"War as a video game — what better way to raise the ultimate soldier?"Showing up mostly in Science Fiction settings, the Virtual Training Simulation is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — a training session, or perhaps an exam, set in virtual reality. It can be done by having the participants put on VR helmets or similar equipment and having the perspective switch to inside of the simulation. Virtual training via Holograms, often made of Hard Light, is also possible. Often also involve Artificial Outdoors Display. May get dangerous if a Holodeck Malfunction occurs. If it is dangerous or becomes so on a regular basis, it is also a Deadly Training Area. Can be used for a Danger Room Cold Open or an Unwinnable Training Simulation. See also Cyberspace.
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Anime and Manga
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's manga, the title character constructs a virtual training environment inside her head with the help of a Magitek computer and uses it for combat training without compromising her civilian muggle guise.
- Also, a borderline example in StrikerS: the Riot Force 6 constructs a virtual training environment for the Forwards, however, said environment is made of magical Hard Light, so it is actually very real until dispelled.
- Early on in Neon Genesis Evangelion there's a scene where Shinji is training to fire the Eva's assault rifle by shooting virtual Angels. The same scene appears in Rebuild of Evangelion but with some notable changes, mainly that instead of Shinji actually piloting his Eva and firing the gun in the training room, he pilots a simulation body (a limbless Eva unit hooked up to the VR program).
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED has the Dominion undergo a simulated battle under Natarle Badgiruel's command. While Natarle proves herself more than capable, her crew does not, the Dominion is sunk, and the simulation ends.
- Macross Frontier has Alto losing horribly in one as part of his Training from Hell from Mikael, who deliberately turned up the difficulty.
- The "Danger Room" of the X-Men was originally basically just an obstacle course, but in the later issues it was rebuilt into one of these, using holographic technology.
- In Pouvoirpoint, because of the growing threat of Proximian attack, the crew of starship Entreprise-2061 has carry out self-defense training in the gym room, in the form of a Capture the Flag game set in a virtual jungle. Players wear big VR glasses and use Amiga joysticks.
- Die Another Day puts 007 in a VR training scenario where he gets to play Shoot the Hostage with M.
- The Matrix.
- Toys. Pretty much the point of the film (namely that it's a bad idea, at least to do it to children).
- The Last Starfighter. An apparent ordinary arcade game turns out to be one of these, both a training device and a recruiting tool to find promising pilots.
- In Artemis Fowl, the LEP are trained with these. Holly Short passed one of her exams by shooting the projector, technically defeating all the enemies.
- Ender's Game. Mostly.
- Several in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
- The "Redemption Scenario" in the X-Wing Series is used as the final exam to enter Rogue Squadron. In a Mythology Gag, Mike Stackpole based it on an infamous level in the X-Wing PC game.
- In Wraith Squadron, the Wraith inductees are put through a simulation based on the TIE ambush that, earlier in the book, killed Myn Donos' entire squadron. A different simulation (the attack on the first Death Star with a couple star destroyers added) is used to check whether a Talz entrant can handle killing. The brain scans say no, and Wedge recommends him for a transfer to a freighter piloting job.
- In the Honor Harrington series, these are shown being used both at Saganami Island and by ships in space to train personnel, used at times as a Danger Room Cold Open. The gravity manipulation that's de rigeur for the series allows them to simulate things like losing gravity generation and the ship shaking when taking significant damage.
- In The Lotus Eaters, Admiral Wallenstein uses a VR training station to get the Earl of Care up to speed on commanding a starship, as Wallenstein's promotion just before the Earl was put under her left the United Earth Peace Fleet ship she was previously commanding without a CO.
- In the Cat Planet Cuties light novels, the Catians have holodecks that look exactly like one out of Star Trek when not active. At least, that's the look chosen in the anime version.
Live Action TV
- The Star Trek universe has the holodecks which, as the name implies, use holograms.
- Ditto for the simudeck on the Astro Megaship in Power Rangers in Space. In addition to having most of the same purposes as the Star Trek holodecks, it was also a clever way of using Megaranger footage that would otherwise have been unsuitable.
