GameSpite Journal 10 | SimCity

SimCity | Dev.: Nintendo | Pub: Nintendo | Genre: Simulation | Release: August 1991

When talking about famed videogame creator and friend to children everywhere, Will Wright, thereís a good chance that the work that first comes to mind is his immensely popular life simulator The Sims. Thatís understandable; after all, it is regarded as the best-selling PC game of all time. Itís a bit of a shame, though. If Will had simply rested on his laurels, all those kids sitting at their computers simulating the life they donít have would remember him for his earlier and, some would say, better work, SimCity.

I admit, Iím being a little harsh here. After all, The Sims succeeded so totally and completely because of its mass appeal, accessibility, and (somehow simultaneously) its stunning amount of depth. SimCity, on the other hand, had perhaps even greater depth, but it came at the price of being kind of impenetrable to all but those truly willing to put the time into it lerning its intricacies.

There were many releases of SimCity; the original title was ported to just about everything under the sun, most of them appearing on various PC platforms. While you certainly canít go wrong with the game on any platform, the one version I look back on most fondly, and indeed the only one I ever find myself coming back to with any consistency, is the SNES port.

Interestingly, the Super Nintendo version of the game was developed internally by Nintendo themselves, which I believe accounts for the charm and polish not found in other versions. The core game remains the same: Zone areas as residential, commercial and industrial, set up transportation, make sure everything is receiving adequate power, then sit back and see if anyone decides to live in your little city, tweaking and adding additions as time marches on, all set to some very excellent music. There are certain buildings unique to the SNES version; occasionally, certain districts will develop in unplanned ways, such as schools or hospitals popping up. Additionally, at certain times youíll be rewarded with structures such as parks, convention centers, and even a statue of Mario, assuming your city is doing well enough.

Another charming (if somewhat odd) addition to the SNES port is the inclusion of a mentor character, Dr. Wright. This strange, bespectacled green-haired fellow, who is based on the aforementioned Will Wright, acts as a guide and tutorial to the game, which in some small way actually helps this version to be the most approachable of all SimCity ports.

SimCity is great on the Super NES for many reasons, but thereís only one that really matters. Itís possible to summon certain natural disasters in the game, such as tornados, floods, or even a nuclear reactor meltdown. The original SimCity would, on rare occasions, let a Godzilla-esque monster loose on your hard-built city.... which is great, but this version does one better; none other than the Koopa King, Bowser, will personally rain destruction on all he sees, with nary a Mario in site to stop him.

The next time youíre itching to play a sim game, Iíll understand if you choose The Sims, but before you do, consider this: Whatís more fun? Watching a single person drown in a swimming pool because youíve taken away all the ladders, or unleashing Bowser on an unsuspecting city? I rest my case.

By Luke Osterritter? | Nov. 12, 2011 | Previous: Gradius III | Next: Final Fight