Simcity 4
January 17, 2003 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Simcity 4 and memories of misspent youth You don't need to be a geek to enjoy creating (and destroying) cities in the funky llama-loving world of Simcity. Simcity 4 has just been released, for good or bad. A lot of people seem to have "that game" that sticks with them. Maybe an old console or PC simulator such as Simcity still pops up in your mind once-in-awhile. Do you ever get hungry and say to yourself "Must build more farms."?
posted by Tystnaden (61 comments total)
I know PA popularized the "build more farms joke," but it isn't a new one. Credit where credit due, but they were not the first to make that joke. I just want to be clear I am not copying their lines. :)
posted by Tystnaden at 2:10 PM on January 17, 2003

My daughter plays Half Life, but, she is with the Devil.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:20 PM on January 17, 2003

Pitfall on Atari 2600.

Also Scarab of Ra for Mac.
posted by DakotaPaul at 2:26 PM on January 17, 2003

Google and memories of misspent youth. You don't need to be a geek to enjoy searching (and finding) information in the funky pancake-loving world of the internet. Froogle has just been released, for good or bad. A lot of people seem to have "search engines" that stick with them. Maybe an old search engine or portal such as Google still pops up in your mind once-in-awhile. Do you ever get bored and say to yourself "Make Google Your Homepage!"?
posted by blue_beetle at 2:29 PM on January 17, 2003

Zaxxon 3D for the ColecoVision.

Oh Dear God, I said it out loud. Now I have to go on EBay and try and find it again.
posted by bradth27 at 2:33 PM on January 17, 2003

I downloaded an Apple IIe emulator so I could play Oregon Trail. You know, they made newer editions for PCs that were far more complicated and realistic, but they could never beat that odd charm of the original.

I remember playing it in gradeschool, loading up my wagon with all the school bullies and seeing how quickly I could kill them all.
posted by katieinshoes at 2:43 PM on January 17, 2003

Harsh, blue_beetle.

I always get a meme-spreader chill when I read a post like this... Like in the new William Gibson novel, Pattern Recognition (out in February on Penguin Putnam), the character Stella is paid to pass on, conversationally, the meme for new and exciting products. Reminds me of the time this guy came into work, and asked us all if we'd seen the new Sony D-VM1, with its Virtual Surround Sound and 3.5" LCD.

But that's just me.
posted by armoured-ant at 2:48 PM on January 17, 2003

SimCity 4 is a great game, but you gotta have at least buff 3d card in order to play it. A lot of system RAM don't hurt either. I'm able to play it on a PIII 450 mhz (less than the minimum specs) but my extra ram and GeForce 4 make up for the slow cpu. The detail in the game is amazing ... if you invoke the "youth curfew" city ordinance, disaffected youths will begin tp'ing the richer homes in town. And you can actually WATCH them do it. Good times.

As to games that have always stuck with me: Netrek, played in the sixth grade on a Control Data PLATO system.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:48 PM on January 17, 2003

Tystnaden - that typo in your link is DEADLY!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:51 PM on January 17, 2003

I had an early version of SimCity in grad school that had some goofy little loophole by which I could somehow generate unlimited funds for building. So there was never any incentive to stop!

I also had a weird suite of Zen-friendly games (courtesy of my roommate, who copied it from someone else) called "Heaven and Earth"... does anyone else remember it? It entailed some strange combination of optical illusions and memory games and poetic-sounding astronomy terms. (Or maybe it just seemed that way, all liquored up at 3 a.m. and trying to come up with inventive ways to work Clash lyrics into my thesis. It can be done!)
posted by scody at 2:54 PM on January 17, 2003

It was The Bard's Tale trilogy that did it for me.
posted by robbie01 at 2:57 PM on January 17, 2003

scody: its all about typing in "fund" in the original SC, and there was another loophole in SC2K where you took out loans (bonds?) or something first and then did something else to get limitless funds...but that game was too hard for my small brain.
posted by jmd82 at 3:03 PM on January 17, 2003

