Taking Cover: Sim City

Imagine a future in which the population of the human race reside in huge Arcologies – integrated cities contained within massive vertical structures so as to conserve as much as the surrounding landscape as possible. Imagine then “the exodus” in which three hundred of these Arcologies launches into outer space in the years following 2051, so that their inhabitants can form new civilisations on distant worlds alien to our own.

This isn’t the plot of James Blish’s classic science fiction quartet Cities in Flight – in which entire cities launch themselves into space to escape an oppressive world regime – but the “victory sequence” of SimCity 2000 the 1994 sequel to the earlier Maxis classic Sim City. Though not an end game sequence in itself – the construction cost of the Arcologies returns to your coffers and allows you to rebuild the city anew, it was chosen as the ultimate reward for the player in perhaps the greatest city building simulation ever made.

The original game, designed by Will Wright, a designer with an interest in urban planning, was originally made in 1985 for the Commodore 64, but wasn’t released until 1989, when it was published as one of the launch titles for Maxis. Wright included a number of scenarios which sought to highlight Wright’s advocacy of mass transit and his criticisms of nuclear power. The Five Mile Island Disaster still fresh in the memory, Wright included a scenario in which the player had to rebuild Boston following a nuclear meltdown, as well as one in which the player has to introduce a mass transit system to Bern, the capital of Switzerland.

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