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Best Sim Games Under $20

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There are many so-called budget sim games that start off just under $20. Most of these budget titles aren't worth your money or the effort it takes to learn how to play them. There certainly are games under $20 that are worth buying; you just need to do a bit of research before going shopping. You may find a good game you missed when it was first released by checking the bargain bins.

1. "SimCity Societies"

Screenshot © Electronic Arts.
"SimCity Societies" does what it set out to do - to be an introduction to city building and give gamers tools to build their dream city. Gamers wanting a city management game won't be happy and should skip "SimCity Societies." This city building focuses on being a sandbox for aspiring city planners.

2. "Sid Meier's Railroads"

Sid Meier's Railroads Box Cover
Courtesy of Pricegrabber.
"Sid Meier's Railroads" is about railroad systems and getting them connected to run efficiently. Laying down track and making sure goods and transported with ease is your main job. "Sid Meier's Railroads!" introduction of game concepts gives the game a low learning curve, making it great for new players to the genre. An excellent choice for management game lovers.

3. "Plant Tycoon"

Plant Tycoon Screenshot
Screenshot © Last Day of Work.
I know, I know, growing plants? Watching plants grow? Sounds a lot like watching paint dry. "Plant Tycoon" is not the boring game it sounds like. Breeding and cross-breeding plants is far more entertaining than I imagined. The big puzzle of "Plant Tycoon" is to find the six magic plants. You don't have to sit and wait for the results of crossing breeding. Real-time play means that the plants grow while you are away from the game.

4. "The Movies"

The Movies Box Cover - Activision.
Hire actors, build sets, release movies, and help the actors become stars. "The Movies" is detailed orientated throughout the movie's creation. Not only will you run your own movie studio, you will be making your movies right in the game. The movie making part lets you create movies using sets within your studio, scripted scenes, and customize audio. If you aren't into the idea of making movies, managing the actors and buying new studios will keep you occupied.

5. "SimCity 4 Deluxe"

Box Cover © Electronic Arts.
"SimCity 4 Deluxe" includes "SimCity 4" and its expansion "Rush Hour." Every city building sim fan should own this pack. "SimCity 4" is loaded with new features, including new terrain building tools, regions, and updated graphics. If you only own one city building game this should be the one.

6. "Black and White 2"

Box Cover © Lionhead.
Ever want to play God? In "Black and White 2" you do just that. A village of people need a leader to guide them. You can give them what they need and want, you can make them work and have miserable lives. You decide between good and evil!

7. "Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection"

Courtesy of Pricegrabber.
"Zoo Tycoon 2" is a good choice for both children and adults. Gamers have to create an individual environment for each animal, so knowledge of the animal's natural habitat has to be known or searched out using the knowledge files within the game. The "Zookeeper Collection" comes with 2 of the expansion packs - "Zoo Tycoon 2 Endangered Species" and "Zoo Tycoon 2 African Adventure."

8. "IL-2 Sturmovik 1946"

Courtesy of Pricegrabber.
"IL-2 Sturmovik" is WWII flight sim game (dogfighting anyone?) first released in 2001. Since then there have been multiple versions and expansion packs. "IL-2 Sturmovik 1946" brings all the "IL- Sturmovik" games together in one collection, including "Pacific Fighters." The campaigns cover historical battles and hypothetical situations. If you haven't gotten in on the "IL-2 Sturmovik" series yet, now is a great time to do this. In this latest installment, all the previous content is included with dozens of new fighters and bombers and missions. Previous owners will have to decide if the price tag is worth 32 more fighters and new missions.

9. "Kudos Rock Legend"

Take on the role of the lead singer and manager. Pick from a selection of musicians to join your band, set up gigs, rehearse, and "write" your own music. Good choice for life simulation and business game fans as "Kudos Rock Legend" offers a different experience each time you play.

10. "Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004"

See the world from the sky by putting yourself in the pilot seat of a plane. For jets and small planes, "Flight Simulator" has continually been the best choice. "Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004" may not be the latest version available ("Microsoft Flight Simulator X is), but it is a good stepping stone for those thinking of trying out a flight sim without having to pay a high price for it. The new features of the 2004 version are: dynamic weather system, weather "themes" that create challenging flying, enhanced interactive air traffic control, and new and expanded lessons and ground school topics.
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