Von Marco Becerra - [1], CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41127458

Management simulation games might be the most addictive computer games available. They often have endless replay value, as management sims are usually open-ended and responsive to the player’s preferences and actions. Management simulation games allow players to experience managing everything from sports franchises to politics, with plenty of quirky offerings in between. Here are five unusual management sims that are quite fun to play.

  • ‘Total Extreme Wrestling’

Telling a wrestling fan that wrestling is fake is like telling a grindcore fan the music they like is just noise: they know, and that’s part of the reason they like it so much. Wrestling message boards are dedicated to dissecting the behind-the-scenes machinations that influence the on-screen product. Total Extreme Wrestling throws you into the role of a Vince McMahon type, managing the egos and demands of your roster of wrestlers while deciding who wins and loses.

TEW allows you to play with companies ranging from massive corporations with global fan-bases to tiny promotions operating out of high school gymnasiums on a shoestring budget, with the ability to download user-generated content so that you can play with real world wrestlers. TEW is an impressively deep simulation of what managing a wrestling organization involves, allowing you to make decisions regarding the level of drug testing your roster of muscle-bound wrestlers have to face, as well as negotiating deals with television networks and pay-per-view companies.

  • ‘RimWorld’

RimWorld places players in control of three colonists stranded on an alien planet following a spaceship crash. Players attempt to guide the colony toward successfully becoming large and skilled enough to gather the resources necessary to escape the planet on which they’re stranded. The twist that earns RimWorld it’s place on the list of unusual management sims is that players can choose how the game’s story unfolds.

Like most management simulation games, RimWorld allows players to adjust its difficulty settings. RimWorld also uniquely allows players to choose from one of three storytellers, each of which affects the way in which challenges to their colony’s survival arises. RimWorld’s AI storytellers can give the player new challenges in three different ways. Cassandra Classic feeds the player challenges which increase in difficulty, while Phoebe Chillax gives the player irregular challenges broken up by long periods where nothing happens, and Randy Random throws challenges at the player in unpredictable ways.

On top of this, the colonists each have their own personalities and relationships with each other, adding depth to an engrossing game that players can easily lose hours in.

  • ‘Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis’

Games which allow players to create and run their own theme parks are among the most popular management sims available. Like most game types, theme park management sims are improved with the addition of dinosaurs. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis allows Playstation 2, Xbox and PC owners to create their own dinosaur park, just like in the movies.

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is a great idea but there are a few problems in its execution. The gameplay is repetitive, with all species of dinosaurs requiring the same basic steps to be raised successfully and kept safe. Operation Genesis has been improved by the addition of user-generated content. The PC version of the game can edited more easily than most games, allowing creative players to release updates which make the game more varied and exciting, and help it reach its potential as the finest dinosaur park management sim available.

  • ‘911 Operator’

Emergency services telephone operators provide a vital service in keeping cities safe, directing police, ambulance and firefighting services to incident scenes. 911 Operator mimics the vital role these operators play, requiring users to direct the three main emergency services in response to calls they receive. Players must carefully manage the numbers of each emergency service personnel and be sure not to respond to crank calls.

911 Operator is given longevity and variety by allowing players to download maps of any city in the world to play with. There are also special challenges based in certain cities, such as responding to bomb threats in Washington, D.C., or an earthquake in San Francisco. 911 Operator, like all the best management sims, is addictive and surprisingly fun.

  • ‘Prison Architect’

Prison Architect follows the popular Bullfrog games of the ’90s, such as Theme Hospital, which require users to build and manage a facility for public use. Prison Architect is a dark and challenging take on the genre, with users required to build holding cells, install plumbing and construct execution chambers to take care of their maximum-security prisoners.

While the prison building and management aspects of Prison Architect are great, it adds more depth by allowing players to switch into playing as one of the inmates once the prison is completed. The player must then work out how to escape their own creation, using tactics such as tunneling, sneaking or starting a riot. Prison Architect also allows players to attempt to escape prisons created by others, adding to its depth and longevity.

These five games allow you to manage a wrestling company, a space colony, a dinosaur theme park, emergency service respondents and a prison. This just scratches the surface of the thousands of weird variations on management simulation games that are available. If it involves complex decision making and allocating resources, you can bet somebody’s thought about turning it into a management sim.
 

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