Lab 1.0: Theme and Simulation

Theme and Simulation

Theme describes the way a game conveys its setting. Theme is an important part of the appeal of a game. Monopoly's rules aren't really about real estate, but it has the theme of a real estate game: named properies, little plastic houses and hotels, play money, and so on. Even chess has it's theme: pieces are named for parts of a medieval heirarchy, and it's easy to think of the game as a battle between kingdoms. Compare chess to go, which is a similar game but has almost no theme at all.

On the other hand, simulation is about making the game work like something in real life. Monopoly doesn't simulate real estate well, which is why it's so easy to make a zillion other versions of the game. Then there are games like Combat Commander: Europe, which simulates a World War II battle, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, simulating fire fighters rescuing victims from a burning house. Simultaion can also provide some education, if it's done right.