Playing a game may teach the player that he can optimize the game only in certain ways (or that the game is impossible to win, like Global Thermonuclear War); but it’s open to question whether the optimal game strategy corresponds to an optimal real-life strategy.
As we see more of this kind of thing (and I think we will), we as consumers of educational and editorial games, are going to need to stay alert and savvy, conscious of the way a game’s rules can look like they emulate real life constraints without actually doing so. A case in point is the way Electrocity lets me participate in a fuel market without experiencing any repercussions at all from the fossil fuel burning by the people in the next town over. Would it be better all around if I just kept it in the ground? Maybe, maybe not — but within the game there’s no incentive to think about that. –Emily Short –Educational and Editorial Games (Emily Short’s Interactive Fiction)