Retro Monday: SimCity 3000

Title: SimCity 3000

Developer: Maxis

Publisher: EA

Released: January 31st 1999

After two weeks of talking about the new consoles and saying how bland rather than bad they are, I think it’s time to cleanse my palate and your eyes with a PC game from the years of yonder. By that I mean 1999. The year when most people thought the world was going to end because of a fear that PC’s where so stupid they couldn’t count to 2000. Which smoothly segways me to a game where you can build up a world (well, a city) to prominence and then call an invasion of aliens to test the properties of the people’s orifices (or just the one with “pooperties”! Anyone?) or just call in Godzilla to just get the apocalypse over with. Only seems fair.

Yes, it’s “SimCity 3000”! Or in my case “SimCity 3000: UK Edition” which means “SimCity 3: Special Edition.”  Well “1/2 Special Edition.” There was a “World Edition” as well. Certainly shows that even in the years of yonder EA’s consumer policy was to sell everything in as many pieces as possible. A policy that lasts to this day with City’s sequel “The Sims 3” with its (at current) 11 Expansion packs and add-on packs. Or it might be just because the game needs that many add-on and expansions because the game is pretty boring.

I think it’s time I put my hand up and clarified that ‘I don’t like the Sims.’  I’m not a fan of simulation games generally, but I know the audience and why they’re there. “The Sims,” on the other hand, is like reality television. Once you get past the idea of building your friends and/or ex’s and tormenting them to the point there is an all too pleasant, almost sexual, glee watching them cry and die, the game just gets boring.

While the Sims is reality television, SimCity is more like an RTS with only base management. Which might explain why I like it so much. I grew up with games like “LEGO Loco” back on the old ’98 PC, so the idea of building up a city gives me childlike glee. And with the added feature of using real buildings like the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (which are counted as two separate buildings for some reason), there is some added to realism to the game. You can spend hours building near-real replicas of your favorite cities like London or New York. Then when you get bored you can call the apocalypse.

In game, disasters can happen. You can turn them off so you don’t have to worry about them if you’re the sort of person (which I consider boring) who just builds without consequence. But there is a whole menu dedicated to them. You can make the normal disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes and whirlpools. But you can also pull out what I call “Hollywood Disasters” like asteroids, Godzilla or an alien invasion. OR, you can get biblical with disasters like plagues of locusts. The boring insect kind of locusts. Not “Gears of War” kind. They really should make that an add-on. Watching a SimCity rendition of London being invaded by the Chimera from the “Resistance” series would be nice. You can stack the disasters so you can get the same effect.

As an ending note, there must be a comparison between “SimCity 3000” and the recent re-make “SimCity.” Besides  the forced online mode in the most recent one, they are pretty similar. Which is really bad! There was “SimCity 4” and its expansion “Rushour” after 3000, and there is much more content in the both. While SimCity has been recently remade with modern graphics and technology, the forced online mode and lack of new content make it neutered in comparison. So if you leave with any advice on what game to get, don’t get the new version or 3000. Get “SimCity 4: Rushour”. There are no online modes or multiplayer but it’s essentially the same game.

Retro Score: 4.5

Modern Score: 3.5

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