When I was a kid, I got laid-up with a surgery for awhile and my parents bought me an Intellivision (this was when everyone and their brother had an Atari 2600). At first, I was sort of disappointed, as if I'd somehow gotten an inferior system, but after only a short time I convinced myself that the system I had was far better and more fun (even though many of the games were almost exactly the same, and the Intellivision actually had a more limited selection). At any rate, one of the first games I got was Pitfall, and I played it until my eyes were red. When the game first came out, there was some sort of deal where if you got to the end, and got a picture of yourself with the end on the television and sent it in, they'd send you a free shirt. Eventually, I made it through that damn game and got my shirt and I wore the hell out of that thing. It was beautiful...
posted by almostcool at 3:03 PM on January 17, 2003

There's a collection of Activision games that came out for PS2 a few months ago. I've finally gotten (digital copies of) all those badges I earned way back when.
posted by yerfatma at 3:16 PM on January 17, 2003

Arcade: Pong, Night Driver, Omega Race and Tempest.
Home: Adventure, Zork, Ultima and Myst.
posted by Dillenger69 at 3:18 PM on January 17, 2003

Sierra games-- Space Quest, King's Quest, Police Quest.
posted by xmutex at 3:26 PM on January 17, 2003

Typing fund into simcity 2k would eventually cause a major disastor in your city. I have the simcity 2k handbook and could look up the "safe" way to use the command, but I really am too lazy to open up the toybox. ;-)

Different revisions of simcity 2k would react differently to various codes.

IIRC, fund would also cause some weird noise (a llama?) to occurr...
posted by shepd at 3:33 PM on January 17, 2003

Spacewar, Zaxxon, Rogue, Elite, Space Quest I, Police Quest I and II, Bard's Tale I, Sentinel Worlds: Future Magic, Wasteland, Battlehawks 1942, Battle of Britain, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Wing Commander I and III, Civilization I and II, Full Throttle
posted by linux at 3:41 PM on January 17, 2003

The 'safe' way was to pause the game, preferably at the start, then type fundfundfundfund etc.

There'd only be one earthquake after you unpaused the game, rather than once ever 4 or 5 times.
posted by armoured-ant at 3:41 PM on January 17, 2003

Someone didn't test that SC4 website in IE5 Mac.
It's blank.
(works in NS7)
posted by cinderful at 3:43 PM on January 17, 2003

It's all about oldschool c64 pre-fallout game called Wastland.
Wasteland Web Ring
posted by woil at 3:55 PM on January 17, 2003

I remember Sim City 1 - the only way to build a successful city without cheating to be to not build any roads at all.

Oh, Sensible World Of Soccer, Elite, Dungeon Master, Lotus Esprit III, Pushover, Lemmings, Nuke War (MUD), etc.
posted by BigCalm at 4:00 PM on January 17, 2003


If I had spent a fraction of the time and energy on my schoolwork as I did on M.U.L.E. my senior year in high school, maybe I could have gone to a GOOD college.

Sigh. I still miss my C64.
posted by John Smallberries at 4:09 PM on January 17, 2003

I remember when a friend borrowed me the disks to simcity 2k, I played it for months every evening (when my father took home the laptop from work) would just rush away as I build another amazing city. Still I think it is the best game in the world.
posted by blink at 4:14 PM on January 17, 2003

For me the beauty and inovation of the sim series (city, farm, ant, tower, et al) is that more than games they were software toys as Will Wright has said himself. You didn't need to do it one certain way. You could go for a city with only trains for example. There wasn't an explicit goal of having your city grow.
BTW, in one of the later versions the way off getting more fund for free was typing "porn tips guzz ardo" but was later changed to "pron".
posted by golo at 4:20 PM on January 17, 2003

i resurrected my C64, tracked down some joysticks and am once again consumed by the Epyx Games line (summer games, winter games, world games, california games).

and Impossible Mission.

i just wish Wizard still worked.
posted by goddam at 4:41 PM on January 17, 2003

Archon.... one the greats for Apple IIe. Also Arctic Fox, which was a very innovative tank game with 3D wireframe graphics.... on the IIe!! You could go up hills and survey the landscape... damn that game kicked ass.