- The Stargate SG-1 episode "Avatar" revolves around the beta test of a simulator created using Imported Alien Phlebotinum from "Gamekeeper". It goes into a full-blown Holodeck Malfunction when Teal'c sits in the chair.
- Inverted in Star Trek: The Next Generation; the "Battle Simulation" mission requires the player to shoot (physical) pinballs at targets on the playfield.
- The premise of the vertical shmup Image Fight.
- Psychonauts features teachers who construct training landscapes inside their minds, then allow students to enter them to learn Psychic Powers.
- In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time virtual training rooms (video games) are implied to be quite popular. The tutorial takes place inside one.
- A big part of the plot of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Other games include VR training.
- Used in the James Bond game Everything or Nothing.
- Often used in Spider-Man games.
- In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, a VR course teaches the player the basics of using two gadgets.
- It's part of the backstory of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn game that you're a "telegeneral" leading your troops from a computer screen, as if you're playing a Real-Time Strategy game, and thet you were first flagged as potential command talent because the GDI and NOD are monitoring online strategy games for that reason.
- Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, being a parody of Star Trek, starts with Roger in a Kobayashi Maru-like simulation in the StarCon Academy before beind discovered by Captain Raems T. Quirk and kicked out. Unlike the Trek version, though, this is a one-man simulation.
- In Space Quest 6: The Spinal Frontier, Roger uses a holo-cabana onboard the SCS DeepShip 86 to load a training program for the Vulgar nerve pinch.
- The tutorial levels for the second System Shock are this, taking place in Cyberspace.
- Red trains using these halfway through Solatorobo. The scenarios within are based on his subconscious, so they recycle parts of his adventure thus far, as well as unlocking the repressed memories of his origins.
- The home computer versions of Strider seems to follow the official story. However, completing the fifth stage (by destroying Mecha Pon) reveals that Strider was performing a simulation in preparation for the actual battle, and that his skills will become handy when the real invasion starts. The ending also recycles images, implying that the villains General Mikiel and Tong Pooh were praising Strider for completing the simulation.
- Much like The Last Starfighter, Ryusei Date's storyline in Super Robot Wars Original Generation starts with his being recruited to become a mecha pilot based on his performance with a video game created to train and scout prospective recruits. Military-grade simulators are also referred to in several cutscenes.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo let's you play through all of Neo's training simulations, including the fight with Morpheus and an altered version of the jump program.
- In M.U.G.E.N one of the two default stages that comes with the game is the "Training Room", which is based off these.
- Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death: A variation in the tutorial level—the training area itself is real, but the perps and hostages are all holograms.
- In Bob and George the heroes train in a holodeck style room - which malfunctions frequently. In fact pretty much every time they use it.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has the students play those, apparently for entertainment rather than training.
- In Alice and the Nightmare, Phanty U manages Dream Domes, where students learn to manipulate and move around dreams without actually entering them. The Domes have part of Dream Spring's output siphoned to them to emulate dream environment.
- The heroes of The Motley Two participate in one of these as part of army training, and those who do badly face demotion. It's sort of patterned after typical Competitive Multiplayer First Person Shooters, with two teams against each other; one of the "game modes" is an "escort the VIP" objective, while in another an outnumbered team defends themselves until they can use an airstrike.
- Truth in Television, as both civilian agencies and the armed forces use a variety of simulators to help prepare them for things they might encounter in Real Life, though generally not of the VR Goggles or Matrix variety.
- A big argument against video games made by people like Senator Joe Lieberman was that First Person Shooters are too much like the Real Life simulations used by the military. Someone with the actual knowledge and experience with the simulation countered the argument, saying that it is nothing like a video game. If you die in the game, you can just re-load from a save and try again. In the military simulation, getting "shot" means you failed the test, which has Real Life consequences. After all, you can't afford any mistakes when facing the enemy. Also, instead of a mouse or a controller, soldiers use guns that have an actual kick.
- The best you can learn from an FPS is how to take advantage of the terrain and layout, and how to do coordinated attacks with other people. Any actual shooting skills or dealing with a living enemy who cares about dying requires some actual military training.