s always a tinge of dissatisfaction that haunts us whenever we go to sleep. Existential crises aside, simulation games let us become something or someone else, helping us relieve the stress and momentarily escape real life’s challenges.
For example, Off Road Truck lets us become become virtual truck drivers, while Medieval Dynasty turns us into peasants in the medieval era. In the case of kingdom and political simulators, we can digitally live out our lives as kings and rulers, doing whatever we want.
Plenty of options, no obstructions and minimal downsides
Finally, one of the most notable reasons we continue to play simulation titles is that these offer real-life experiences without the difficulty, bureaucracy, and consequences. For example, in the Farming Simulator franchise, we can farm, drive tractors, and use heavy equipment with gusto, which we can’t in real life. There’s no real-world consequence if we mess up the crops or if we somehow flip a truck over.
Overall, simulation games give us the chance to live virtual lives, far different from our own. These games let us become what we can’t and virtually experience what’s it like to have an alternate virtual life.