Windows 3.x version
Okay translation of a fun but limited game.
The original SimCity is a classic, and this is but a translation of it to the Windows environment. The gameplay is familiar, system specs need not be powerful (unlike for the newer Sim installments), and gameplay is a bit smoother than on the standard DOS version.
Building a city from scratch is fun, and allows a person to experience the joys of being a ruler. Build cities "organically" like London, or build your city according to a larger over-all plan, like Washington DC.
While the experience of playing SimCity is fun, the overall game is rather pointless. There is little to do once you find that happy middle ground of taxes and spending- wait for enough funds, tweak your city a bit, wait for some more funds.
Some have said that to "win" you must lay out your city for mass public transit (with no roads) which strikes me as a lopsided statistical modelling job. Granted, Will Wright could mold the game in any fashion that he desired, but SimCity seems a weird place to trumpet one's own ideological utopian vision.
The pre-planned scenarios aren't very fun- once a grasp of the basic concepts of the game are in hand, demolishing buildings to build police stations in hot spots or bulldozing districts to stop the spread of fire just feel like boring puzzle games.
The use of windows in this game, while allowing more flexibility than the DOS version, can get unwieldy.
The Bottom Line
It started and defined a genre that no other series has ever been able to touch- city planning games. In retrospect, the game is a lot like Balance of Power- the ideas are awe-inspiring, and the execution creative, but the game itself leaves a bit to be desired. The fun in this version of SC is akin to the fun one gets with a paint program, not necessarily a game program. Future SC entries improve on this, and are worthy as game and social experiment... but this one is just a very well-done curio.
by Robert Morgan (1050) on August 4th, 2000