Construction management, professional racing, working on the farm – all these jobs are easily accessible by playing simulations. But what if we told you that they also inspire real-life professions?
Thanks to better graphics and mechanics, simulations are more immersive than ever. Players can utterly lose themselves in the digital worlds of this unique genre, enjoying jobs they didn’t choose in real life. Combining visible progression, authentic experiences, and extensive customization options, simulations create tiny worlds where players can achieve anything. No wonder they bring so much satisfaction! But this is not the end of their benefits. Recent research reveals that this sim genre inspires people to pursue real professions or acquire new abilities. That sounds fascinating, so let’s see how simulation gaming changes the world!
|Microsoft Flight Simulator||2020-08-18||Flight simulator||Asobo Studio||40%|
|Car Mechanic Simulator 2021||2021-08-11||Car mechanic sim||Red Dot Games||4%|
|This War of Mine||2014-11-14||Adventure||11 bit studios||91%|
|Farming Simulator 22||2021-11-22||Simulation||Giants Software||56%|
|World of Warcraft||2004-11-23||MMORPG, Fantasy||Blizzard Entertainment|
|Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition||2015-03-10||Strategy||Colossal Order Ltd.||65%|
|Total War: Shogun 2 Collection||2011-03-14||Strategy||Feral Interactive (Linux)||78%|
|Kerbal Space Program||2015-04-27||Adventure||Squad||89%|
|Kerbal Space Program 2||2023-02-24||Indie||Intercept Games|
|Sid Meier's Civilization VI||2016-10-20||Economy||Firaxis Games||94%|
|Sid Meier's Civilization V||2010-09-23||Economy||Aspyr (Mac, Linux)||76%|
|Sid Meier's Civilization IV||2005-10-25||Economy||Firaxis Games||86%|
|Pharaoh + Cleopatra||1999-10-31||Simulation||Impressions Games||12%|
|Zeus + Poseidon||2001-06-25||Strategy||Impressions Games||11%|
|Caesar 3||1999-05-30||Strategy||Impressions Games|
|Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition||2015-07-29||Adventure||Mojang||5%|
|Minecraft Java Edition||2013-11-19||Action||Mojang||0%|
|Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition||2013-01-16||RPG||Beamdog||85%|
|Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition||2013-11-15||RPG||Beamdog||77%|
|Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition||2014-10-30||RPG||Beamdog||91%|
|Planescape Torment Enhanced Edition||2017-04-11||Strategy||Beamdog||82%|
|Assassin's Creed: Valhalla||2020-11-10||Action RPG||Ubisoft||81%|
|Crusader Kings III||2020-09-01||Strategy||Paradox Development Studio||73%|
|Crusader Kings II Imperial Collection||2012-02-14||Economy||Paradox Development Studio|
|Plague Inc: Evolved||2016-02-18||Indie||Ndemic Creations||56%|
The Evolution of Simulation Titles
The first simulation the world ever saw was The Sumerian Game in 1964. It was the most modest version of today’s city-management titles set in ancient times. Soon, arcade game developers recognized an opportunity and equipped their cabinets with motion simulation machines. Over the years, more titles came to life: Space Tactics in 1981, Hang-On in 1985, or After Burner in 1987. Overall, the initial game development in the genre mainly revolved around space travel and racing themes, until 1988 when Your Sinclair magazine released Advanced Lawnmower Simulator as an April Fool’s joke. Nevertheless, it inspired many later titles, and who knows if our favorite Farming Simulator — and many others — would even exist without this game. Later times witnessed titles we still play today, like SimCity from 1989 or Harvest Moon from 1996.
Although the first titles in the genre featured rather simple graphics, they were already starting to fill a niche of need for this particular type of gameplay. Players wanted a medium that included creativity in completing mundane tasks or unreachable jobs. The plot’s existence was not as important as deciding what happens next. So immersion was initially boosted by imagination. And in later years, developers used this knowledge to design the most realistic worlds, eliminating that imagination factor to deliver fully enjoyable simulation fun.
