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SimCity

aka: Micropolis, SimCity Supreme, SimCity: The City Simulator
Moby ID: 848
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Description official descriptions

SimCity sets you as the mayor of a new municipality, with the responsibility of building and maintaining a place where citizens can move to and work and be happy. The first task is to place essentials such as housing, transport links, schools, factories, and shops. There are 50 types of these, allowing for homes of all standards and different types of businesses. Make sure to consider which sites are effective for which tasks. Some power sources pollute, others don't but are more expensive. Taxes must be raised to ensure an income, and then portions allocated to public services such as policing and roads. Earthquakes, floods, and fires are all emergency situations that must be dealt with to contain any damage.

Successful mayoring will cause the small village to grow into a town, then a city, and finally a metropolis. As the city's size grows so do its needs. Commercial buildings may suddenly find that they need an airport to expand trade, or housing may find itself changing rapidly as vast amounts of people come and leave.

The game also includes 8 pre-defined time-limited scenarios, with specific challenges and targets. The environment varies in each game (especially if you have the Terrain Editor add-on), and this should affect your choices.

Spellings

  • Sim City - Alternate spelling
  • シムシティー - Japanese spelling
  • 模拟城市 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 模擬城市 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

23 People (16 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 53 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 256 ratings with 8 reviews)

It's not that hard being a mayor (as long as you have a "load game" command!)

The Good
I say is the first city managerial game ever? Don't know but it sure hell is the best one around in those days...and in many years after it. Civilization could beat the addictiveness level this beaut had to offer. This game is worse than smoking my good old clove cigarettes cough cough.

You know most people usually have this liking to watching thing grow, may it be their children, their garden, or in this case their virtual city, there's something about building something from scratch and watching it bloom into a massive metropolis really brings out the parent in you...uh.

SimCity was a really great concept, although I'm not sure if anyone has actually thought of it before. Build your own city! Dang, pure genius. You have to juggle between the commercial, residential and industrial attributes of the city by answering through transportation, beautification, plumbing, electricity, the works.

Proud to say that I play the hardest level of difficulty and that the secret of success in SimCity is to never borrow money from the bank...the interest rates tend to grow on you. Better yet never trust bankers period...their no more worse than those lawyers out here (me included ahem).

The Bad
Hmm...realistic? Hardly. Although no one would dare say that this game is less than brilliant and addictive, I found it quite unrealistic on how to solve various issues in city management. For example, lots of traffic? Easy, bulldoze a couple of buildings, make some new roads, demolish some old roads.

Whoa! Wait a minute! That can't be write, if that happened in the real world, you'd have a bunch of low-life lawyers (like myself ahem) sniffing up your (censored) and demanding things that your grandmother would die of a heart attack if she heard it. Building roads and buildings only takes 1 day? Boy, those city workers must really be making some really good money through overtime...not.

Hey, but it's a game...big deal. Not really, unfortunately compared to Civilization, the game kinda lacks the educational values I think the game should've had. Not much descriptions on the interface, minor descriptions on buildings. Another thing is that the monetary fund is totally unrealistic too. How in the hell can you construct a road for only 4 dollars? If they used more realistic numbers, maybe one could appreciate the tough jobs (or not) real city administrators do.

Anyway, it took me 50 years (without the help of a bank) to get my city actually blooming...if this were real...well.

The Bottom Line
Addictive as hell, stay away from it if you love your day job.

DOS · by Indra was here (20755) · 2004

Awesome game

The Good
SimCity has one obvious advantage over other simulations of the time, it is actually possible to play it. Other simulations and wargames of the time had a learning cliff rather than a learning curve (I suspect because the average gamer was a computer professional himself, and game designers weren't exactly shooting for the soccer mom demographic), but SimCity introduced the idea of simple design and easy accessibility. The result is a game with phenomenal mass appeal.

The story behind the game's creation is that designer Will Wright had created a 2D action game with an edit mode, and soon found this edit mode to be more fun than the game itself. He decided to create a whole game dedicated to the concept. It did not see the light of day for years, but when SimCity was finally released it was a great success and launched a whole franchise of other Sim titles.

