Deconstructing City

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You’d swear we live in a Sim-reality – well, at least judging from the recent strain of Sim-DNA promenading in the PC market.

First, the barrier-breaking, real-life module, The Sims, launched into fame; then Sim Theme Park hit the PlayStation console; and now, Maxis provides a reinvention of its trophy-worthy franchise, Sim City 3000: Unlimited.

The concept might appear to have been overdrawn, but for a game that has already spawned dozens of spin-offs, rip-offs and blatant clones, “addictive” is still a key adjective in all critical reviews.

Molding your own personal sanctum for your Sim-citizens to thrive has never been more itemized.

Take one of the more action-packed elements of the game as an example: Sentencing your metropolis to four new disasters adds a little variation to the generally monotonous tornado. Inflict the biblical plague of locusts, pollute the atmosphere with a Los Angeles-reminiscent toxic cloud or maybe just catch a few pieces of space junk in your downtown gridlock – all of which will have your populace moving on to neighboring communities.

The Maxis team also provides a special “Landmarks” capability, allowing construction of everything from Notre Dame to Detroit’s own Renaissance Center. And for gamers with compulsive creativity, opening the “Building Architect Plus” supplement allows your imagination to take shape – in clicks-and-mortar, that is.

Statistics state Sim City 3000 was the “number one PC Game of 1999”; and installing this Unlimited edition, chock-full of tons of exciting extras, is a trend worth following. But after seeing the capabilities of this 3000 pack, the world can only wait in anticipation for what new gimmicks Sim City 4000 will bring to the series.

Jon M. Gibson writes about video games for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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