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Games & Simulations for Historians

 

simcity5

Ohhhh Sim City; quite possibly the most frustrating and satisfying simulator that will have you ripping your hair out and crying for joy at the same time.  The newest installation of Sim City offers fresh graphics, online play and a plethora of new buildings. The challenge for players is to build a city that will constantly be making money and expanding while minimizing damages and keeping the populace happy. The difficulty arises when tough decisions about managing your available funds arise. Should I make a bigger police force to lower crime? Or hire more firefighters so that my industry stops burning down. (Side note: my roommate had a store that went out of business due to crime, yet it was right beside the police station, which one of the many “oh C’MON” Radioactivemoments in Sim City) Indeed, city management offers players meaningful play as it tasks them to not only be economically responsible but also to make practical decisions when locating buildings. (Putting a nuclear power plant beside a school is not good planning) What makes Sim City work so well is that players can witness the behaviour space of city planning and learn from mistakes. There are so many outcomes that this simulator can throw at you  which will help the player learn when constructing a new city. Going back to a January class, one of the major objections to simulations is that they can only do what we program it to do. However, this supposed limitation works brilliantly in SimCity as it allows us to figure out the consequences and benefits of placing industry/commercial/residential buildings in certain locations within the city.

-Matt Becktead

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