Simulator games, or "sims," are an exceptional common genre represented on the Facebook platform. Anything you can think of that could possibly make a sim game is probably out on the Facebook platform somewhere. Fancy starting a new religion? Check. How about running a town full of gnomes? Check. Becoming a millionaire from running a lemonade stand business? Check. The trouble with sim games, as it always is with Facebook games, is finding games that are actually any good. Here are eight that we love.
Electronic Arts' most popular franchise has finally come to Facebook and is close to knocking CityVille from its long-standing position at the number one slot. The Sims Social is ridiculously popular, with some 51 million people playing it, so a good chance some of your friends are already onboard. As the title suggests, it's a simplified version of the Sims, with less focus on the minutiae of daily life like going to work, eating and sleeping and more on the social aspects. To progress with the game, in fact to do pretty much anything, you're going to need a little help from your friends or your wallet. Want to make a new room? You'll need three of your friends to agree to help before you can build it. Want to buy a new bath? Well, you'll need a mountain of collectibles to install it. Best way to get those? Either wait endlessly for them to come up as random drops, buy them or rely on the kindness of your friends. As a long-time Sims fan I found this incredibly frustrating and would rather just play the Sims, but it's worth checking out.
In Big Fish Games' My Tribe you take charge of a tribe of simple villagers living on a small island of your choosing. You can assign your tribe members jobs like fishing for food, building new structures and collecting materials to make them productive members of society. Your tribe members will slowly grow old and die, so it makes sense to have more babies to replace them -- just try not to think too hard about how everyone's related to each other when you do. Goodies like shells and stork feathers (which you need to make babies) appear randomly on the island and scouring the shores for them is a fun way to pass the time while you're waiting for other tasks to complete. As you play through the game you'll also get to place game machines that you can use to open up mini games (you get a certain amount of mini game plays free every day or can buy more with cash). My Tribe's a great little game in the same vein as Virtual Villagers... if you're into that kind of thing.
Can't afford a holiday this year? Not to worry, you can still the frenetic feel of traveling by playing an airport management sim instead-- no packing required. You get two sections of land to manage -- an airport part, and a city part. You use the city section for housing (which creates passengers) and shops (which create money). In the airport area you build hangers, buy planes and give permission for flights to land and take off on your runways. There are three currencies in the game -- passengers (you get them from houses), fuel (this recharges over time like energy does in other Facebook games) and gold (which you get from shops or from accepting flights). Although you level up fairly slowly, there's always something to do, as planes are constantly asking for permission to land and a steady stream of missions (mostly of the build x or collect x variety) will keep you busy. After a while it starts to ask you to hassle your friends or spend real cash, but so far -- quite a way in -- there are other ways round this to keep playing if you prefer.
With a remake of the 1987 film in the works (why? why??) and the fact that the Dirty Dancing Facebook fan page has 10 million fans, Lionsgate has decided that now is the perfect time to release a Facebook game based on the original movie. In this sim game, you get to run Kellerman's and try to make it into a successful resort. You buy attractions like dance floors, magicians and hotdog vendors to amuse your guests but the trick is that people will only spend money if they're part of a couple. To get them to hook up, you'll need to strategically drop 'romance waves' which bounce off decorations like topiary dogs, flower beds and duck ponds. You get romance waves from completing quests and by putting on dance shows. You can also buy watermelons which you can exchange for various special items or use to speed the action up. Despite its silly premise, it's actually a pretty solid game and rather addictive as Facebook sims go and is well worth a look if you like that kind of gameplay.