The simulation genre has been a mainstay of modern gaming for decades, thanks to a loyal following of players who help the genre stay afloat and help it thrive.
Arcade gaming is the antithesis of simulations. It’s not like your Call of Duty, Halo, or Fortnight, but it’s still an enjoyable experience. As a result, simulation games are defined by their ability to accurately portray many aspects of everyday life.
What are the ramifications of this? Many people don’t get to experience this kind of exclusivity. A racecar driver, a sniper, or a surgeon are all examples of professions that require years of training or exceptional talent to achieve in the real world.
As a result, these unique aspects of life can be seen through the prism of a computer game or two. So in order to avoid feeling like we’ve been cheated, we want these video games to be as precise as possible in their portrayal. So what, then, is it that gives a video game simulation its realism?
Controversy over Nintendo Switch simulation games
With ever-increasing graphical advancements, the simulation gaming community has become more divided than ever before.
Think of it in terms of a range. At one extreme, you’ve got gamers with high-end PCs who only play simulation games with the most realistic graphics and animations in order to feel fully immersed—even going so far as to crank up the graphic settings and download third-party mods that go beyond the limits of immersion offered by the game in its vanilla form.
Gamers who place a high value on realism often shell out tens of thousands of dollars on specialized peripherals, such as racing and flight simulator cockpits and virtual reality headsets.
There are simulations that defy the idea of realistic graphics being pivotal to a simulation game’ on the other end of the spectrum. Where can you get your hands on this type of entertainment? With over 90 million units sold in its four-year lifespan. The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular current-generation consoles. Still, it’s also one of the least graphically intensive.
Some Nintendo Switch games’ simulation status is being questioned due to unrealistic graphics. I’m going to take a look at some of the most popular simulation games on the Nintendo Switch. And explain why they’re worthy of your time and attention.
Adventures in New Horizons: Animal Crossing
With its adorable, cartoon-like characters and addictive gameplay mechanics, you’ve probably seen someone playing this game while riding public transportation. Although it was released in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is already on pace to become the Switch’s top-selling game. Despite its relatively short lifespan on the market.
Considering that the previous Animal Crossing game was released in 2012, New Horizons had been a long time coming. The series’ casual gameplay style attracts gamers of all ages, genders, and levels of gaming experience. Making it one of the most diverse demographics of gamers.
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What’s the big deal?
A ‘Life Simulator’, for one key reason, the game does not have a fixed endpoint. It’s more accurate to say that in-game time moves in lockstep with real-world time. Allowing players to create an island-based virtual world that evolves in lockstep with the rest of the world.
Weather and seasons are also simulated in the game and adjust in real-time to your location on the planet.
You are given an island to manage and develop, from farming to urbanization. To put it another way, as a “all-hands on” mayor, you are in charge of overseeing. Implementing projects in a wide range of fields, from architecture and farming to urban planning and interior design. The land can be used for commercial, recreational, or residential purposes at your discretion.
The game includes a variety of ‘passive’ gameplay elements to represent a ‘lifestyle’. Aside from the construction of infrastructure to support your island’s growing population. Included in this are:
Scavenging for resources
Catching bugs and fish
Tending to plants and trees
Tourism & Traveling
In a game billed as a “Life Simulator,” it’s not surprising that there are so many features to choose from. Finally, creating your own island and allowing other players to rate and interact with it online. One of the most satisfying feature of the game. Similarly, as a player, you can leave your island and visit other players’ islands. Where you can be entertained and inspired by their unique creations and learn from their experiences.
New Horizons has plenty to do, but does it meet the definition of a life simulator? Classifying itself so ambiguously is the problem. The game currently shows how various aspects of life can be incorporated into daily routines. But there are only so many options.
A life simulator is based on survival. Still, you can’t die in Animal Crossing. There’s no option for starvation or freezing, which might emphasize your means of survival.
Last but not least, there’s the visual aesthetic and creative approach. The non-player characters (NPCs) on your island are humanoid animals that can communicate. The game sounds more like a fantasy than a life simulation at this point.
Every aspect of Animal Crossing is based on real-life mechanics.
A life simulator is an experience that is distinct from the visuals and surface-level information in the game.
The art direction and design aesthetic make the life simulator more relatable and educational for younger audiences.