If there is one thing that computer game designers and sports
coaches, have in common, is that they realize the importance of
When one first looks at any good game/sim, one first looks at the
flavor, the theme. One might look at what the levels are, or what
tasks/quests are that challenge people to accomplish something.
But what is really being developed are underlying skills.
skills should be developed carefully,
one or a few at a time. Then increasingly mixed and matched,
allowing effortless use and improvisation.
Sims, unlike their cousins role-plays for example, are
interesting because they can uniquely fill this need to allow for
systematic skill building through repeated practice in a controlled
environment. This subliminity of practice is a sine que non of
developing skills, both
big and small.
You don't have to use simulations, of course. But if you don't have
practice built in, nine times out of ten, your program will be
wasting everyone's time.