Real-World Game Simulators: Good for Kids?

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When it comes to video games, there’s an endless debate about whether or not kids should be exposed to them and, if so, at what age. Parents and non-parents alike have different views on what youngsters should be doing with their spare time. There are parents who refuse to have their little ones sit in front of any sort of video game. Others think they are wonderful educational and entertainment tools. Now we’re bringing to the table the idea of real-world video game simulators and whether or not they’re appropriate for children.

Video game simulators are games that are designed to simulate or imitate aspects of real life. There are a diverse range of simulators: racing, flight, dating, war, sports, construction, management and a variety of other genres. So now you’re stuck wondering if any of these are suitable for your young one. Let me answer that for you: yes and no.

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Of course, for certain age groups, certain video game simulators are far from suitable. Dating and shooter or war Sims are examples of simulators that are obviously not suitable for kids. The objective of a dating Sim is incomprehensible by a young child, and within the game itself lies the possibility that the language and other elements of the game will be too explicit.

The same goes for war simulators. ArmA is the closest to being a military combat simulator.

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Despite its bugginess, it’s meant to realistically portray elements of war and is recommended for U.S. Marines only. So unless you’re completely OK with allowing your child to play video games that are adult-rated, those kinds of simulators are too mature for young kids.

Of course, not all simulators are terrible. That would be stereotyping, and you don’t want to be that parent do you? It’s all about using your better judgment. Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo are perfect examples of racing video game simulators that are fine for kids to play.

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Your little ones – boys and girls – can learn about a variety of cars, from Honda to Audi, and how damage to a car can affect performance. You could even use the game to promote automobile safety for teenagers poised to get their driving permits in the next couple of years. Here, they can wipe out without fear of injury, death or increased insurance rates.

Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer and other sporting video games by EA are fine for children to play as well. Not only do they gain knowledge about sports and their rules, but they’ll also learn about different players and their stats as well. So, come the day the kids decide to watch football with Dad, they’ll know who’s who on the screen and exactly what the players are trying to do.

Another popular simulation video game that’s great for kids are the SimCity series. If you’ve played them before then you know they’re outrageously frustrating, but in retrospect they teach you that when running a city (or being a political figure in general), it’s downright impossible to keep everyone happy — and keep your job.

Then there are the weird simulation games that no one has ever heard about (and a few that no one wants to hear about anyway. One prime example is Surgeon Simulator.

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One would think, “Oh that sounds like a great medical simulation game!” No. Not exactly.

It’s not a terrible game, but definitely not one for tykes. Just check it out for yourself. The message here, of course, is think ahead when buying simulation games for your youngsters. If you don’t want them exposed to certain things in real life, the same rules should apply for simulation games. Here is a list of simulation games that you can look over to determine which ones you want for your child.

And if you really want to punish your youngsters, sit them in front the Penn & Teller’s Desert Bus, a real-time journey from Tucson to Las Vegas. In order to win, you have to sit in front of the computer for the full eight hours. That’s a video game experience your children will never forget. Just watching 10 minutes of it is painful.

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