“Mechanical toys, as well as autonomous toys, hold a different promise, a different type of fascination. The mechanical toy and its close relative, the procedural toy (understood in a narrow sense as those mechanical toys implemented with computers and focused on simulating systems), are paradoxical objects that put their users in the double role of performer and voyeur. Mechanical and procedural toys are fascinating because they don’t require us; they seem to be playing on their own. We play with them to see how they behave, how they react. Sim City is a magnificent spectacle, a toy that can operate on its own while tempting us to tinker with its parameters to both see and understand what happens — and all the while, creating a feeling of otherness, a playful microcosm that we, as observers and tinkerers, want not to inhabit but to observe.”
— Sicart, Miguel. Play Matters. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014.