What is the best life simulation games ever? It’s a tough choice There are a lot of good ones.

The first life simulation games, which came out in the early 1980s, when this old man writer was just a wee ickle baby. And there have been many good life simulation games since then.

In this list of life simulation games we’re looking at only the very best. And we welcome your input on this article.

F you know a good life simulation game to add to the list, get in touch via a comment, or on Facebook / Twitter. I’ll gladly add your suggestions to the list (if the game is good enough, of course).

Let’s do this.



The absolute best life simulation games of all time.

See the current top Life Sim Games on Amazon

The Sims Series

Platforms: Xbox, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Macintosh operating systems, Nintendo DS, Linux, GameCube

the sims games

The Sims series are the most popular life simulation games of all time. Believe it or not, The Sims series has sold over 200 million copies since 200. That makes it one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, right up there with Grand Theft Auto and Mario.

If you have never played The Sims, you will still be familiar with it. It’s the quintessential isometric life simulator. It created the template for life sim games.

There are tons of games in the Sims series. So you might also want to look at:

The Sims:

Livin’ Large

House Party

Hot Date




Makin’ Magic

Bustin’ Out

The Urbz: Sims in the City

The Sims Online[edit]


The Sims 2:



Open for Business



Bon Voyage


Apartment Life

The Sims 3

World Adventures


Late Night






University Life

Island Paradise

Into the Future

The Sims Medieval

The Sims Social

The Sims 4

Get to Work

City Living

Outdoor Retreat

Spa Day

Dine Out


Luxury Party Stuff

Perfect Patio Stuff

Cool Kitchen Stuff

Spooky Stuff

Movie Hangout Stuff

Romantic Garden Stuff

Kids Room Stuff

Backyard Stuff

Vintage Glamour Stuff

Holiday Celebration Pack



Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems, iOS

spore game art

One of the best things about life sim games is that they are so diverse. Where The Sims gives you a modern, urban life simulator, Spore does something altogether different.

In Spore you get to develop a microscopic organism right from the time that it’s a little single celled organism to when it becomes an evolved and complex animal. It doesn’t get much more “life sim” than that.

If The Sims is a game about people Spore is a game about evolution. You get to take complete control the evolution of an entire species.


Animal Crossing 

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

animal crossing art

A moment ago we were discussing how life simulation games are very versatile. Case in point: Animal Crossing. This is one of the cutest life simulation games ever. And it is yet another take on this most popular genre.

Animal Crossing is actually a lot like The Sims. You play out the life of a character. The main difference is in the style. Where The Sims is generally modern urban and takes a realistic cartoon look, Animal Crossing is cute and fantastical. And for anyone watching from the UK, it may well remind you of the classic show Button Moon (which I don’t believe ever hit North America…. If I’m wrong, let me know in a comment).

>> See more games like Animal Crossing here


Harvest Moon Series 

Platforms: Wii, Super Nintendo Entertainment System

harvest moon game

Harvest Moon is very similar to Anima Crossing. No surprise, both are SNES games.

In Harvest moon you get to play out the life of a boy running a farm. Your mission is to make the farm successful while your father is away. To do that you choose how to divide up your tasks, like farming and fishing.

Harvest moon is incredibly popular in Japan, and it has become a cult classic in the West. A lot of casual gamers aren’t aware of Harvest Moon, which is a shame, because it’s one of the best life simulators ever.



Tomodachi Collection (Tomodachi Life)

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

If you prefer your life simulation games on handheld devices you might want to check out Tomodachi Collection. It’s available on the Nintendo 3DS and is a lot like a cross between The Sims and Animal Crossing.

In Tomodachi Collection you use Miis to interact, to make friends, to complete tasks, and to generally go about living the life of a Mii. As you play you level-up your Miis, which gives you access to different rewards.

One of the best things about Tomodachi Collection is that it is flipping nuts. If you love Japanese life simulation games then you really must play Tomodachi Life.

>> see more games like Tomodach Life.



Platform: Online

wolfquest game animal sim game

Here is yet another game that proves how versatile the Life Simulator genre is. In WolfQuest you play as… you guess it, a wolf. \

WolfQuest is a 3D wildlife simulation game by Minnesota Zoo and Eduweb. Notice the “Edu” part of “Eduweb”. Wolfquest is an educational life simulation game in which you learn about wolves and how they interact with the world around them. Specifically, you learn about the wild wolf and their ecology in Yellowstone national Park.

There are lots of other games like WolfQuest too. In fact, the realistic animal simulation genre is becoming very popular at the moment.

>> More games like Wolfquest.


Princess Maker 2

Platforms: Windows, MS Dos, Playstation 2, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Saturn, PC-9800, FM Towns, 3D0, Macintosh, GP32, DOS,

princess maker 2 retro life sim game

Princess Maker 2 is one of the best life simulation games of the 90s. And it really deserved a lot more attention than it got back in the day. Not many people knew about Princess Maker 2 when it was first released. But thanks to the online gaming community and emulators, Princess Maker 2 is now quite popular.

In Princess Maker 2 you play as a war hero who is now raising a little girl. Your raise her to the age of 18, and the decisions you make along the way will affect her adult life. Make poor decisions as a parent and your daughter will suffer. Make the right decisions and she will be set for life.


Alter Ego (1986)

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web browser, Commodore 64, Macintosh operating systems, Wii, DOS, MS-DOS, Apple II, Windows Mobile

alter ego 1986 game about people

And now to go back in time to 1986, the same year Aliens, Top Gun, and Crocodile Dundee were release. And the year the next game on our list was released: Alter Ego.

Alter Ego is a role playing game / life simulator by Activision and was released for Commodore 64, MS Dos, Apple II, and Apple Macintosh (you remember when Macs actually used the name “Macintosh”? Good old days).

