Genre of computer game
that places the player in the role of a deity
or similarly endowed being.
The general format of these games is an overhead view of the world map, on which your worshippers / subjects roam. You normally get no direct control over the little people. It's the job of the player to manipulate the world using their devine powers in order to allow their devotees to flourish, build houses, and farm the land. OK, sounds easy? But there's another god out there who has exactly the same idea, and is raising his own people who inevitably wage war on your guys. Herein lies the game. You have to get your people to a higher technology level, keep them better fed, and ensure that they're more numerous than their opposition. In addition to this, you get to unleash nasty stuff on the unbelievers and their homes. All the usual biblical stuff like floods, volcanoes, rains of sulphur an' such like. This is the bit most people look forward to. ;) I say "normally no direct control", but this varies from game to game. Most allow you to give your people general orders like "build" or "fight," while in others, you can give their lives more specific directions, such as "research this type of weapon."
Good examples of this genre are Populous and Mega-Lo-Mania. The creators of the former, Bullfrog Productions, built their success producing this type of game, many of the founders have left to go off and make bigger better god sims. God sims work best on computers, but they have translated to consoles with varying degrees of success, and you occasionally see an example of the genre originating on a console platform.