Construction ahead: SimCity entertains but needs work by developers to expand multiplayer

Construction ahead: SimCity entertains but needs work by developers to expand multiplayer

Screenshot by Haider Mashal/The Skyline View

SimCity, developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, first came out in 1989 and is now playable on a long list of platforms, including your very own iPhone. With the success of original SimCity, Will Wright, the original designer for SimCity, created numerous versions until the present day’s version which just has just recently been released.

The game starts with a tutorial to get your building juices flowing by explaining the game in its simplest form. I found that even with the tutorial, the game is a bit difficult to pick up, especially having not played any of the previous installments of SimCity.

Following the tutorial, you are now able to select your region to start your city. As the game is solely playable online, you must select a region to be able to play. Unfortunately, EA has disabled the multiplayer feature until further notice as it has been experiencing server issues since day 1. This has been a big disappointment as now players can only play on their own, which causes further problems as you progress through the game.

Choosing a region is not as simple as a pick at random, regions range in size and geography. You can choose whether you want to place your city next to a beach as an added tourist attraction or deep inland for more resources. The choice is ultimately yours as Mayor.

The game has three different zones you can create: residential, commercial, and industrial, each having their different purpose. Overtime, the density of your structures will increase and will eventually become large skyscrapers or factories.

Residential zones show as green strips alongside your road which allow you to house citizens in your city, as there can be no city without its people. Without residential zones, your city will not be able to supply the amount of workers that your city needs, and will not grow.

Commercial zones are blue strips alongside your roads. They are the grocery stores, the pharmacies, the donut shops, all shops that your sims build from the ground up and run on their own. Commercial zones make your sims happier as they spend their hard-earned simoleans in them. These zones do not make as much money as industrial zones, but cause less pollution than industrial zones. As residential zones reach a higher density and become skyscrapers, you will see a larger cash flow roll in, as well as your sims will become much happier.

Industrial zones show up as yellow strips, and generate the most profit towards your city. Like commercial zones, industrial zones provide jobs and money for your sims, which they can spend in your city. Industrial zones cause the most pollution which you much watch over like a hawk (if you even care about it anyways).

As the mayor of your city, you also have to worry about crime in your city, just as any other mayor has to. A police station will suffice but eventually crime will grow and you will need more policemen to crack down on crime.

While you are playing SimCity, as the mayor you cannot forget about basic utilities and other necessities. Electricity and water are things your sims cannot survive without. If they experience power outages or a lack of water, they will become upset and if not handled, will eventually leave.

Your sims also need the utmost medical care. Eventually citizens will be sick and will be in need of a doctor, and it is your job to provide it for them. Building hospitals will make your sims much happier.

The aspect of the game I found most appealing was the education system. In Simcity, a lot of your cities growth comes from just how educated your citizens are. Your sims will commit less crime and even be smart enough to cause less fires if they are properly educated. Having a university in your city also opens a lot of doors for you in terms of technological advances, and quality of life to your sims; for example, if you build a School of Medicine you will be able to build a Surgical Center in your hospital, which heals your sims twice as fast.

SimCity is a game I have high hopes for, but EA still has a lot of work to put into this game before it can reach its potential. If the game was not restricted to solely being played online, it would be a big push forward; it can happen (I was forced to play all by myself), but EA needs to put the initiative in to make it so.

If you think you can be a better mayor than Edwin Lee, or Gavin Newsom, then try your hand at SimCity and put your money ($59.99 or $79.99 for the deluxe package) where your mouth is.