Simulation games have been one of the most successful video game genres in the world for a long time, with various franchises selling millions of copies all over the globe.
We seem to have an innate urge to replicate reality, and as humans, we crave for new experiences, even ones we won’t be able to have in real life. Therefore, from driving race cars to conquering the world, simulation games allow us to imitate these activities and events in a manner that no other medium can.
These games have been around for quite a while, and the original SimCity, introduced in 1989 by Maxis, is widely considered to be the first simulation video game ever. The game was created in an unassuming way: when producing his first video game, Will Wright developed a level editor for it that turned out to be way more fun than the game itself.
After researching concepts of urban planning and architecture, Wright turned the level editor into a standalone game, in which players are tasked with building and managing cities.
Wright couldn’t find a publisher for the unusual game at first, but in 1987, he met Jeff Braun, and the two co-founded Maxis, which released SimCity, and consequently evolved into one of the leading developers of simulation games. The game eventually paved the way for a new video game genre that today includes multi-million franchises like The Sims, Forza, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous companies in the video game industry were forced to shut down operations last year, delaying the development of several games, which resulted in release dates being pushed back to 2021.
As a result, this year was projected to be a banner year for gamers, with a slew of highly anticipated titles reaching stores and digital marketplaces. This is especially true for simulation games, and the following titles are some of the best simulation games released in 2021.
Farming Simulator 22
The eleventh entry in the franchise developed by Swiss studio Giants Software, Farming Simulator 22 was released on November 22, for Windows, macOS, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, and Nintendo Switch. Currently published by Focus Home Interactive, the franchise has sold over 25 million copies combined and accounted for 90 million mobile downloads.
In Farming Simulator, players are tasked with taking the role of a modern farmer, by harvesting crops, tending to animals, managing productions in a variety of farming activities. Unlike games like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, Farming Simulator focuses on perfectly simulating agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry.
Football Manager 2022
Developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega, Football Manager 2022, also known as FM22, is the eighteenth installment in the acclaimed series of soccer-management simulation video games. The game was released worldwide for Windows and macOS on November 8, with a console edition released on Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One and Series X/S.
In this game, players step into the shoes of a real soccer manager in a completely immersive gameplay with real-world insights and statistics, and true-to-life experiences that perfectly emulates the various levels of managing a soccer team. Featuring real teams and players, FM22 is a great choice for fans of the world’s most popular sport.
Blooming Business: Casino
Blooming Business: Casino is a business simulation game developed and published by Curve Games, scheduled to be released later this month for Windows, and currently on its early access stage.
The game is inspired by the rise of Las Vegas in the 1950s, and players must build and run their own casinos, design operations and even manage human resources and public relations.
With a great focus on the narrative as well, each decision influences the business operation, and players must monitor the needs of staff, customers, and VIP guests to keep the cash flowing. However, with so many aspects and intricacies, managing a simulation casino can be tiresome, so if players want to take some time from it, they can always try their luck in one of the many online platforms available today to enjoy casino classics on a computer or mobile device.
Forza Horizon 5
Released on November 9 for Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, Forza Horizon 5 is the twelfth entry in the renowned series of racing simulation games Forza, and the fifth Forza Horizon title. Following the premise of previous Horizon titles, in which players compete in a fictitious racing festival, the game is set in a fictionalized version of Mexico, with the largest map in the entire series.
Forza Horizon 5 was a critical and financial success upon release, with over ten million active players in the first week of full availability, making it the largest launch for an Xbox Game Studios game ever. At The Game Awards 2021, it won the Innovation in Accessibility, Best Audio Design, and Best Sports/Racing Game awards, and was also nominated for the Players’ Voice award.