Played on: Amiga 500 (emulator)
Only rediscovered this one the other week. I used to spend hours building up a nice big awesome city, only to get bored with all the high living and in turn start to destroy it, with that lovely drop down menu of ‘natural’ (Monster?) disasters. A few earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and monster rampages later my city would lay in ruin. Good times.
To be honest I never really understood how to play it properly, the taxes, the budget, the graphs and charts… I’m not sure anyone else really paid attention to those things either? (I’m prepared for correction). It was mostly down to common sense and guess-work on my part, industrial areas to manufacture things, commercial areas to set up business, utilities etc etc, and residential areas for the people who will work in and help run your city. Joining these places with power lines and roads seemed pretty obvious and the occasional helpful prompts kept everything else in check.
Playing this the other day was a small taster of how long I actually used to play this for, only an hour as opposed to hours. I’m hoping I still have the saves somewhere of the city I built up to cover most of the area of land you were given. The game has simple graphics, sound and controls, using the mouse to select and place your buildings from an easy to use interface of icons. However, the game play itself is still just as addictive as it was over 20 years ago. You’re driven to make your city as nice as possible, not because there’s a great ending to the game, a reward or level to complete, but to ultimately destroy the city you have created and nurtured from its beginning. No-one wants to destroy a city that’s already rubbish.
The motivation to build a brilliant city and then the option to destroy it makes Sim City still very playable. The game play is timeless, and as I’ve said before it doesn’t take realistic graphics to make a game great, and Sim City is a fine example of this. On a side note, I believe destroying the city is more of an option than a necessity, even though it’s the one I found most appealing. I’m sure the statistical and political side to the game can also come into play at some point, I wonder if anyone has reached an end to the game where destruction didn’t occur?
The pictures show my little city of ‘Somewhere’ (I was too lazy to think up a cool city name) in its early stages, through to a monster attack, then some earthquakes which destroyed the nuclear power plant, throwing the city into chaos. The mayor (or ‘me’) at this stage had already fled and was jetting off to a tropical island.
The disasters add an extra exciting depth to the game play, alongside the more serious aspects of running a city with the taxes and budgets, both of these elements increase the challenge you face when building your ultimate utopian paradise (especially when playing the game properly – ahem).
Game information and Reviews:
Sim City on Lemon Amiga here!
Original magazine review from Amiga Format 6 (January 1990) here! Sim City scored 92%
Review from Amiga Resource Vol 1 No 4 (Oct 1989) here! They scored the game 19/20