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SimCity

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

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 249 ratings with 8 reviews)

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

Welcome to beautiful, historic Zomburg.

The Good
Ah, good ol’ SimCity. I remember sinking countless hours of my child years into this game. In fact, I can vividly remember avoiding my friends because they obviously wouldn’t want to sit and watch me play a game about building a city. I remember playing it so much that I stumbled upon a formula for building a successfully huge and hugely successful, if not monotonously designed, city. But I had a much longer attention span for games back then. This is probably because I had a much more limited selection, and had to wait for my parents to fork over the cash for a new one.

In case you don’t know, SimCity is a game about building cities. It’s one of the few console games of its era to have no defined end. You just build and build and build until your map is full. This may take you hours to do, depending on the map you start with. After that happens, well, I guess you could rearrange your lots in an attempt to improve your city or play the scenarios, but you’re more likely to just start a new one. It’s a very simple game that is a lot easier to understand than its successors.

So I built my city, the hapless city of Zomburg, on one of the island maps (532, to be precise) where there would be no escape. As I built up my city, I was marveled by how simple the game, in fact, was. If you took out the city style visuals of the game, it would basically just be a puzzle game. All the buildings and roads of the game are just various sized blocks that you must figure out how best to place them. The game doesn’t tell you that maybe building houses right next to factories would be a bad idea; you just kind of have to figure it out for yourself (or use common sense). It isn’t a particularly difficult game to understand, hell, even my child self was able to figure it out.

The visuals and atmosphere of the game are mostly pleasing. It’s nice to see the seasons change as time goes by, and the music is very calming, even if it does play on a loop, changing only at each city stage. It is sometimes difficult to make out what everything is supposed to be due to the low-resolution visuals. It took me the longest time to figure out that the tiny little things that build on new residential zones are houses.

The Bad
Can you guess what the people of Zomburg chose to complain to me about? No, it isn’t the lack of a bridge leaving town. They instead bothered me incessantly about high housing costs. Well excuuuse me, Zomburg. I’m sorry, but if you want to live in my utopian city, you’ll have to pay for it. What was worse about this was that I had no idea to fix the problem. To fix a high crime rate, you place police department. If you have traffic troubles, you place public transit. So to fix high housing costs I built factories in everyone’s neighbourhood, that’ll learn ‘em.

Well, actually, no it didn’t. Then they started complaining about pollution. There’s just no pleasing these people. It wouldn’t be a problem if I could just place pollution sucking sponges, or cheap housing modules, but I can’t. These are problems with no real visible solution. Some things just happen without any real reason. For example, why are the neighbourhoods located in beautiful downtown Zomburg, right across the street from the park, and down the road from a police station, turning into ghettos? Why is that road going to nowhere in particular crammed with traffic? Why are they asking me for more residential zones when they haven’t used the ones I’ve already given them?

It’s the lack of explanation that is most frustrating. Your assistant, Mr. Wright, isn’t very helpful, either. He often tells you that you have a problem and you need to fix it, but he won’t explain how. Maybe it’s more realistic to have people constantly harassing you to fix the most trivial problems, but I figured this game gave up on realism when it allowed you to have Bowser attack your city.

The Bottom Line
It’s worth noting that I have never played any of the other versions of SimCity, so I don’t know how it stacks up to, say, the DOS version. With that aside, SimCity is still as fun as it always was. I feel it even stands up well against its newer siblings. Its simplicity makes it easy to get into and enjoy. Sure, it can sometimes be frustrating, but you can always unleash your wrath on the city using a variety of disasters. Overall, I find SimCity to be an above-average game, or rather, an OKAY game. I fully recommend it if you own a SNES.

SNES · by Adzuken (836) · 2009

This game needed a surgeon general's warning on the package...

The Good
Cause it was addictive as crack... Im serious, I sat like a loser in PJ's for two weeks parked in front of the PC. Maxis struck gold on this game which later got even better in the 2000 release. Yeah, I liked pretty much everything about this game.. I thought it was a lot more fun on the SNES but whatever, the PC version came out way earlier.

The Bad
Not much, in its day, it was a pretty sweet game... kept my entertained for a long time.

The Bottom Line
c l a s s i c, this game produced the fun for me that PC gaming was all about. If it were 1989 still, i'd probably be saying that this is my favorite game at the moment.

DOS · by OlSkool_Gamer (88) · 2004

[ 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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SimCity 4
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SimCity 3000 Unlimited
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SimCity 4: Rush Hour
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The Bus
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Startopia
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SimCity Classic
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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. OS/2, Electron, Symbian, Amstrad CPC, CDTV, Amiga added by Kabushi. Atari ST, ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. Wii added by gamewarrior. Acorn 32-bit, Macintosh, Sharp X68000 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 10th, 2000. Last modified November 28th, 2023.