The Psychological Impact of Simulations
Psychologist Jamie Madigan says: ‘Decades of research on self-determination theory shows that activities that satisfy autonomy, competence, and relatedness are intrinsically motivating. Well-designed video games hit on all three of these cylinders, but looking at simulation games in particular, we can see that they hit very hard on autonomy.’ This, in a nutshell, means that simulations generate excellent conditions for experimenting with what we can and cannot achieve. Players suffer minor consequences from errors compared to the real world. And in return, they get the unimaginable satisfaction of creating something of their own in the digital world – whether it’s building a skyscraper, sweeping streets, or crossing an entire continent driving a truck.
Simulations guarantee one crucial profit – enjoying a job that we would normally not undertake due to lack of competence, education, or just because. This way, in the digital world, anyone can become a football team manager, a car driver, a zoo owner, or a space program designer. But another thing they do is help us discover new talents within ourselves. There is nothing like the joy of a newfound talent for designing, counting, supervising, or managing resources. Many people have never participated in such creative scenarios, so playing a simulation can be a truly eye-opening experience. And this feeling leads to interest in real-world professions.
Players Inspired By Gaming To Pursue Real-Life Professions
Gaming inspires participation in esports, but not only. A 2019 article from The Guardian proves some people have chosen employment in jobs they used to play in favorite titles. And these professions don’t even mean a career in gaming! One of these admirable people is Nick Culligan, who playing Battlefield 3 as a Medic, decided to apply to the Emergency Service Training Institute. As it turns out, he became an emergency medical technician – qualified, among other things, to work on the battlefield.
Another example is Justin Reeve. Inspired by the many flight simulators played in his youth, he soon got his pilot’s license in Canada. But that’s not all, as this young man was also very into Shogun: Total War and Assassin’s Creed 2 – which motivated him to study archaeology. So now he is both of those things: a pilot and an archaeologist.
The Education Aspect: Learning Real-World Talents Through Gaming
As simulations do not involve real situations, imitating them instead, they prove to be the perfect tool for learning. Even casual truck driving improves reflexes and problem-solving. According to Real World Learning: Simulation and Gaming research, because of activities perceived as risky in the real world, ‘they can be considered an important link between theories espoused in the lecture hall and the real world.’ Many employers take into account hiring new employees based on information about gaming interests in the CV because soft skills developed while playing mean more than before. And that’s not all, as increasingly more schools consider introducing simulation exercises for students before examining them in the real world.
Simulations make every test comfortable, less demanding, and more relaxing. Playing the simulation, we don’t have to worry about the fate of a hit child or a burnt shoe factory. We can repeat each scenario anew or modify it to confront new challenges and thus recognize the limits of our capabilities.
Looking Forward: The Future of Simulations in Career Planning
Thanks to the rapidly developing VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) technologies, simulation users can not only play their favorite game but also use impressive software that perfectly imitates reality. AR is already known as a practical tool in medicine, aviation, and motorsports. Combining real life with the virtual is a breakthrough in introducing realistic experiences to a whole new level – perfect for education.
It’s the end of ‘When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.’ Today, anyone can use a simulation to see if that’s a job for themselves. Projects like Avid Adventures exist to help people from all over the world consider different fields of profession. And gamers of all ages can buy their dream simulation on Steam to see if the challenges included meet their expectations. Perfectly crafted recommendations like Farming Simulator, Kerbal Space Program, or Cities: Skylines are fun. But they can also be the first step in empowering one’s unique skills and preferences before choosing a future job.
It all started with a simple The Sumerian Game and, in just a few decades, worked as a tool for training and choosing a profession. As we already know, the simulation reaches much further than just a realistic experience. This genre helps shape skills, explore passions, relax in challenging conditions, and conduct safe tests in life-like environments where normally they might be risky. Simulations are often simple, full of repetitive actions, and don’t even include a plot. But they are the only ones with such powerful potential as a tool of inspiration and job exploration. The world is changing. We don’t have to guess ‘what if’. And a relaxing Farming Simulator session at home can unleash talents we didn’t even know existed.