In the good old days of gaming developers tried a lot of new things some of which were so radical at the time that they couldn’t even find a publisher for them. Simcity was such a game as it had no ending and you were pretty much free to do what you wanted. You play the mayor of a town and it’s up to you to create an environment in which people want to live and work so that you can tax them and increase the size of the town ever more.

Starting up a town couldn’t be simpler, you simply put up some residential zones where people live, commercial zones where they shop and industrial zones where they can work. Tie them all together with some roads, electricity and people will start moving in right away. Unfortunately if you don’t plan ahead you will quickly find yourself trying to solve a load of problems, busy streets will have a lot of traffic causing pollution and congestion which will displease the population. When population grows so does crime and the need for things like shops, work and entertainment which you will all have to take into account. All the while you have to balance your checkbook as the only money you get is from taxes which you will have to spend wisely so as not to go bankrupt. If you do run out of money public services like police, firebrigade and roadworkers are the first to stop leading to more problems. It all seems like hard work but it’s very fun once you start and very rewarding if you succeed.

To make things more interesting there are also disasters that can happen like flooding, fires and even monsters. You can turn these off if you want to make life easier but there is a special section of the game in which you can play out disaster scenarios. These include a crimewave in Detroit which you have five years to solve or the rebuilding of Tokyo in the aftermath of a huge lizard attack and much more. These scenarios are quite fun but since they usually have a time limit and the city is already build they don’t have quite the involvement as the regular game.

Building itself is quite easy but you only have limited influence on the overall things, you can place residential, commercial and industrial zones and connect them with power and roads but you will have to wait before people will move in. At first the zones are made up of small buildings but when they get more populated they change into large skyscrapers or huge factories. There are plenty of other things to build like an airport, marina, football stadium and such. You can even build small parks which will reduce pollution (not sure about this though) and increase hapiness of the people.

I loved simcity when it was first released dispite the fact I needed to get a 512Kb RAM expansion for my Amiga to be able to play it. The joy of building your own town filled with citizens hasn’t lost any appeal. The graphics may be somewhat dated but they still get the job done and it doesn’t have all the extra’s the later sim games have making it easy to get into without too much difficulty. The game’s source code was released as freeware and relabeled as Micropolis some time ago which means you can actually change or port the game itself. Game don’t get much more innovative than this and it’s great fun so it’s a must!

Overal rating: 9/10

Erde Kaiser

This game was released for many different systems here are some notes:

Amiga Released in 1989.
I believe this was one of the first versions released though the rest followed shortly.
Amstrad CPC Released in 1989.
Of the 8-bit versions this is the best but unfortunately playing this game without a mouse is a bit of a chore.
Atari ST Released in 1989.
Almost identical to the amiga version.
BBC Micro Released in 1989.
The shockingly bad use of colors ruins the game.
C64 Released in 1989.
This versions feels like a beta because of some problems, for instance you can’t build a powerline across a road which pretty much destroys the game.
DOS Released in 1989.
Very similar to the amiga and ST versions, the windows system under DOS is quite good.
Super NES Released in 1991.
The graphics are a bit more polished but again the lack of a mouse hurts the game a bit.
Windows Released in 1992.
Obviously the native windows and the higher resolution help the game a lot, the version to go for for firsttimers.
ZX Spectrum Released in 1990.
Similar to the Amstrad version but the graphics aren’t as good.
Others This version is not available.
Apple released in 1989.
Date added Feb-15-2008 11:00
Name SimCity
Developer Maxis
Publisher Broderbund
First released 1989
Genre Strategy