Decade Old Games: SimCity 2000 (1994)

It’s easy to focus on the newest shiny consoles and games, but there’s plenty of merit in old games too! Decade Old Games will look to dig up and polish up some of these gems to see how they’re holding up!

The SimCity series has been about for a very long time and has seen several entries. The entry which I will focus on here is SimCity 2000, one of the finest of the bunch.

The concept is simple enough; start with a few small buildings and build your way up with the goal being to develop the finest city possible. In practice there is far more to it than that and along with water shortages, you may also be dealing with natural disasters/rampaging UFOs.

How was SimCity received at the time?

A bit lukewarm in terms of the critics, who weren’t exactly overwhelmed initially. The game did go on to win an award or two, so clearly people came around to the idea. The original had surprised everyone with its success and allowed for this sequel to be made. SC2K sold well enough to merit a sequel 5 years later, and there have been a couple more titles since then.

Just getting going is one of the best bits
Just getting going is one of the best bits

How does it hold up?

The graphics are about what you would expect, the buildings don’t have a great deal of variation in them and, judging by the cars on the road, lots of Sims like to buy red… In terms of format though, the game does just fine, with the top down approach still being pretty common.

Graphics

As mentioned, they’re not particularly inspired. Buildings repeat a lot and cars are just there to give an indication of traffic. There are a few nice touches; as your city develops you can see (and shoot down) helicopters flying over your city. When/if a seaport is built, cargo ships will frequent your rivers and coastlines; it goes a long way to making your cities feel like they’re alive.

Gameplay

Building up a city is worth a few hours of your time and the maps in SC2K were refreshingly large. There’s plenty of replay value here too; do you want a flat plain to work with? Hilly, verdant landscapes? Plenty of river and coastline? You can tinker with the maps to your hearts content and get a different game out of it.

The addition of disasters is also good fun. They can be turned off, but at any time a huge fire might sweep through your commercial sector, or a flood will wipe out that nice housing estate you’ve just built up. Dealing with these can be a challenge and adds to the longevity.

It’s addictive and it is one of those games which has you thinking ‘5 more minutes’ until 2AM in the morning.

Where is it now?

Sim City box art
Sim City box art

The latest installment hit some of the right notes but otherwise is plagued by some hyper aggressive DRM requirements. Personally, I enjoyed the new version, despite its limitations, but the handling of its release was beyond contemptible. It’s probably a better plan to plump for the excellent Cities: Skylines.

I want it! Where can I get it?

Right now, you can purchase SimCity 2000 from the reliable gog.com for a shade under 4 quid, which is a steal. It’s the special edition no less.

Personally, I’ve had no problems with this version which runs smoothly under Windows. It’s hardly going to be processor intensive when the file size is less than 80MB!

It’s a good fun game which, for the price, will keep you well entertained well into the wee hours.

James Oliver

I have a keen interest in anything from the original Star Wars trilogy through to the Star Wars Expanded Universe – as well as everything that encompasses. Mostly interested in things which fly or make noise (ideally both), I like playing with new gadgets and buying phones on a whim.