Top PC Simulation Games of All Time

Simulation games are bizarrely popular. Truck Simulator, Garbage Truck Simulator, Train Simulator, Rock Simulator, Police Simulator… Goat Simulator. The appeal of some of these games is hard to understand, especially when many of them are simply virtual versions of real life jobs. At least Goat Simulator doesn’t take itself seriously.

Oh, Goat Simulator, how glorious you are. This goat isn’t going to take any messing around, butting anything that gets in his way, launching himself into the air, crashing down to the ground with a thumb, and generally being a badass. This one-time joke went on to become a massive hit, in part thanks to the game’s popularity on YouTube. It’s a game that’s fun to mess about it, and a stark departure from the other simulators on the market - because it’s not really much of a sim at all.

When you sacrifice people to the got gods, you know you’re playing something special. Here are the best PC simulation games of all time.

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  • 30.

    Silent Hunter III

    Silent Hunter III proves that simulations can be fun, but suffers from an imbalance between accessibility and historical accuracy. There's a long running argument in videogames journalism about what constitutes a "game" as... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 29.

    Heroes of the Pacific

    If previous aerial combat games have left a bitter taste in your mouth, this won't taste any better, but fans of the genre bored by relentlessly replaying Crimson Skies will find plenty to enjoy. Arcade style flight sims... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox, PS2, PC

  • 28.

    Black & White 2

    God does move in mysterious ways. He can even make a flawed game into an entertaining one. "Play good, play bad, play god," the tagline on the back of the game box implores you. Unfortunately, the overriding feeling I have... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 27.

    FIFA Manager 06

    A thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing experience, that offers a great deal of depth should you want to explore. I have to confess that I haven't played a football management game since Championship Manger 3, a game which... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 26.

    The Sims 2 Open for Business

    Open for Business really does the business, with plenty of new items and content. Worthy of recruiting into your empire. My favourite Bushism is the immortal "The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 25.

    Premier Manager 2006-2007

    Premier Manager doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's is a fun introduction to management, and, as a smaller, friendlier version of the royalty it once was, it stands up quite well. Way back in the summer of 1992... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 24.

    The Settlers II 10th Anniversary

    For all its undeniable charm and nostalgic worth, The Settlers II is never really more than a retro retread that will probably only appeal to those who remember the series fondly. One thing you will learn from playing The... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 23.

    Sid Meier's Railroads

    Sid Meier's Railroads is a game that comes frustratingly close to excellence without ever justifying such a tag. Let me get one obvious misconception out of the way: Sid Meier's Railroads is not a game exclusively for train... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 22.

    The Sims 3

    If you’ve played The Sims 2 and its expansions to death, The Sims 3 will feel perilously like a retread of old ground, albeit on a slightly grander scale. Doom. Empire Earth. Driver. Master of Orion. Police Academy. What... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 21.

    Championship Manager 2010

    Championship Manager 2010 is the most disappointing entry in the series we've ever played, but it's also the best in years. Ever since the Championship Manager series changed hands to Beautiful Game Studios it's struggled... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 20.

    Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

    H.A.W.X 2 certainly knows how to fly, but it never really gets a chance to soar. When terrorism was invented nine years ago, few would have been able to grasp the effect it was going to have on our video games. You only need... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

  • 19.

    Evil Genius

    One of the freshest management games in years, Evil Genius provides a neat twist on the genre and is great fun too. It's often said that bad guys have all the fun. Being one of the nicest blokes you'll ever meet, I wouldn't... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 18.

    The Movies: Stunts & Effects

    Could The Movies live without Stunts & Effects? Probably, but it's more entertaining thanks to the additions found in the expansion. Can you imagine films without special effects? Would The Matrix have been half the film... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 17.

    Viva Piñata

    The overriding feeling you'll get from Viva Piñata is one of depth. If you like the gameplay you'll sink an awful lot of time into your garden and new gardens after that. The premise of Viva Piñata is exceedingly simple:... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 16.

    Spore: Creature Creator

    Little problems aside, Spore: Creature Creator is something everyone with a capable PC or Mac should try out. Spore: Creature Creator tells me a few things: creating new species is great fun, creation tools can be simple... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 15.

    Battlestations: Pacific

    If you're prepared to push through its choppier moments, you'll find a rich and highly enjoyable game that should keep you occupied for months. Battlestations Midway was a rather unusual hybrid of a game, a mix of real-time... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360, PC

  • 14.

    The Sims 4

    The feature list is bare, but the Sims themselves are incredible. Pools, like garden flamingos, are an almost iconic part of The Sims franchise, but they're not essential to it. The Sims 4, which famously scraps a number... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 13.

    Football Manager 2015

    Whether you’re scrawling tactics onto a board or on the training pitch in a tracksuit, Sports Interactive has crafted another great Football Manager experience for you. The sense of helplessness felt by managers at times... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 12.

    Football Manager 2016

    Football Manager 2016 is complete misery, heartache, and bouts of pure anger – directed at a bunch of numbers. But I love it. It's amazing how a game can make you care about a group of people who I had no knowledge of and... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 11.

    Farming Simulator 17

    Is this the farming sim three-year-olds have been waiting for? A video review with Tom and his three-year-old son, Jacob. Usually we'd have a lot of extra content here to complement the video review. In this instance the... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

  • 10.

    Looking for love in all the right places. For more detailed thoughts on Kitty Powers' Matchmaker check out the video review and let's play! ​ more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC, iOS, PS4, Xbox One

  • 9.

    The Sims 2

    The Sims 2 is worth getting ahold of under any circumstances - though it's far more likely to get ahold of you somehow. And I warn you: it won't let go. People insist on telling me that The Sims was the most unpredictable... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC, Cube, PS2, Xbox

  • 8.

    Football Manager 2006

    FM06 is the best, bar none. The moment you know it has you trapped in its spell is when you get to 3am and are still debating if 442 or wing-backs are the way to go. Buy it, play it, love it. Football: small boys in the park,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 7.

    The Movies

    The Movies is ambitious, but Peter Molyneux and his team at Lionhead have pulled it off. There's no doubt that The Movies is one of the most entertaining PC games of the year. Anyone with a creative bone in their body has... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 6.

    Football Manager 2007

    FM 2007 delivers new layers of depth that, while not revolutionising the series, have made this year's game a more accurate and more immersive managerial experience. The most addictive database of all time is back, once again... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 5.

    Football Manager 2008

    We expect fans of the series and newcomers alike to be wholly satisfied with Football Manager 2008. Time to lock the door, order some pizza and unscrew the coke. Football football football. Does it ever end? If you're not... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 4.

    Football Manager 2009

    If you want fancy yourself as the next Alex Ferguson, Football Manager 2009 might be the only game you'll need until this time next year. The ups and downs of football management are like nothing else. Following an eight... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 3.

    Football Manager 2010

    Sports Interactive has produced the best version of FM yet, so it's easy to recommend FM 2010 to anyone with an interest in taking their team to league and cup glory. I used to spend most of my waking hours in front of Football... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 2.

    Football Manager 2011

    This year Sports Interactive has made a game that feels like the most essential for a very long time. Being a manager has never been so realistic or as much fun. It's time for another entry in the Football Manager series.... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 1.

    Football Manager 2014

    Addiction returns for another year... Notorious for demanding equal amounts of time, focus and dedication, Football Manager taps into obsessive-compulsive nature like few games do. 2014 is as meticulous as ever, but crucially... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC