Video games tend to be regarded as an escapist form of entertainment, allowing us to switch off from the annoyances of everyday life and immerse ourselves in fantastic other cultures. So why, then, would you ever want to play a game that simulates the mundanity of a “normal” existence, whatever that is?
That’s because “mundane” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “boring,” of course. And the types of games collectively known as “life sims” prove this fairly aptly, as anyone who has ever enjoyed any of the games we’re going to talk about today will attest. Although the term “life sim” is used as an umbrella description, it’s actually a fairly misleading one, as there are a diverse array of different interactive experiences that fall into that category — some of which are more well-known than others.
Broadly speaking, “life sims” tend to be one of two different types: freeform sandbox simulators, and stat-centric life sims with a degree of “direction” about them, though there’s a degree of overlap in many cases. Let’s have a look at both categories, including some prominent (and not-so-prominent) examples of both.