Oct 082003
Authors: Daniel Hallford

I have total power. Mankind’s fate is at my every whim. As I

point and click the mouse, microscopic lives are changed and

commerce is made or destroyed. SimCity 4 is a power trip.

SimCity 4 is a game in which you are mayor of a virtual city,

with almost unlimited liberties regarding any facet of city

government. You are your own city council. You are the chief of

police, the fire chief, the dogcatcher, even Dean of Students at a

college named after you. What’s better than having everyone do

things for you, in your name?

In the latest installment of the SimCity games put out by Maxis,

SimCity 4 brings new ideas to the genre of real-time, simulation

computer games. While the same basic ideas prevail, now one can sit

down on one of their own streets and interact with other “Sims”

that inhabit your city. Get the perspective of a “Sim on the town,”

and get the low-down on whether or not you’re passing muster as


SimCity 4 isn’t all fun and games, as I found out that

ill-placed water pipes and faulty power lines could lead to

citywide unrest. A sewage plant placed next to the elementary

school is sure to brew up a lot of fun with the school board, and

that new statue of a famous war hero you just placed in city park

will really up your standards with the college population.

Making a quality city is a difficult task, as money begins to

wear thin after the first few minutes of play. After my attempt to

put in a cheat code, police were all over my office for fraud.

Accidentally bulldozing a coffee shop, I started a volatile hippie

riot. It’s a hard life, playing mayor.

Just when you think you have all the financial problems, zoning

ordinances and power grid puzzles solved, disaster strikes. An

earthquake rocks your city, destroying skyscrapers and splitting

subways in half, and you didn’t save the game. Now you have two

options, either call in the National Guard, police and fire forces

to get the problem solved, or play the pessimist and provoke the

problem. A handy button on the toolbar reads “choose a disaster,”

from which you can pick a wide range of difficult problems for your

citizens to deal with.

If you’re looking to kill some time or possibly frustrate

yourself, SimCity 4 might be a wise choice. I pity those of you who

don’t use cheat codes.





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