Life Simulation games (or artificial life games) involve living or controlling one or more artificial lives. A life simulation game can revolve around individuals and relationships, or it could be a simulation of an ecosystem.
Biological simulations may allow the player to experiment with genetics, survival or ecosystems, often in the form of an educational package. An early example is SimLife, while relatively recent ones are Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis and Spores. In other educational simulations such as Wolf, the player “lives the life” of an individual animal in a relatively realistic way. Hailed as one of the greatest life simulation games, however, is Creatures, Creatures 2, Creatures 3, where the player breeds generations of a species in a hugely detailed ecosystem.
Unlike other genres of games, god games often do not have a set goal that allows a player to win the game. The focus of a god game tends to be control over the lives of people, anywhere from micromanaging a family to overseeing the rise of a civilization.
Pet-raising simulations or digital pets focus more on the relationship between the player and one or few life forms. They are often more limited in scope than other biological simulations. This includes popular examples of virtual pets such as Tamagotchi, the Petz series, and Nintendogs.
Social simulation games base their gameplay on the social interaction between multiple artificial lives. The most famous example from this genre is Will Wright’s The Sims. Dating sims and Romance simulation games fall under this category.