May 5, 2015
The pedagogy of simulation games — city simulators in particular — is worth meditating on. They are, ostensibly, about engaging with complex (though still incredibly simplified) models, coupled with rule sets that mark discrete goals. These range from the practicable (make sure there are water lines in your new residential zone so the houses can have plumbing) to the whimsical (call down an alien invasion). By being told to use a set of tools in a particular way, an individual can be taught how to engage with a system — the system that is the game.