As the name implies, SimCity is about building and maintaining a city. You have control over all buildings and all public functions, but can only indirectly influence your citizens. The meat of the game is the Create-A-City Mode, where you start from scratch and must build a city up to glory. As is the rule with simulations, there are no specific goals to achieve in SimCity. There is something satisfying about a well-run city humming along that is better than a high-score in Super Mario Brothers. There is also a scenario mode where you start out with a pre-set city and must fix a certain problem like a nuclear meltdown. Of course, if you're a sadist you can start out with a built-up city and wreck everything, turning your citizens' lives into hell with unfair taxes, poor civic functions, and even natural disasters like floods and fires and the ever-popular Godzilla attack.

The graphics were good for its day, and the game has a very nice user interface that surpasses that of Windows 3.1. The sound is minimalistic but effective, and there's even a freeform edit mode.

The Bad
It's annoying how you can't "zone" areas like in the later games (in other words if you have a 2x4 lot you can't build a 3x3 building there), but that's nitpicking.

The Bottom Line
Of course, there's no reason you'd bother trying to emulate it these days, since the formula has been copied verbatim by many prettier games, but SimCity is a great classic with that elusive, sought-after quality: crossover appeal. I'm sure there were lots of parents who refused to let their kids play Doom or Mario but let them play SimCity, content in the knowledge that their children were learning all about how to run a city. (They probably weren't, but the game is still fun.)

DOS · by Maw (832) · 2007

Spectacular...a different game from even the computer-version.

The Good
This game is, in short, fantastic. It's actually different from the other versions of it (i.e. Sim City Classic) for a few reasons. For one, this is the ONLY SimCity game in which you can watch the seasons change. Also, unlike the other versions of the original Sim City, this version allows you to obtain Gifts, special rewards you can recieve after meeting certain requirements. For example, you can build yourself a mansion once your tiny village reaches Town status (a population of 2,000). You get to build amusement parks and casinos when you build a certain number of roads. There are 15 gifts in all.

So, after all these differences, what's the same? Basically, everything else. You still have the same basic buildings, you still place block zones, there are still your Coal and Nuclear power plants...

But what I like most about it is its addictiveness. There are so many ways to play this game. The main way is to build a Megalopolis of 500,000 people, but you can build any sort of city you want. I just recently built a Sim City version of London, England, and my little brother built a version of Frankfurt, Germany. So there are many ways to play this game.

The Bad
Nothing. But if I was forced to say something bad about this game, I guess I'd say...well...its simplicity. It's not a very complex game. But on the other hand, that can be a good thing for younger players who wouldn't want to try and figure out pipe systems and subway rails and garbage issues and the like. So it's all a matter of opinion.

The Bottom Line
It's a must. You get to be the mayor of your own city, which is definitley cool. Ever gone down a city street thinking, "If I were mayor, I would change that."? Well, now you can.

SNES · by Brendan Smith (1) · 2003

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

SimCity appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Airport

A strange thing in SimCity: If you query (Q) the RADAR (or is it something else? The moving part, anyways) at the airport, it is reported as industrial, instead of airport

Browser version

To celebrate the release of SimCity 4: Rush Hour, EA Games put a web-based version of this original SimCity game up on their website for play.

As of 2006, the URL is http://simcity.ea.com/play/simcity_classic.php

Cancelled NES port

A NES port was originally announced on the September/October 1990 issue of Nintendo Power magazine. It was playable on the Winter International Consumer Electronics Show 1991, but was quietly cancelled. On December 25, 2018, a ROM of the prototype was uploaded by Video Game History Foundation. Among other things, it featured a completely different soundtrack than the SNES port, although it had the same composer.

Commodore 64 version

The Commodore 64 version is missing various features. Some of the things missing are fire and police stations, the eval stat screen, stadiums, and meltdowns.

Copy Protection

In the original DOS release of SimCity, the copy protection was handled a bit different than most games.

