SimEarth: The Living Planet

aka: SimEarth: Der lebende Planet
Moby ID: 1835

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 74% (based on 24 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 1 reviews)

Best. Manual. Ever.

The Good
As my one-line summary suggests, for me SimEarth was the pinnacle of manual writing, not only telling you everything you would ever need to know about the game, but finding time to be witty and knowledgeable about it as well. Highlights include the Introduction To Earth Science section, an in-depth discussion about what makes our world tick, and the Unblank Page, where the authors decide to fill up one of the traditionally blank end-of-chapter pages with little jokes and one-liners that occurred to them while playing SimEarth. All in all, the best in a collection of great manuals written by Michael Bremer and his team.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the game itself leaves something to be desired. Like a number of Sim games, you have no real control over the course of events, and the game either turns into a huge mess as your best intentions go awry, or you just sit there and watch the simulation follow its own course, which makes for an interesting "movie" but a dull game. You'd probably need the knowledge of an expert in the field to get an interesting, positive result. That or you'd have to be one of the developers. The terraforming scenarios make for an interesting extension to the game, but you're still left with the problem that SimEarth has an emergent dynamic and "results may vary".

The Bottom Line
If you're one of those weird people like me who enjoys reading game manuals, SimEarth is a must, as are most early Maxis games. The problem is, most re-releases of the game have electronic manuals, which just aren't the same. An old second-hand boxed version of the game with the manual still on paper and in decent condition is definitely worth it. Otherwise it just falls in with a number of the more oddball Sim games as... well, an oddball Sim game.

DOS · by Paul Varley (10) · 2006

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Terok Nor, Jo ST, Martin Smith, Scaryfun, Patrick Bregger, xPafcio, Tim Janssen, Alaka, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Kayburt, Mr Almond, Alsy.