Virtual people games allow kids to create one or more characters and see these characters through their daily lives. By their very nature, these games often don’t hold too much appeal for younger children as they require a lot of attention to detail.
The Sims is the classic example of virtual people games. It was first released in 2000, and as of 2010 is in its third incarnation. The Sims allows users to create families of virtual people and nurture them through their lifespan. Sims characters must be bathed and fed, sent off to work to earn a living, and directed through social interactions to find friends and romantic partners. The first version of the game was pretty tame, but the Sims have gotten friskier as they’ve aged. The game is rated T and is appropriate for teens. The Sims is available wherever computer games are sold.
A virtual people game that is appropriate for children of any age is the Oregon Trail game. There are currently five editions, but most users seem to agree that the second one was the best. It is still available for sale on Amazon. The Oregon Trail game allows users to create a character, join a wagon party, and safely shepherd their group along the hazardous Oregon Trail of 1848. Characters hunt and pick berries for food, barter for supplies with traders, and manage crises such as illnesses and broken wagons. It’s a history lesson and a fun playing experience.
Human Age is another history game that allows users to guide their character through different historical ages. Though far less accurate than the Oregon Trail game (it has humans interacting with dinosaurs) it’s still a lot of fun. It’s recommended for kids over the age of ten.