Top Simulation Games of All Time

Simulation and games are are odd couple. Gaming if often about escapism, yet simulation attempts to bring real world activities to life in a virtual world. Often a simulation can give the user the opportunity to do something impossible in real life, like flying a plane or becoming a goat.

Sims aren't all occupation based, with the some focussing on managing the lives of people either in minute detail or from above as a kind of overlord.

The Sims franchise is one of the most successful PC titles of all time, offering players the ability to not only create, but also watch how these virtual people interact in the world, becoming more complete personalities over time.

SimCity is simulation on the opposite end of the spectrum with big picture decisions affecting those going about their business. Then there's the multitude of occupation simulations, such driving cars, trains and planes, but also operating farming and construction site equipment. If you can think it, the chances are that you can sim it.

  • 30.

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 29.

    Football Manager 2006

    Football Manager Handheld is a perfect example of how to port a franchise to a handheld without sacrificing what made the game so great in the first place. Who'd be a manager? Well, a lot of people I would imagine. While sat at home... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360,PSP,PC,Xbox 360,PSP,PC,Xbox 360,PSP,PC

  • 28.

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 27.

    SimCity DS

    The depth and balance in SimCity DS is a rare treat for DS owners, and is astounding considering the genuine pick-up-and-play qualities the game has. While The DS' back-catalogue is rife with games that make innovative or... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Nintendo DS

  • AD #1
  • 26.

    ANNO 1701: Dawn of Discovery

    Anno 1701 offers engrossing escapism and a refreshing alternative to more aggressive gaming themes. It's a great little title that deserves a huge chunk of your time. In the wake of Sim City DS comes another, altogether less serious city... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Nintendo DS

  • 25.

    Trauma Center: Second Opinion

    Trauma Center is right up there with the best the Wii has to offer, delivering solid controls and a thoroughly entertaining single-player storyline. I'm a huge fan of ER. The US medical show that details the daily lives of... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Wii

  • 24.

    Stuntman: Ignition

    There's no getting away from the fact that Stuntman: Ignition is an infuriating game, but that doesn't automatically make it a bad one. Perseverance will reveal a highly rewarding experience. There's something to be said for really having to try hard. While many games... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PlayStation 2

  • 23.

    Spore: Creature Creator Review

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 22.

    Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City Review

    Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City

    Although more of the same, newcomers will find this a lot of fun, while veterans are likely to find it hard to resist once again crossing with animals in their town. After the quite brilliant Animal Crossing: Wild World on Nintendo DS,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Wii

  • AD #2
  • 21.

    Trauma Center: New Blood Review

    Trauma Center: New Blood

    New Blood is incredibly difficult and frustrating in places, but it's still a recommended purchase if the idea of carving up skin, lasering tumours and drawing five-point stars floats your boat. "It's the pump unit you implanted in my pancreas seven years ago..." So says... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Wii

  • 20.

    Battlestations: Pacific Review

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360,PC

  • 19.

    Style Boutique Review

    Style Boutique

    This fashion store sim is perfect for kids who like to shop and create different outfits. You might have noticed that this review looks slightly different to other... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Nintendo DS

  • 18.

    Football Manager Handheld 2010 Review

    Football Manager Handheld 2010

    It's not perfect and for some might be too expensive, but if you enjoy trying to take your team to league and cup glory, hours and hours of fun (or misery) are to be had here. How much depth do you want from Football Manager on the iPhone? It's a... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iOS,PSP

  • 17.

    Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review

    Animal Crossing: New Leaf

    An essential buy for Animal Crossing fans. Animal Crossing: New Leaf doesn't beat about the bush, as you're immediately... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

  • 16.

    The Sims 4 Review

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC,Xbox One

  • 15.

    Football Manager 2015 Review

    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 of strife can be... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iOS,PC

  • 14.

    Football Manager 2016 Review

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 13.

    Prison Architect Review

    Prison Architect

    Prison Architect is a full-on sim that will eat your time. If you fancy a dark look inside the running of a prison, look no further. Prison Architect isn't a nice game. Don't let the basic, twee appearance of... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PlayStation 4,Xbox One,Xbox 360,PC,Nintendo Switch,iOS,Android

  • 12.

    Farming Simulator 17 Review (toddler edition)

    Farming Simulator 17

    Lots of tractors. Hens. Trailers. People driving tractors. Combine harvesters. No train on train track. A video review with Tom and his three-year-old son, Jacob. Usually we'd have... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox One,PC,PlayStation 4

  • 11.

    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 at one time or another thought... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC,PlayStation 2,Xbox,GameCube

  • 10.

    Football Manager 2007

    Fans of last year's console title will be thrilled by the new control scheme, making the game even more of a social life risk than before. You'll be playing this until FM 2008. Some things simply get better over time, and the Football Manager series is... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360,PSP,PC,Xbox 360,PSP,PC

  • 9.

    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 a football... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360,PSP,PC

  • 8.

    Viva Piñata Review

    Viva Piñata

    Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise might not be the perfect handheld game for kids and the whole family but it's pretty close. The premise of Viva Piñata is exceedingly simple: create a garden and... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Nintendo DS,PC,Xbox 360,Nintendo DS,PC,Xbox 360,Nintendo DS,PC,Xbox 360

  • 7.

    Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise Review

    Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

    Buy Trouble in Paradise, name your piñatas after celebrities, friends and family members, dress them up like fashion disasters and realise you're playing one of the best games of the year. As much as we were hugely looking forward to Rare's Viva Piñata follow-up,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 6.

    Football Manager 2009 Review

    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... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 5.

    Flower Review

    Flower

    Conventional it may not be, but Flower possesses the kind of creative beauty that rarely surfaces in full-budget games - let alone a £6.29 PSN title. A lonely flower sits on a table in a dilapidated flat, somewhere deep in the... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PlayStation 4,PlayStation 3,PC,PS Vita

  • 4.

    Football Manager 2010 Review

    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 Manager,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 3.

    Game Dev Story Review

    Game Dev Story

    Soon all you'll care about is getting Game of the Year over those damned Circle Enix guys and spending five consecutive hours trying to get a decent score. That guy who runs the game studio that specialises in golf RPGs? That's me.... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iOS

  • 2.

    Football Manager 2011 Review

    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. Usually these... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP,PC

  • 1.

    Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Review

    Minecraft

    4J Studios has played its part in one of gaming's grandest success story with affable competence, allowing console owners to grab their tools and build something in Mojang's intricate world Minecraft is only limited by your imagination. The limit of my imagination,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Wii U,Xbox One,PS Vita,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,iOS,PC,PlayStation 4,Nintendo Switch