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SimCity is the original city building simulation game that has spawned a genre of games all on its own. Back in 1989, the first one was released on the PC, and in 1991 it was ported to the SNES with some minor changes. Now you can download it on your Wii and enjoy the original city building sim.
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There are three different modes in SimCity: Practice (which is just practice), City (building and maintaining a city) and Scenario (dealing with a given scenario in an already built city, like an earthquake).
In Build mode you are the mayor of a new town. Your job is to make sure your town grows and you handle all the problems that come along to keep your town folk happy (which means keeping taxes low). You start by choosing the map you want to build your city on, give it a name and get to work. You choose where to start your city and get building.
Cities have three areas that must be well integrated to make your town grow: residential, commercial and industrial. These all must be connected to a power plant (coal or nuclear, no green options here!) by power lines, and the areas must also be connected by roads and railways. Once you have the basics you can build things like sea ports, air ports and stadiums to make your citizens happy. As a reward you will get more things to build, like zoos.
Besides making your citizens happy you also have to deal with disasters. Lots of things can happy to a city in SimCity, all of which can be random or you can trigger them yourself. Earthquakes, fires, tidal waves, tornadoes and an attack by Bowser are all possible disasters. As mayor you have to minimize the damage and deal with the after effects.
Since this is an SNES game you have to use either the classic controller or a GameCube controller. While the classic controller feels more natural, the GC controller works just fine once you get the hang of it.
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Graphics and Sound
While SimCity looks a lot better in the SNES version than the original PC version, it doesn't hold up well. Yeah, the seasons change, but everything is boxy and dull. I know SimCity was a launch title for the SNES, so perhaps they didn't realize what that little gray box was capable of, but it is still disappointing.
Soundwise SimCity is actually really well done. The music is calm and beautiful. It makes building cities a lovely experience. The sound effects are a bit cheesy, but this is a PC port so I can understand.
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I know I'm not a huge fan of sim games, especially a game like this, but I am actually entertained by SimCity. Starting cities is fun. Building them from the ground up is easy enough to be welcoming to new players and there aren't enough options to overwhelm anyone. Sure, you have to decide on taxes and think about the plan of your city, but nothing that makes me feel like I'm micromanaging.
However, even with the game on the fastest game speed, it seems to go by rather slowly. Having to wait for more money to come in can get frustrating when your city wants something that you can't afford. Also, it can get boring fast. And if you make a major mistake, it can cause a lot of problems for the city. But that does mean you can stage a Bowser attack, ruin it all and just start over.
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I enjoy SimCity. It is not my favorite game, but it is relaxing and nice to play if you aren't in the mood for something with a lot of action. It makes you think, which is good, and involves a lot of strategy. If you enjoy simulation games or if you want a good intro into city building sims, this is it. Worth the 800 Wii points? Yeah, I think so.