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I tried a demo. for one of those truck simulators, and there was no vehicle damage included. I think they should include such damage, to make it as realistic as possible. It would give people who don't have a driving licence yet, but want to practice, a sense of the dangers involved in taking a vehicle onto the roads.
The same reason why military simulators are so popular.
The same reason why fighting alien invasion simulators are so popular.
The same reason why fighting simulators are so popular.
The same reason why driving/racing simulators are so popular. (I spent the past year commuting an hour both ways for work and people think racing cars in Forza is fun? After 600+ hours of driving in the past year alone, the fact that people can find racing games appealing is mind boggling to me /rant)
Do not think the comparison is fair. All of these put you in exciting environments and situations you would never encounter in real life, and have appealing gameplay elements. The typical simulator has neither imho.
I think it is a fair question to ask what the appeal is in these simulators. OP was not disrespectful or negative toward them. I think the aggressive response in this thread is uncalled for.
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"Job" sims appeal to a very different demographic of people than most other video games. I know a dude who loves trains, so plays Train Sim 2, and that's the only video game he plays. He doesn't normally care for sitting in front of a PC watching moving pictures, but if it has to do with trains then he's in. He knows the real-world history of all the trains in the game and gets kicks looking for places where the sim made mistakes or inaccuracies from the real thing. He tries to simulate real world usage by driving at appropriate times of day (in-game) on appropriate routes.
TLDR: Completely different demographic. When you realize how little in common some of us have with other video game players, you will understand how vast the industry really is.