Representation Vs Simulation

When looking at representation in comparison to simulation it is important to understand what each means.


Representation is defined as:

the expression or indication by some term, character, symbol, or the like”.

In simpler terms, representation is the act of using symbols, characters etc to indicate or evoke a specific thing.

An example of this is Farmville: a video game that lets players tend to a farm. They drag, drop and tap objects in the game world to water plants, harvest crops and build.

unnamedIn the real world a crop cannot be harvested by simply tapping it but within Farmville it can. Therefore, the action of tapping represents harvesting a crop.


Simulation is defined as

imitation or enactment of the behavior or characteristics of one system through the use of another system“.

This means that a process is being fully acted out or visualised.

An example of this is Farming Simulator: a video game that lets players tend to a farm. They operate farm equipment to plow fields, sow seeds, water and harvest the crop.

2831908-farming4Just like in the real world, the player must take the time to operate the farm equipment to painstakingly plow, sow, water, fertilize, harvest and store a crop. They do this by driving a vehicles and manually directing them along the rows. In this case, tending a field in game simulates the act of tending a field in real life.


Both of these games are sent in a realistic (i.e. not fantastical) setting and let players tend to a farm. The differences, of course, are that Farmville is more representation of farming while Farming Simulator is more of a simulation.

Farmville uses shortcuts, such as tapping or swiping, to represent the complex action of harvesting a crop. These shortcuts take something complex and make it simple. In doing so, the player is able to feel as though they have taking the action without actually go through all of its complex motions. These shortcuts represent realistic actions without being so. This saves on time and helps stop the game from becoming tedious.

Farming Simulator does not use shortcuts but rather uses the system of the video game to allow the player to enact tending a farm. The video game system allows them to manually control, drive and operate farming equipment. Thus, when tending to a field, the player must go through all the actions that a real farmer would take. In this sense, the game system simulates the real experience. By doing so, the player experiences the activity in a very realistic and hands on way.

Evidently, both representation and simulation can be used in realistic settings for different outcomes.

REFERENCES (2016). Representation. Retrieved from (2016). Simulation. Retrieved from