Play the sim card
By Mark Blackmore
"A look at what’s on sale on the games shelves can be depressing: race that, kill this, yet another football game. But then you see a game that reminds you why gaming may one day infect and eventually ingest everything.
Avanquest Software are releasing SpaceStationSim for the PC. It’s an attempt to reproduce the life of the NASA head of operations, the idea being that you create an international space station in orbit, train your crew and maintain its existence.
This game is notable because NASA is involved. The station you design, however it turns our, will be built from reproductions of real ISS modules, provided by NASA’s Canadian, European, Japanese and Russian partners. It’s as authentic as it can be, and if you manage to successfully maintain a station, and its crew, as it orbits Earth at 175,000 km/h, you’ll have done so having conformed to principles that also apply in real life.
SpaceStationSim on its own is enough to give you visions of kids doing cosmological maths for fun, but it is not alone. Want to learn how to fly an F-16 combat jet? Falcon 4.0: Allied Force won’t allow you to defend freedom straight away, but it will provide one hell of a head start.
The road signposted ‘Our children’s educational future’ is heading for real-world simulations: experiencing anything and going anywhere in safety, while learning everything you need for any profession. Not such a bad trade-off for putting up with a few more football games."
- BBC Focus Magazine - 'The world's best science & technology monthly'