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We carry out a quantitative comparison between gas-puff imaging (GPI) turbulence measurements in Alcator C-Mod inner-wall limited discharges (Zweben et al 2009 Phys. Plasmas 18 082505) and 3D flux-driven drift-reduced Braginskii turbulence simulations of scrape-off layer dynamics. The comparison is carried out for a series of inner-wall limited discharges where the magnetic field and the density are varied. The comparison between GPI data and non-linear simulations yields overall good agreement for several observables, such as the D-alpha emission levels and intermittency, the radial and poloidal correlation lengths and propagation velocities, and the power and frequency spectral density.