Why We Sim

A few weeks ago I was perusing through the various social media platforms and groups I belong to and discovered a discussion taking place regarding why simulation based games are so popular.  One individual in particular was (in my opinion) trolling the group and making various references that simulation based games are the absolute most boring titles he had ever witnessed and just couldn’t understand why people would spend countless hours playing these types of games.  He referenced two which I myself enjoy, Flight Simulator and Farming Simulator. 

One point he attempted to make was if you wanted to farm or fly, just go do it in real life.  He went on to compare the costs (specifically with flight sim) where one could easily pay for the lessons and time to obtain a PPL or Private Pilots License.  I attempted to follow the discussions for a few days but finally lost interest as it was pretty clear to me he really had no clue what he was talking about and most likely was a kid just trying to get a reaction from the group.  Anyway….

The gaming industry today is big and growing even larger.  If Google is correct, the total industry size includes 3.2 billion players and some $197 billion in revenue during the year 2021 and the forecast for 2022 was expected to hit $200bn.  Needless to say, there’s something for everyone when it comes to video game content. 

As for me personally, the reasons I enjoy simulation based games is most likely not unique.  While at one time in my life I had a dream of learning to fly and obtaining my PPL, this just simply isn’t possible any more.  However, through the awesome Microsoft Flight Simulator platform I can fly anywhere in the world from the comfort of my mancave and enjoy each and every minute while doing it.  I can role play anything from a bush pilot flying into the Alaskan wilderness all the way to a commercial airline captain flying into small or large international airports around the world.  And with the beauty of MSFS, I can fly into a large airport in my jetliner and then depart in a small single engine aircraft and spend time sightseeing around the region. 

I’ve known many fellow flight simmers who have used their virtual experience to propel them into various aviation careers such as private and commercial pilots and air traffic control.  Many pilots I’ve known through the years continue to use the various flight simulation platforms (in some degree) to brush up on their skills.  Likewise, I’ve read about individuals who have come of age with ATS or ETS2 and have used that experience to take up a career in trucking/transportation.  I also know of a few individuals who have started working on farms because of their interest and passion from Farming Simulator.

The level of immersion has always been a number one requirement for me in any simulation based gaming title.  I’ve discussed many times before that in my opinion the bar has been set fairly high by the flight simulation genre as what truly will define any other simulation gaming title.  I’ve discovered in the past where developers have labeled their titles as “Simulation”, but found many reasons why that misses the mark greatly.  Any simulation based title must provide an “As Real As It Gets” experience to truly immerse me into that virtual world.   

For the simulation based titles I play the most (Flight Sim, ATS/ETS2 and Farming Simulator) the level of immersion is high enough to allow me to completely escape the stresses of the real world for an hour or more as I simulate the life of a pilot, a trucker or a farmer in my own virtual world.  And it is for this very reason why I sim. 

Why do you sim? 

Thanks for taking the time to read.  Until next time…

Happy Simming!!!

Jerry


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