Simcity 2000 (1993)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The first review published here ought to belong to a game particularly inspiring and well-regarded. Simcity 2000 is one such game. Released in 1993 by Maxis amid rave reviews, the sequel to the original city-building masterpiece quickly became known as one of the best management simulation titles released of all time. Presented in a new, 2D isometric view that provided an enhanced sense of depth and newfound energy, Simcity 2000 - affectionately known as SC2K - gave players an even more believable and addicting way of playing than the first entry in the series.

Everything from the game's colour palette to the quirky music and animations helped in creating an appealing environment that sucked players in from the moment they chose their difficulty level and named their city. The challenge was, of course, to build and manage a thriving metropolis and provide it with a host of services and vital amenities. The game was even more inviting than the original thanks to the updated graphics and animations. Heavy traffic would be represented by cars clogging affected streets coupled with sound effects befitting such a situation . Upon catching sight of great grey toxic clouds hovering over parts of their latest developments, players would learn the importance of pollution control. If they didn't try to remedy the problems that arose, then rioters would fill the streets and boo them into submission. 

Photo Credit: Origin (Electronic Arts)

Photo Credit: Origin (Electronic Arts)

That's the charm of the game - one can lose themselves and become immersed in the sheer multitude of tasks and challenges associated with micromanaging a constantly evolving organism. The added depth was also present in the form of the unnecessary yet entertaining aspects of the game. For example, the player's decisions and the events that can occur in their city will directly influence several mock newspapers. Every so often the top stories are presented to the player, which they can expand upon and view. Everything from tax raises to plane crashes and earthquakes would be detailed... and usually involve a llama (Simcity creator Will Wright's favourite mammal). The text in Simcity 2000 was specially designed to keep players engaged. Even the placement of buildings came with unexpected surprises. Placing a park would result in infectious cheers, whereas raising taxes would present the player with a chorus of boos. Watching players such as Youtuber WeaselZone deal with the growing list of challenges that come with building a sprawling city is a great way to get a feel for how the game plays and evolves - almost dangerously so at times.

Video Credit: WeaselZone (Youtube)

Simcity 2000 was a hallmark entry in the series, and one that still stands the test of time despite the obvious graphical differences of the Nineties. I highly recommend finding the Windows 95 version; it features the best soundtrack treatment (and frequency of songs played) as well as graphical and UI fidelity. Still, for only a few dollars an equally enjoyable version can be downloaded via Origin and experienced. There's a reason that these kinds of iconic games are "classics"; they earned the respect and admiration that they deserve through engaging content, challenges and just great fun. It was a simpler time in the industry, but Simcity 2000 is anything but simple once you let it pull you in. Combined with a fantastic and memorable soundtrack, clever design and an all-around brilliant execution in terms of addictive yet escapist micromanagement, this is one game that really ought to be given a try. 

You have the opportunity to do whatever you wish in this colourful and detailed little piece of software. Build a village, pollute it with coal power, turn it into an industrial mecca, endure rioting and spiking crime rates, add commercial districts and turn it into a business and shopping paradise, clean up from earthquakes and tornadoes (or start them yourself) and so very much more. The poor little Sims in the isometric world you've shaped are subject to your will - whether your intentions are helpful or hindering are completely up to you. The game does little to hold your hand; rather, it almost seems to mock players with challenging difficulty even on "Easy" mode for some. 

Still, just try putting it down.