Military and Government Simulations
Military organizations were the first to realize the value of games. They started exploring the use of simulations for training purposes more than 30 years ago.
Games and sims provide engaging, interactive learning for military personnel at a lower cost than face-to-face training and allow enlistees to practice situations that could be dangerous and certainly costly to re-create. Games also teach military personnel how and why instinctive or seemingly natural actions could result in failure.
Training games, many of which send players out on “missions,” require judgment calls and expose soldiers to the likely result of their actions without disastrous or serious consequences. The games also provide opportunities for repetition of task, giving players the chance to learn the lessons of various situations.
In addition to field training, military games are used to teach personnel non combat skills. In recent years, recruitment has been a key value. America’s Army has substantially raised the profile of military life.
Sims have also been used to teach players about the operation and influence of governments. One of the earliest titles in this genre was Balance of Power, designed by Chris Crawford and published in 1985. This game allows the player to consider conflicts between governments at the height of the Cold War and apply political and policy decisions to shape outcomes, rather than focusing on warfare.
In 1987, On the Campaign Trail was developed as a tool for Kent State University’s campaign management course, and engaged students in decision-making regarding the campaigns for U.S. Senate elections between 1970 and 1986.
City-building games such as the SimCity, a series of titles published by Maxis, simulates the experience of being a mayor.
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