occurred for television and film. As a result, the descriptions of genres provided—listed below—should be taken as a general framework.

  • Desktop simulation games

  • War games

  • Puzzles

  • Adventure

  • Role-playing games

  • Action

  • First-person shooters

  • Strategy

  • “God” games and other simulation games

  • Alternate-reality games

  • Serious games

Desktop Simulation Games

Since the dawn of computer games there have always been games best described more as “simulations” in that they tended to be purposely built scaled software models of real-world systems or devices. While simulation may fit the definition of many computer games in the world of computer and video games, a simulation game is more often than not a nonfiction vehicle simulation usually of military persuasion. That said, the world of computer game simulations is increasingly filled with games that use the core design pattern of desktop vehicle simulation but that feature fictional vehicles such as X-Wing Fighters and futuristic tanks, among others. Some entire genres of games are quite simulative but from a genre distinction standpoint are grouped under different banners, such as sport games (see Madden Football), racing games (see Need for Speed or DIRT), and many strategy titles (e.g., SimCity, Rise of Nations).

In the simulation genre as defined mostly by vehicle simulation, the computer games world has had a fair amount of activity. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator has been a widely respected simulation product that even saw some derivative usage for large nonentertainment simulation usage (as Microsoft ESP) before the entire product and its derivatives were recently shut down in a reorganization of Microsoft’s games business. Throughout the years the games industry has produced strong desktop simulations of F-15/16/18 fighters and many other aircraft, various tanks, naval ships (PHM Pegasus, Strike Fleet), space vehicles, civilian cars, and much more. Originally these simulations were fairly scaled compared to counterparts on workstation systems or higher end computing systems only available to government or large corporate customers. However, paralleling the rise of desktop computing as it supplanted these systems, the core computer games simulation genre has itself matured considerably. There is little difference in graphics and some game play modeling with today’s desktop simulations of vehicles and those played on non-personal computer (PC) systems. The architectures are now fairly unified and the software is at times almost the same, the only distinction being some level of realism and graphical response made possible by parallel computing platforms running the same software at a higher resolution and with more modeling or graphical effects turned on.

Like the war games genre, the “pure simulation” genre in computer games is a smaller percentage of the overall games market, as other genres like sports, action games, and so forth, have arisen. This has placed the simulation genre in a more niche realm, which while smaller in some market-size respects



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