Sims of sims: 10 ways to escape from escapism

Back in the day we got our thrills by physically pretending to do things we couldn’t actually do. We drove go-karts to simulate NASCAR racing and bashed our LEGOs into each other while saying “PEW PEW PEW!” because we didn’t have any TIE fighters on hand. Then videogames came along and were all like, “You wanna blow up some TIE fighters?” and we were like, “Yeah we do,” and they were like, “Well check this shit out,” and that was great.

After a while, however, even that got a bit tiresome, and as we got older and our disdain for doing things grew, game publishers caught on. That’s why we can now pretend to pretend to do things, distancing ourselves from actual activity as thoroughly as modern technology will allow. As evidence, here are 10 games that don’t let you pretend to be a soldier, a star athlete or anything remotely cool, but do let you pretend to pretend to be them, which is just what we always wanted.

What it simulates: Paintball
What its simulation is a simulation of: Actual combat

War isn’t particularly fun when it’s real, which is why most of us choose to play war games over actually enlisting and getting shot at. Paintball is great for that, and you definitely won’t get the same adrenaline rush from playing CoD 4. But that’s actual paintball. A game based on paintball is just the same as any other shooter except that it simulates something you could go do right now.

Above: The green blob monsters are bleeding rainbow juice! What do you mean there are no monsters in this game?


What it simulates: Babysitting
What its simulation is a simulation of: Actual parenthood

Parenthood is one of the most demanding and rewarding aspects of human existence. It isn’t absurd that games would be designed simulate our primal desire to reproduce and care for offspring. It is absurd to pretend to pretend to be a parent.

Above: It’s just like we’re really taking care of someone else’s kids while they do something fun, except we don’t get paid


What it simulates: Kart Racing
What its simulation is a simulation of: Car racing

How did we miss kart racing’s transition from a scaled down, casual version of racing and “something to do on the weekend”  to a professional sport? Not that there’s anything wrong with “karting” gaining legitimacy… except that climbing into a tiny car and skimming across the ground seems slightly less cool than revving the engine of a sports car. But if you like getting dust and pebbles kicked in your face, this could be your sport.

Above: This game boasts “Game play that captures the speed, adrenaline and thrills of Kart racing.” It does not, however, capture the cramped legs and embarrassment

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  • usmovers_02 - January 31, 2009 2:29 p.m.

    Greg Hasting Tournament Paintball IMO is one of the best games ever made. It actually has a working and really intuitive control scheme which gives you almost complete and fluid control over your body which is what you need to play paintball with any degree of success. I can understand why some people might consider it a simulation of combat and thats even the way the game started. In the woods with "sniper" style markers and gilly suits. You might here a shot every 10 mins. While thats fun its just WAY too slow to be the true sport of paintball. Real paintball is played on tight courses with air bunkers with paint flying like crazy. I've played a lot of FPS's that claim to be just like real war and NONE of them feel at all like a good game of paintball does. That's why I don't consider it a war simulator.
  • CoD_22 - January 31, 2009 12:55 p.m.

    Why no sims? thats probably the most obvious sim of real life!
  • fergfighter - January 30, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    am i the only one, EXTREMELEY confused
  • SirBonkers - January 30, 2009 7:56 p.m.

    Good stuff!! I have always been baffled by the paintball and go-cart games. Glad to see I am not alone. By the way "all the speed of Karting" that cracks me up.I can go experience "all the speed of a Karting" in my Honda on the way to work.
  • MacGyver1138 - January 30, 2009 7:36 p.m.

    I have never understood why a paintball video game would be made when someone could put in any FPS and get the experience paintball is simulating. Not to mention most of the paintball video games get crappy reviews. I hadn't ever thought about the others, so thanks!
  • Shellghost - January 30, 2009 10:34 a.m.

    yea i play paintball, it is an acuall sport and way more fun than any other sport :P ReCaptcha: Finger Prune ... O.o
  • usmovers_02 - January 30, 2009 5:17 a.m.

    Paintball is not a simulation of combat. It is another sport of it's own, just like Football, Baseball, Hockey, and others. Ask anybody who plays paintball (and not woodsball, there is a difference) and they'll say the same thing.
  • triforcerpgfreek - January 30, 2009 4:37 a.m.

    smack down vs. raw funny
  • Cwf2008 - January 30, 2009 2:21 a.m.

  • Ninja-KiLLR - January 30, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    i like solitarie
  • Z-man427 - January 29, 2009 10:45 p.m.

    What it simulates: The classic card game What its simulation is a simulation of: Having friends i nearly pissed myself
  • DawgsFan117 - February 1, 2009 1:40 a.m.

    Oh and usmovers_02 you do realize that people arnt debating whether paintball is a simulation of war because its a well known fact that thats exactly what it is. Lets see each person has a GUN which they use t SHOOT people on the opposing side in order to TAKEOUT or KILL them. Sounds like war to me.
  • DawgsFan117 - February 1, 2009 1:36 a.m.

    Z-man427 What it simulates: Someone that thinks its cool to repeat parts of the article even though we all obviously read it. What that simulation is a simulation of: Someone with a life.
  • demo117 - January 31, 2009 1:27 a.m.

    paintball games get bad reviews because only certain people like them like me.p.s.i own at paintball
  • Taxtm - January 30, 2009 7:24 p.m.

    God, I could go on a rant for hours on how ridiculous it is that those baby games are still being produced, but I'm gonna keep my mouth shut on this one. Great article!
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - January 30, 2009 6:23 p.m.

    RC-PRO AM isnt the only RC racing game. Another is ReVolt. It's like RC racing but with more explosions =) And this was my ReCaptcha : "Philadelphia, Tells" - I mean COME ON!
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - January 30, 2009 5:31 p.m.

    Yes, paintball is a sport, one that I said is really fun. But if shooting fake bullets at people isn't a simulation of combat, what is?
  • noobeater - January 30, 2009 4:17 p.m.

    i play paintball and its a sport but it is a sport of simulation oh and a 'hah' to the solitaire i like this article but the baby games are clogging up the gaming market great article
  • danowat - January 30, 2009 1:07 p.m.

    A vast percentage of todays world class racing talent cut their teeth in karts. Karting is a bonifide sport in it's own right
  • AMayer - January 30, 2009 4:02 a.m.

    This is why the world needs GamesRadar. ReCaptcha: Henrike Mike

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