Simulacrum and Simulation
May 31, 2010 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I want to know about the best simulation games out there. Preferably regular (Steam/disc-based) rather than online games - if you know of a farming game that isn't Farmville - or Agricola - I'd be up for that.

I run a laptop so they have to run on there - I know I like Theme Park World, Theme Hospital and Sim City 3000, but find The Sims leaves me a bit cold - maybe it's too macro for me.
posted by mippy to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there's a whole buttload of Sim-Games predating The Sims. Honestly, if you can get ahold of SimFarm through whichever preferred channel, that should totally work for you on farming games. You might need DOSBox or the like to run it, though.

In fact, all the early SimWhatever titles are pretty neat stuff.

SimAnt — simulated ant colony
SimEarth — simulated planet and macroevolution
SimLife — simulated ecosystem and microevolution
SimTower — simulated skyscraper management

Also, if you like Theme Park World, go play RollerCoaster Tycoon. The best of them is RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, if you can overlook the Six Flags product placement, and it should run just fine on your lappy.
posted by SansPoint at 1:53 PM on May 31, 2010

Zoo Tycoon is pretty old-school, but I had a blast with it. I think there is even a new Zoo Tycoon 2 out, but I haven't tried it yet.
posted by tryniti at 2:03 PM on May 31, 2010

Response by poster: Syllables - I already have Theme Hospital. Hooray for £2 at TK Maxx!
posted by mippy at 2:15 PM on May 31, 2010

Tropico! Be the beloved/heartless dictator/president of your small island nation. Develop industry/tourism and deal with domestic and international threats.

Tropico was made in the early 2000s so it can easily run on a laptop. If you have a newer PC, Tropico 3 came out in the past year and it is all graphically accelerated and beautiful. I've sunk way too many hours into T3. Check out the reviews on metacritic.
posted by ijoyner at 2:18 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like Bridge Builder and sequels but maybe these are not the sims you had in mind.
posted by pwnguin at 2:36 PM on May 31, 2010

You might enjoy Dawn of Discovery (Anno 1404 in Europe), too. It's got a bunch of crop management stuff going on - setting up the economies of your islands, shipping routes between them, that sort of thing. There's a combat engine, too, but I never really got that far with it. It's enough fun making your economic engine work well. It can be graphically intensive, but I'd be surprised if it didn't scale back really well - there's no reason it needs fancy shaders to be a good game.
posted by heresiarch at 2:46 PM on May 31, 2010

There's been updates to Tropico -- there's now Tropico II. I really enjoy AI War - Fleet Command, which is an RTS space-based sim.

The Sims would be Micro(management), wouldn't it?
posted by SpecialK at 3:03 PM on May 31, 2010

Oh, and don't forget SimuTrans and OpenTTD if you were/are a fan of transportation sim games.
posted by SpecialK at 3:04 PM on May 31, 2010

RollerCoaster Tycoon is fun.
posted by mmascolino at 3:04 PM on May 31, 2010

Do you consider 4-X games to be simulations? If so, Good Old Games just got the rights to Master of Orion.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:34 PM on May 31, 2010

Civilization IV and it's expansion packs. But dear god, make sure you don't have any deadlines soon.
posted by procrastination at 4:04 PM on May 31, 2010

I love Theme Hospital and Rollercoaster Tycoon, and have just discovered Tropico 3 which was cheap on Steam recently.

Anno 1602 is great too. Also love Transport Tycoon (couldn't get OpenTTD to run on my machine), the Settlers games are old, cheap and cute - and you can probably get them somewhere online these days. Anno 1602, Tropico and Settlers are empire-building sim games.
posted by tracicle at 6:39 PM on May 31, 2010

Dwarf Fortress. Download for free and strike the earth.
posted by stop sign at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I loved playing Railroad tycoon and Roller coaster tycoon back in the day.
posted by bindasj at 3:55 AM on June 1, 2010

I can't believe nobody mentioned Victoria! It's an excellent political/economic 'grand strategy' game set in the 19th century. The sequel is coming out this year, too, and it looks promising. :)
posted by edguardo at 6:52 AM on June 1, 2010

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