VOTE NOW! The Tom's Hardware Community Choice PC Games: Best Simulators

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Feb 28, 2016

The Tom's Hardware Community Choice PC Games: Best PC Simulators

Are we living in a new "golden age" for PC Gaming? Of course, it is impossible to give a definitive answer. The distance of time and a heaping dose of nostalgia are both necessary prerequisites for any "golden age". And, while it may be easy to argue the merits of one generation over another, one thing is abundantly clear: PC Gaming in 2017 is more widespread and more accessible than ever before. The maturation of digital distribution, a new diversity of platforms, and the adoption of x86 CPU architecture by console manufactures have together, created the perfect environment for a PC Gaming renaissance.

PC Gamers have access to more games than ever before, including overlooked titles from past generations and current games that would have been either too costly or too difficult to port. Games are so ubiquitous that you're more likely to hear complaints of having too many games, rather than too few. The number of "good" games is now so great that even the hardest of the most hardcore gamers struggle in their search to find the very best.

To help navigate this brave new world for gaming, Tom's Hardware is in the process of assembling the definitive list of PC games in a number of genres. We've already put a few lists together, but the number of titles is lacking. While the Tom's Hardware Editorial team is few in number, the Tom's Hardware Community is legion. With your input we hope to assemble a list of the best and worst PC games that can truly be called definitive.

Over the next few weeks we'll be collecting Community feedback across multiple categories. Once we have a sufficient number of submissions, we'll have the Community vote on the most popular, with a showcase of the winning games on the Tom's Hardware homepage.

This thread will decide the definitive list of best PC Simulators.

To help get you started here are the Editorial Team's list of best PC simulator games.

We know that this list is just a start. Do you have any suggestions? Please comment below and give us your best picks.
Well we are in the Golden Age again but GPU shortages and outrageous prices have prevented people from upgrading so that has put a big damper on PC gaming today - some are even buying AAA games for their console because they need a GPU upgrade. With that said, I'd break it down into a few segments with two selections each:

Racing Simulator - Asseto Corsa & Race Room Experience
Driving Simulator - Euro Truck Simulator 2 & American Truck Simulator
Combat Flight Simulator - Jane's F-15 & F/A-18
Civilian Flight Simulator - FSX & X-Plane 11


Feb 12, 2007
Isn't "simulator" too broad? I mean, that list has two building/management games, one driving game and two flight games. Cities: Skylines and Project Cars 2 are completely different games. Which one is better: Theme Hospital or Dirt Rally?

I believe you should split into two categories, or be broader into the description (what is a simulator, anyway?)

Anyway, my picks:
Dirt 2
Euro Truck Simulator 2
SimCity 2000
Rollercoaster Tycoon 2
Transport Tycoon


Jun 23, 2015
I'm just here to second:
Combat Flight Simulator - Jane's F-15 & F/A-18

They were the best I've ever played. I never did manage to pull off a mid-air refueling in the F/A-18. Something about catching that damned drogue. I just couldn't keep steady enough!

Olle P

Apr 7, 2010
Kerbal Space Program. A great way to learn the basics of space travel.

Steel Beasts. More of a professional armored combat simulator than a game. The latest version(s) is decidedly aimed at military customers.


My Favorite so far? Sims 3, hands down. Can't go wrong with a good building/life simulator.


Here are my best picks in simulation games in alphabetical order (it's a long list since i love simulation games :D ):

18 Wheels of Steel series (8x games in series)
American Truck Simulator
Empire TV Tycoon
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Cities: Skylines
Farming Simulator 17
Game Dev Tycoon
Gold Rush: The Game
Hard Truck 2: King of the Road
Hard Truck: Apocalypse / Ex Machina
Hard Truck: Apocalypse: Rise Of Clans / Ex Machina: Meridian 113
Mad TV (1991)
Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)
Sid Meier's Civilization 1, 3 and Alpha Centauri
Sims 3
Snap-On Gearhead Garage: The Virtual Mechanic
Spintires: MudRunner
Street Hacker
Plague Inc: Evolved
PC Building Simulator
Railway Empire
RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)
Theme Hospital
Tiny Rails
Transport Tycoon Deluxe
Uplink: Hacker Elite


Sep 23, 2015
Power & Revolution - Geo-political Simulator 4
Flight Simulator X
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game
Mars Colony - Challenger
PC Building Simulator
Tower!3D Pro
Project Cars 2 as best simulator (racing category) by the Editorial Team? Hmmm.... you guys aren't real PC sim racers then
;). I would submit Assetto Corsa or RaceRoom Experience for that (RRE was developed from Simbin's GTR2/GTR2 Evolution sims and supposed to have been GTR3). PCars2 is modified for console controller use and the car handling is nowhere near as realistic as the aforementioned.

And while the AI cars are smarter in PCars 2 than they were/are in PCars1 (which I was an early release "investor" of), PCars2 still needs work on their AI. Especially with brake checking in turns. Now iRacing is a top notch sim racer too (as real racing teams use it for training including F1 teams), but it's online only for we lowly consumers which for me kills it as a best-of sim title. I like to race offline against AI.

Edit: Has this been stickied or something staying at the top of a forum category? I thought for sure it would have generated more traffic than it has in a month by now. So many of us are gamers and all.
^^Reminds me of the days when PC Gamer magazine would issue a CD of game demos with every month's magazine. I still have many dozens of them and RCT is on their June 1999 monthly issue demo CD. It was a blast but I had so many games going on and was so busy in my life at that era, I never even found the time to complete half of them before the next cool thing came out. Took me years to go back and finish many of them.
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