This article is about the video game series. For the first installment, see SimCity (1989 video game). For the 2013 game, see SimCity (2013 video game). For the Susumu Hirasawa album, see Sim City (album).
SimCity is an open-ended city-building computer and console video game series originally designed by developer Will Wright. It is published by Maxis (now a division of Electronic Arts). The game was first published in 1989 as SimCity, and it has spawned several different editions sold worldwide. The ongoing success of SimCity has also sparked the release of many other spin-off “Sim” titles, including 2000′s The Sims, the best-selling computer game up until approximately 2012.
In SimCity, the player is given the task of founding and developing a city, while maintaining the happiness of the citizens and keeping a stable budget. In SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4, the player is allowed to alter the terrain of the city before building on it.
The player must define zones, each having limits on the kind of development that can occur there. Development of the zones is not performed directly by the player, but happens when certain conditions are met, such as power supply, adequate transport links or acceptable tax level. The residential zones, in green, provide housing for Sims; the commercial zones, in blue, provide shops and offices; and the industrial zones, in yellow, provide factories, laboratories and farms. There are three different densities in the game: low density for small buildings, medium density for low to mid-sized buildings, and high density for anything up to large tower blocks.
Developed in Orinda, California, SimCity’s game mechanics are heavily based on 20th century California development. For example, players start from an undeveloped greenfield, cars are the default form of transportation, earthquakes happen, zoning separates residential, commercial, and industrial land uses, and one can enact policies such as declaring one’s city a nuclear free zone.