SimCityEdu is a new version of the popular game for schools. Students manipulate variables that affect a city's growth, and see the results of their decisions evolve before their eyes.
Cognitive Scientist Andy Clark suggests in his book, Natural Born Cyborgs, that SimCity may be good for learning about emergent complex systems, including our own brains:
"gently manipulating a few variables, such as zoning and land prices, you may be able to bring about some effect, for example, to encourage the building of a new shopping mall. The domino effects here will surprise you, as new ghettos and high crime areas emerge in its wake. The bigger the city, the more complex the interactions. The skill of “growing” a thriving, happy city is precisely the skill of embracing co-control. It is the skill of respecting the flow, while subtly encouraging the stream in some desired direction.
"StarLogo, SimCity, and its recent companion “The Sims” are designer environments that can help biological brains learn to get to grips with decentralized emergent order. They can help us develop skills for understanding those peculiar kinds of complex systems of which we ourselves are one striking instance. Experience with such tools should be compulsory elements in our educational practice."