Not to be comfused with the SimWhatever line of video games produced by Maxis, most sim games are in actuality no different from a PBEM (play by e-mail) game. The word sim (short for simulation) is often appended to the category of games that are taken more seriously by their players.
The three major types of people who are prone to do this are:
- Teenage girls who want to play their version of Dawson's Creek, Popular, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, or other such generic high school simulation game- but at the same time, don't want to apply the nerd's term for it (that would make THEM nerds). Unicorn games might also find themselves under this label.
- Star Trek enthusiasts who have created their own starship complete with eleventy-two individually detailed decks, a crew, asteroids, and a host of angry Klingons or Romulans or Dominion warriors or Vulcans or Borg. Apparently, it must not be a PBEM because the level of detail that they uphold is so realistic. Other well-documented science fiction traditions such as Babylon 5 and Star Wars occasionally find themselves under this category, but Star Trek is, by far, the reality that applies the term to itself.
- Adult games, referred to as a form of cooperative erotic fiction by their creators in this age of political correctness, whose players would prefer to believe that the Christmas party that the sexually frustrated office workers whose roles they are assuming could happen in reality. They use the terms sim game and role-playing more often than they use PBEM due to the association of PBEM with more traditional RPGs that don't directly involve text-based sexual relationships.