Sim City: 31 Years Young

I was six years old when the first Sim City was published. As a kid I never played it, because when I had a computer to play anything on I got my hands on Sim City 2000; the first Sim City game I ever knew of.

Of course I loved it. What's not to love, after all? I built tiny cities that barely turned a profit, left the game running for a day, and then came back to late-era technology and an almost endless pile of cash to do anything with.

I created maps where a small idyllic town could be situated in a deep valley, completely unreachable to the outside world.

If I had run out of money and electricity I launched the space monster on the city, because sometimes wind mills would turn up where its beams hit.

There was so much one could do!

Fast forward until today. Some years ago now Maxis Entertainment agreed to let Sim City 1 be released as open source under the name of Micropolis. And I've just started playing it. Yes, I love it. I search for player guides online, lament the prime real estate left empty on the map, try to be clever about constructions and planning. It's difficult, for sure. There's a learning curve even on the easy mode.

My first city, Vas Legas, literally burned to the ground because I hadn't deactivated the "distasters" option. It was hit by three big earthquakes in rapid succession while my coffers were near empty because I'd just funded a growth spurt of the city. No building was left standing after the fires. None.

In New New York I have disasters turned off (though they have to be turned off each time I load the city anew). Thankfully, because those ships can't navigate for shit. They sail around on land most of the time. Still so much to try and to learn. Eventually I might be able to handle the medium difficulty, with disasters activated. Lofty ambitions!

One thing that amazes me is that my kids want to play it. I started up a new city today with the oldest and we had great fun. The other two have made me promise to help them try it this weekend.

This amazes me because quite frankly the graphics and design look (well... are) archaic. It doesn't bother them the least. And it doesn't bother me either, honestly. Because the gameplay has aged gracefully.

There's a lot to be said about the American perspective on absolutely everything in the game, but it doesn't detract from the actual gameplay. A balance of resources, strategy, and steady growth.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal