Micromanage your own mock metropolis
Antique Code Show Doughnuts. Doughnuts are what I think of when someone mentions SimCity in my vicinity. Not because I used to cram them into my face, Homer Simpson-style, while I played, but rather because, back in my childhood, I was obsessed with arranging my own ‘simmed’ city in perfect concentric 'doughnuts'.
Squares in three-by-three formation of interweaved residential, commercial and industrial zones forming the very backbone of my every mock metropolis. And then, particularly when it came to residential areas, there was an added treat - the jam in the doughnut, if you will - usually in the shape of a police station or local park.
Mayor of your own micropolis: the original SimCity
To take the analogy still further, you might also say that the carefully constructed road network threaded around each block was tantamount to sprinkling hundreds and thousands on top.
Doughnut obsession wasn't my only consideration, either. Where to place industrial areas, versus living spaces, also presented an ever-challenging struggle. Too much industry and my Sims might choke on chimney fumes; too few and they'd be screaming for jobs and opportunities. Oh, the challenges of being a virtual mayor in a digital town.
Added flourishes came in the way you were able to micromanage your city’s financial resources too, with the tax rate at your whim - and so key to your population’s happiness. And even in the way you could lay mass transit, complete with its own moving trains.
While my ingenious doughnut formula might be a new concept for a great many SimCity players out there, so creative was Maxis' first foray into its idea of 'town building as fun' that I'm confident others have their own alternatives. Indeed, the vast majority of pleasure to be had from SimCity was derived from planning your bespoke town and laying it out exactly as you saw fit – whether the town in question be a dust bowl, or hive of industry.
Don Hopkins ported SimCity to Unix in 1991
Such pleasures might never have been brought into the public eye at all, however, if, having hit upon the idea some years before its eventual release, designer Will Wright hadn’t joined forces with Jeff Braun and Maxis. Before then, Wright had touted his Commodore 64 game to many a publisher but with no luck. In 1985, potential backers shyed away from what was something of a unique - and potentially unsellable - open-ended concept.
Of course, in the end, the lack of any real endgame made the ‘Sword of Damocles’ – the chance to call in numerous natural disasters to demolish your city – all the more compelling once you’d become bored with the status quo. Earthquakes and tornados, or even UFO and Godzilla attack, all might happen at random to derail your best-laid schemes. However, it was unleashing acts of God entirely purposely – and purely in a bid to watch your citizens tremble – that routinely led to the most amusement.
Next page: Sprawl for one and one for sprawl
What a way to waste the hours...
Far too long spent on my old Amiga playing Sim City.
Many a 'quick 10 minutes' before bed turned into a 3 or 4 hour session and a very tired get up for school the following day!
"I put it down to the simplicity of code"
Much as I liked SimCity and SimCity 2000, it always irked me that one could only build roads that ran parallel or at right-angles today. I put it down to the simplicity of code enforced by the constraints of hardware at the time, but now I wonder if it had more to do with the North American mindset: cities are built in grids.
I wanted to try and recreate more mediaeval street layouts. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
SimTower + Streets Of Sim City
After cutting my teeth on Sim City 2000, I was in my local Cash Converters years ago and bought SimTower. It's awesome, and I still play it now. So simple, and you could loose hours playing it. The only thing that annoyed me with that was you were limited to the number of lifts you could have.
As for Streets Of Sim City, if you can find this on eBay BUY IT!!! You need Sim City 2000 to play it, and essentially what it allows you to do is drive around the city you've created. A bit like the way Sim City 4 Rush Hour works, but this is totally first person and you can't switch it off and go back in to Sim City. It is it's own beast.
Just a shame then, thinking of these three games I've mentioned, as well as the games mentioned in the comments, that the new Sim City will be a leap year away from the simplicity of the originals. I personally don't want a game that forces me to be online. I want a game like I fell in love with years ago. So really, I'll be stuck playing the original Sim City games instead of it's new incarnation.
"Is there anything they can't do?"