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Well, it has been a long time coming – but Simulation has finally broken free from Serious Games in my Game Thinking “framework”. It will take a while for me to update everything, but I wanted to share the draft entry for simulations in Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play.
A simulation is a virtual representation of something from the real world, such as a flight simulator. Often this can be hard to distinguish from a game or a serious game, as they look very game like. The difference is that a simulation does not usually need gameplay elements in order to function and fulfil its designed intent. It exists to allow users to practice an activity in a safe environment.
Simulations are not a new phenomenon either, with military simulations in one form or another used since the start of organised warfare. The birth of modern wargames and simulations has been credited to Herr von Reisswitz, Prussian War Counsellor and his war game Kriegsspiel in 1812. This was a military game / simulation that each regiment was encouraged to play on a regular basis to test out strategies and tactics without having to risk troops.
Simulations can take many forms; physical such as board games or role-playing, digital like computer based flight simulations or business simulations, or blended where you have a bit of both as in augmented reality.