At their greatest scale, SimCity’s cities are self-powering machines with hundreds of thousands of moving parts. They churn through endless feedback loops, feeding Sims into swirling cause and effect eddies that produce money, goods, happiness, and growth. After over a week of building, smashing, and rewiring SimCity’s machines to figure out how they work, they still surprise me.
SimCity is the series’ greatest technical achievement. Will Wright’s 1989 original and every Maxis-developed SimCity that came after are about the same thing: building and simulating cities. SimCity does that too, but with a drastically different method. It shifts the simulation from abstract data-crunching to the visible, real-time interactions of thousands of individual Sims, cars, residences, businesses, factories, and everything else you might find in a city.