Life simulation games (or Artificial life games) are simulation games in which the player lives or controls one or more artificial lifeforms. A life simulation game can revolve around "individuals and relationships, or it could be a simulation of an ecosystem". This genre often includes the following subgenres:
Life simulation games are about "maintaining and growing a manageable population of organisms". Games may involve a population or one or many organisms. Games may simulate animal or human intelligence.
Artificial life games are related to computer science research in artificial life. "Because they're intended for entertainment rather than research, commercial A-life games implement only a subset of what A-life research investigates."
While life simulation games are a relatively young genre, it includes several subgenres.
One example is Spore. Made by Maxis (creators of The Sims and Simcity), the main objective of the game is to evolve a creature into a highly intelligent, space-faring nation.
games can be "simulations of real animals, as in the Petz
series" or "fantasy ones like the Tamagotchi
". Unlike biological simulations, the pet does not usually reproduce. They generally do not die.
The pet is capable of learning to do a variety of tasks. "This quality of rich intelligence distinguishes artificial pets from other kinds of A-life, in which individuals have simple rules but the population as a whole develops emergent properties". For artificial pets, their behaviors are typically "preprogrammed and are not truly emergent".
Pet-raising simulations often lack a victory condition or challenge, and can be classified as software toys.
A large majority of pet-raising games can be found on the Nintendo DS, with most games being about dogs, cats and horses.
Social simulation games
explore social interactions between multiple artificial lives
. The most famous example from this genre is The Sims
, which was influenced by the 1985 Commodore 64
game Little Computer People
- Alter Ego — a personality computer game released by Activision in 1986
- Animal Crossing (series) — a life simulator series by Nintendo. It has also been dubbed as a "communication game" by the company as had Cubivore, Doshin the Giant and GiFTPiA.
- Eccky — by Media Republic.
- Façade (interactive story)
- The Harvest Moon series — by Natsume, farming simulator, role-playing game, and dating sim rolled into one.
- Jones in the Fast Lane — by Sierra Entertainment is one of the earliest life simulators.
- Kudos — by Positech Games is an independently developed turn-based life-sim game for the PC.
- Little Computer People — by David Crane, published by Activision for Apple II and Commodore 64 (1985)
- Money Game - a Famicom life simulation about balance love with high finance
- The Money Game II: Kabutochou no Kiseki the Famicom sequel to Money Game
- My Life My Love: Boku no Yume: Watashi no Negai — a life simulation for the JapaneseFamicom system
- The Princess Maker series — by Gainax, a raising sim which the player have to raise an adoptive daughter until she reaches adulthood. The final result varies from a ruling queen to an ordinary housewife, or even a prostitute if the player looks after her poorly
- Second Life — a Massive Multiplayer life simulator
- The Sims — by Will Wright, published by EA for the PC (2000), and its sequels, The Sims 2 (2004) and The Sims 3 (2009).
- True Love — (1994), a Japanese erotic dating sim, is unique in the genre for also being a general life simulation game where the player must manage the player's daily activities, such as studying, exercise, and employment.
- The Virtual Villagers series — by Last Day of Work.
- Moon RPG Remix Adventure - a social RPG game released only in Japan, created by the same designer as Lack of Love and GiFTPiA