The game gave you 3 square symbols, and then asked you to enter a City and Population. The copy protection itself was printed on dark red papers (therefore uncopyable).

Cover art

The change in box designs (see cover scans) was due to trademark infringement- the use of Godzilla on the cover wasn't appreciated by Toho Studios.

Development

The first version of the game was finished in 1985, but publishers at the time refused to release it because it was a non-standard game without a clear goal. So Will Wright and Jeff Braun had to found their own company, Maxis, to get it out. In hindsight, the publishers were terribly wrong and the game became a huge success.

Disasters

Some of the game's "random disasters" aren't really random at all. For instance, if you demolish a church a tornado will strike your city...every time! According to Johnny L Wilson's SimCity Planning Commission Handbook, this connection was implemented in order to discourage "impious" players from bulldozing churches due to perceived (not actual) effects on these public buildings' effects on the tax base. The connection only exists in the IBM version and is inspired by the phrase "acts of God" used in the insurance industry to describe property damage-causing natural disasters..

Inspiration

  • SimCity was inspired by the work Jay Forrester did at MIT. Using a specialized programming language called DYNAMO, he modeled various statistics about the world to determine how to create high quality of life. He also wrote a program to assist in urban planning.
  • Another inspiration for SimCity was Will Wright's first game, Raid on Bungeling Bay. He was having much more fun building levels than playing them, so he decided to create a game out of it.
  • According to the SimCity Planning Commission Handbook, a big influence on Will Wright in formulating the concept of this game (or "software toy") was an anthology of short stories by Stanislaw Lem entitled The Cyberiad -- especially one in which master inventor Trurl builds deposed tyrant Excelsius a "kingdom in a box" in which to harmlessly exercise his tyrannical urges. (Eventually, the people in the box manage to overthrow Excelsius.)

Languages

The Japanese PC-98 port can be switched to English in the configuration screen.

Monster

In the PC releases of SimCity, the monster that can destroy your city in a large red lizard. In the SNES release, the monster is Bowser, from the Mario games!

One Laptop

In 2007 it was announced that SimCity will be one of the games included with the One Laptop Per Child Program's $100 laptops.

Source code release

The original game's source was released under a GPL license in January 2008. The game's name was changed to Micropolis because Electronic Arts holds the license, and plane crashes have been removed because of the 9/11 incident.

Super Smash Bros.

Dr. Wright from the SNES version appears as an assist trophy in the Wii game Super Smash Bros.: Brawl.

Awards

  • ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
    • March 1991 (issue #42) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time in category Simulations (editorial staff choice)
  • Computer Gaming World
    • October 1991 (Issue #87) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • October 1989 (Issue #64) – Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #6 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #2 in the "Top Ten Games of All Time" list (Readers' vote)
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #5 in the "Top Ten Games of All Time" list (Editors' vote)
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #31 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #33 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #5 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1990 - #2 Best Game Idea in 1989
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #98 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
  • ST Format
    • Issue 01/1991 – #3 Best Simulator Game in 1990 (Atari ST)
    • Issue 01/1993 – #28 in '50 finest Atari ST games of all time' list

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Andrew Grasmeder, Brolin Empey, Chris Martin, Maw, Mu77etOfDeath, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Ricky Derocher, Sciere, WildKard and Zack Green

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  • MobyGames ID: 848
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

Commodore 64 added by PCGamer77. SNES added by Kartanym. FM Towns added by Sciere. Amstrad CPC, OS/2, Electron, Amiga, CDTV, Symbian added by Kabushi. Atari ST, ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. Wii added by gamewarrior. Acorn 32-bit, Sharp X68000, Macintosh added by Terok Nor. Palm OS added by Игги Друге. BBC Micro added by formercontrib. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Robert Morgan, Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Martin Smith, Pseudo_Intellectual, Игги Друге, formercontrib, Trypticon, Patrick Bregger, Lugamo, Jo ST, FatherJack, Kayburt.

Game added February 10, 2000. Last modified February 8, 2024.