Short of Doing, Pretending Has Always Been the Next Best Teacher.
It is true that entertaining the option of being an entrepreneur is a matter of motivation and risk-taking more than skill set, but games that simulate starting a business can give anyone a taste of what it’s like.
Games like Gazillionaire simulates situations that teach the basic ideas around supply and demand, profit margins, managing risk, interest rates, realistic ideas about cost, and overhead.These games simulate situations which could be painfully risky in real life, but they are simply fun when played with no more real risk than checkers. They do not teach from the lesson-plans of the school of hard knocks.
- A good business simulation helps inexperienced people understand the basic principles and the necessities around such ideas as paying interest on loans, costs of advertising, converting basic business ideas from abstract to concrete.
- Good simulation games often set the simulation in a completely fantasy scenario. The game wants to eliminate any confusion between reality and fantasy. The fantasy setting is designed to stimulate the imaginations of the players to facilitate the imaginative learning process. They should not be seen as exercises in reality but designed to get people excited.
- Business simulations are designed to stimulate interest as a first test of ambition, to hint at the opening of real doors.
- The games do not teach what to do. They give players a taste of business ideas and operations.
Sometimes people who have a real ambition to start a business try out their motivations and their skills on business simulation games as well.
- Capitalism was originally introduced in 1995. The Harvard and Stanford business schools considered it an accurate business simulator and used in their educational programming. The latest entry in that series is Capitalism Lab. This game does not lock a player into a single industry. It allows the player to expand into marketing, real estate, manufacturing, purchasing, and retail, real business categories. This is not a game for someone just looking to have some light entertainment in a simulation. It is billed as a “hardcore” business simulation. It is best played by those really looking to learn something about running a business.
- Cities: Skylines uses the example of running a city as a stand-in for running a business, except that the player becomes a kind of executive dictator with a lot more power than any city mayor would have. Players can build and destroy as they see fit. The main challenge is running your budget, keeping city employees happy, and remaining attractive to your population (who stand-in for customers). The game can be modified to include industrial space over which the mayor has regulation control.
- Farming Simulator gives potential entrepreneurs a look at life on a farm. Farming is treated as a business. Players deal with spreadsheets showing profit and loss for each of the crops as well as livestock and forestry. The players make decisions about equipment purchase or lease, the best gain for their harvests and stock sales, and planning season over season.
- Founders is a genuine entrepreneurial simulation. This browser-based game makes the player the founder of a startup. Challenges go from making up the name of the company, and a trademark, establishing a mission statement and a corporate culture, facing decisions about pay rates and keeping employees happy.
- Gam Dev Story is less an entrepreneurial adventure than a career change adventure. The player is put in charge of a game studio which he or she will try to build with the ambition of selling millions of games and creating a game empire. Beyond simply seeing to the creation of the games, the player deals with every aspect of the game industry: hiring and training creatives, advertising, licensing, finding office space. The game has a rich historic verisimilitude.
Capitalism Lab continues to evolve to keep adding truly innovative gameplay features to the game, further cementing its reputation as the best business simulation game ever released. Please contact us to learn more about how business simulation games could spark changes in how you think about business.