Way back before the Sims became party hounds, petsitters, or rockstars, they were simulated citizens in the city of Yourtown, or Cityland, or whatever you chose to call it, in 1989’s original hit, SimCity.
This week, EA and Maxis showed off their back-to-the-drawing-board product in their demo version of the new SimCity, showcased at E3 this week. And for those who got Sim-d out with all the spin-offs and their multiple expansion packs, the title may just make you want to sim again.
EA and Maxis showcased their “glassbox simulation,” where everything can be seen and known without ever looking at a chart or graph, much like real life. Crime in your city may have gone up 58%, but you already knew that, when you see walls with graffiti, buildings with broken windows, and robberies in progress. A section of the electric grid may be out, but you’re aware of the situation as you see all the other houses fully-illuminated in your city. Instead of random dots and data figures, every Sim has a life, a job, an occupation, a purpose in your city, and it’s up to you as mayor to fulfill their needs as a citizen.
With online capabilities unheard of in 1989, your city can now make friendly relations with other cities, do commerce with them, and enter with them into regional projects, such as international airports.
The new SimCity also offers a modular editor. EA demonstrated this during their demo when they built a smelter (to ship alloy to another city they had entered into a commercial contract with). But how to get the alloy from one city to another? In the old game, it just happened. But now you have to figure out how to make it happen. Or, you could just attach a commercial garage to your smelter, so that way you can house a fleet of delivery vehicles who will ship it out. Nothing could be easier with SimCity‘s Spore editor.
The new SimCity is slated to break ground on PC & Mac February 2013. I played the original and the SNES port of SimCity, played SimLife and SimHotel, and yes, I played The Sims. I told myself I would never play another Sim game. OK, EA and Maxis. You got my attention.