Definitions

Life Sim

Life simulation game

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:

Overview

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."

Subgenres

While life simulation games are a relatively young genre, it includes several subgenres.

Biological simulation

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.

Pet-raising simulation

Pet-raising simulation 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

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.

Example titles

Biological simulations

Social simulations

See also

References

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