In Alter Ego you take control of an imaginary person and make decisions that will affect the course of their life. So in that respect, it really isn’t too different to most other life simulators. What separated it from the pack is now just that it was one of the first life sim games but also that it used psychological science to determine the affect of your decisions.

Anyone with an appreciation for retro games should definitely take a look at Alter Ego. It is arguably the most influential game on this list.

>> More games like Alter Ego.




Platforms: Amiga, MS-DOS, Super NES, Windows 3.x, Macintosh, NEC PC-9801, (Emulator)

simant life simulation game

You can sim anything. Proof: Sim Ant.

There are no prizes for guessing that in SimAnt you play as an ant. You take control of a colony of ants and must fight to eliminate the red ants in different locations, each of which has different hazards. The purpose is to spread your own ant colony around the garden and house in order to drive out the enemy ants and the humans.   

SimAnt has one of the best premises (core ideas) of any life simulation game.



Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems

kudos 2 gameplay life sim game

Kudos is a game by Positech Games, who also made Democracy (the game, not the political system). Kudos is a game like The Sims, with very similar gameplay.  The idea is that you control a virtual life character between their twentieth and thirtieth birthday. The game plays out in turns, which represent individual days. And on each turn you choose to perform certain activities. This develops your character’s life and affects their mind, mood, and body.

A sequel, Kudos: Rock Legend, improved on the original with better gameplay and art.




Viva Pinata

Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS

viva pinata game

Rare’s 2006 Viva Pinata is a life simulation game with a twist. You tend to a garden that is overrun with weeds. Your mission is to breed different colour Pinatas in order to stop the weeds from spreading.

Viva Pinata has beautiful, bright and colourful graphics and vibrant presentation, but it does suffer a bit of a hiccough in the form of a frequent autosave. Definitely not the number one life simulation game of all time, but worth a spot on this list mostly because it offers something different to the genre.



Fantasy Life

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

fantasy life game 3ds

Fantasy Life is an RPG game with life simulation elements. It was released in Japan on July 25 2013.

As you’ve probably guessed, Fantasy Life is set in a fantasy world (Reveria) which is full of cities, mountains and various landscapes. The rulers of Reveria preside over the regions and guide the citizens in their lives. But a meteorite hits the players house and sets off a chain of events (epic plot, no?).  The king asks you to investigate. And it’s here the life simulation begins.

As you investigate the situation you must complete tasks and helps the citizens. Fighting monsters will give you points, too, which you can use to level up. And as you play you gain access to different characters too.

Fantasy Life is the best life simulation game for anyone who also enjoys RPGs.


Little Computer People (1985)

Platforms: PC, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, ( Emulator )

little computer people 1985

Little Computer People (A.K.A house On A Disk) is an Activision game from 1985. Like a lot of retro games from the 1980s, Little Computer People has only one setting, which is a sideways view of a home, occupied by a character. You play that character, and you must interact with them to go about completing their everyday business.


Youtubers Life

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, iOS, Linux, macOS

youtubers life game

You guess it; in Youtubers Life you play as a Youtuber. This is a business simulation game that was released in May 2016.    It is definitely more life simulation than business sim, though, so don’t worry if you don’t like deep simulation games, because you will easily be able to play this one.

In Youtubers Life you play as a character trying to create a successful Youtube channel. You must choose the right videos to crate as well as managing your character’s life and education.

If you love life sim games and love Youtube, this is a no-brainer.


Disney Magical Worlds

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

disney magical worlds

Here’s a game you can’t help but love, the Disney life simulation game. It’s called Disney Magical World and it’s available on Nintendo 3DS.

In Disney Magical World you use your Mii to complete quests in the town of Castleton. You’ll get to go fishing, to do card collecting, to make clothes, to decorate a café… and as you play you will receive stickers that you can use to level up.

With plots taking place in Cinderella’s world, Wonderland, Hundred Acre Wood and Agrabah (my favorite is Agrobah) you will get to visit all the Disney worlds you know and love.



Second Life 

Platform: Online

second life game

You probably already know about Second Life. When it was originally released it became a real talking point. News outlets talked about how people were being pulled into a virtual life on the internet where they were losing their grip on reality. LOL. News.

Second Life is one of the most serious life simulation games that there is. You literally do everything you do in real life. In the game. You can even get married and make money which is worth actual, real money that you can spend in real store (though you will be very hard pushed to make much of it).

>> more games like Second Life.




Platform: Online

imvu game

IMVU is one of the most popular virtual world games. Compared to other virtual world games like Second Life, it is very basic. You’re in a room playing as an avatar, and there is another person in the same room with their own avatar. And you can do whatever you want to do. So, use your imagination.



Cute Knight 

Platforms: Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems, Linux

cute knight life simulation game

Cute Knight is a more casual life simulation game that has multiple endings based on the decisions you make.

In Cute Knight you play Michiko, a female character between the ages of 18 and 21. Different stats are used to determine how successfully you complete different tasks. And the better you perform your tasks the higher the job you get.

The best thing about Cute knight is the cutesy graphics. It uses hand-drawn pictures to tell the story. And the story is whacky and wonderful. This game is a total charmer.





Tamagotchi Connection  

My Baby

Singles Series

Monster Rancher

Little King’s Story 



So in short, there are a lot of good life simulation games. 

There are so many life simulation games. The genre has been popular since the mid 1980s, and since then there have been tons of different types of life sims. There are life sims about animals, about Disney, about princesses and knights, even about a garden full of weeds. Whatever type of life sim game you like, you’re really spoilt for choice.

This list has covered the best life sim games. And I invite you to share your opinion. If there is a game you would like to see added to the list, let me know.

Leave a comment.


Categories: gaming

Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.


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