You know, I’d be kind of sad if there’s somebody reading this who doesn’t already know what SimCity is. The title is a classic—a legend—in the gaming industry, it’s produced more spin-offs than Happy Days, and it practically created the simulation genre. Of course, all of that success is attributed to SimCity on the PC, not on Super Nintendo. Super Nintendo’s SimCity gained nowhere near the popularity of its brother on the computer, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rock in its own regard, right?
As the mayor of a brand new town (mine is invariably called “Paulville”), it is your task in SimCity to take an empty plot of land and build it up to a bustling megalopolis. You start off with only enough funds to build a power plant and a few residential, commercial, or industrial zones; but as people move into your town and start paying your taxes, you gain enough money to create more interesting places, such as stadiums, airports, police stations, and other such buildings. After accomplishing various goals throughout the game (such as having a high enough population to be legally considered a “city,” or building a whole lot of fire departments), gifts are bestowed upon you. These gifts include casinos, amusement parks, windmills, and statues of Super Mario, and are a real highlight of the game. Much joy and jubilation occurs when the “you’ve got a gift!!” ditty plays. The gifts, incidentally, set the game apart from its PC counterpart; the computer version of SimCity features no gifts whatsoever.
While forging the town of your dreams, a little man with green hair and a purple suit pops up occasionally to help you out. This man is called Dr. Wright, and he’s the one who gives you gifts, tells you when your city has become a metropolis, and freaks out whenever disasters occur in your town. (Fans of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening might recognize Dr. Wright as the hermit, Mr. Write, who likes to write letters. If you listen carefully, music from this version of SimCity plays while you’re in his house.)
Sometimes these disasters are as minor as a flood that doesn’t actually even reach your city, but other times Dr. Wright pops up to tell you that Bowser is rampaging through your town all Godzilla-like. These disasters typically occur at random throughout your game time; however, you do have the ability to play God and cause your own earthquakes and tornados and whathaveyou. I found that one of my favorite ways to play this game is to load up one of the premade games (of which there are several) and just cause all hell to break loose. Since video games make us all violent, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy that, too.
The controls are a bit wonky for anyone who hasn’t played an adventure title on a gaming console, but you get used to them. You use a cursor and click to perform all your actions, whether it be building a seaport, demolishing a park, OR CAUSING DEATH TO RAIN DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS!! It would have been a lot easier if the game had supported Nintendo’s mouse peripheral, but I guess it’s understandable that it doesn’t, as Mario Paint was still more than a year away from its release. The graphics are a bit drab and boring to look on at the game’s onset, and they only get marginally better as you build things to cover the barren landscape. The music, however, is awesome, and I love to hum it at inappropriate moments.
Really, the only thing that SimCity falters on is its visuals; everything else is top-notch. You can play the game for years and never really end, as the game itself has no real ending (though, after all your land is taken up with police stations and green splotches of park, there’s really not much left to do). So my recommendation to you, anonymous loyal GameCola reader, is to pick up this game if you see it for sale cheap somewhere. Even if you’ve already played the PC version, you’ll still have a good time earning presents and starting fires all throughout your town. And all of you people out there who are addicted to The Sims should especially try to get your hands on SimCity, if for no other reason than to see where your computer gaming champion got its start. So get on that as soon as possible. Dr. Wright will be sad if you don’t.