SimCity2k simply destroyed my dorm in high school, people were sneaking up past lights out to play until 3 AM.
posted by Spacelegoman at 4:47 PM on January 17, 2003

1. I am not a shill. I just thought this might be a good conversation to have outside the context of a game oriented site. I believed this would be a game most people heard of. I doubt many people remember "Floyd the Droid".

2. I used that URL on occasion but since I had DNS problems I didn't get a chance to double check and see that it got redirected to The homepage link put in my Start menu says "". Go figure.

Excuse the hell out of me for trying to have a good time.
posted by Tystnaden at 4:47 PM on January 17, 2003

that simcity website is a monster.

along the same lines as oregon trail was the lemonade stand one. anyone? you could sell something else, but we always sold lemonade.

sweet - construction!
posted by folktrash at 4:49 PM on January 17, 2003

folktrash - lemonade stand was the killer app for me and my Apple ][. In 1997 or so, I found that a CS student wrote a perl/cgi engine and web front end for the same basic lemonade stand game, and I played it online for days on end trying to make more and more cash.

I just googled a bit looking to see if it was still up, but all I can find are some cheesy lemonade stand java applet games covered in banner ads.
posted by mathowie at 5:05 PM on January 17, 2003

Airborne Ranger. Can remember countless afternoons spent hiding in the pond with a knife, leading enemy soldiers onto the cracked ice, etc. while snacking on individually wrapped processed cheese and Coca-Cola in cans. Have never played a game that can beat it. GoldenEye on the N64 came close, but there are no randomly generated missions and no medals.
posted by son_of_minya at 5:05 PM on January 17, 2003

I am also a former lemonade junkie. I can still remember all the beepy tunes for the different types of weather you'd get.

My favorite game of all time, though has to be Dark Castle on the (monochrome) Mac. The game was thoroughly well-done with all sorts of subtle touches that were just perfect - like the way the game character would react when his little helicopter backpack ran out of gas.

On preview - no one mentioned Tetris. I went through a huge Tetris-addiction period, along with many of my friends. I used to dream about it, even.
posted by beth at 5:20 PM on January 17, 2003

Tystnaden, I think Pretty_Generic is referring to the typo in your PA link. The site you unintentionally linked spawns a bunch of nasty popups and tries to install Gator.
posted by bwanabetty at 5:25 PM on January 17, 2003

Any Emerald Mines players out there? It was a crazy Boulderdash-type game for the Amiga. It had 80 levels and they were a sweet combination of arcade and puzzle. My best buddy in high school and Amiga-dom at the time, and I, used to take the two-player mode (which was cooperative) and play competitively. Whoever died first lost. The best part was using the fact that you both had to be on the same screen to trap the other person under a bomb or rock.

I looked it up a few years back and found a way to play on Linux. The thing that most amazed me was that it appeared that fans had made 100s of more levels for the game. It was great, but maybe not that great.

I'm looking for a Windows Emerald Mines solution right now. Wish me luck.
posted by Wood at 5:38 PM on January 17, 2003

ok then. Ultima 4 on the C64, along with Paradroid, Fort Apocalypse, the aforementioned epyx Games series (hackysack!), and Archon. More recently, WarCraft 2, Quake, HalfLife, Pikmin. Oh yeah, and the Renegade Outpost MUD, and xPilot!
posted by jeffj at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2003

WolfDaddy: Good to hear about your positive experiences with SC4 on a 450Mhz machine! I actually cancelled my preorder when I heard how slow it was working for some people. I have 1Ghz and a GF4Ti, and worried it might be too slow ;-) Perhaps I'll take the risk now, and look out for the cheaper 'unwanted gift' versions on eBay!
posted by wackybrit at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2003

Well, seeing as how a lot of people seem to have a specific fondness for SimCity may I in fact be a shill for a fabulous, but so not publicized game called Europa 1400: The Guild?

It's everything I wanted The Sims to be (building a dynastic family, not managing bathroom breaks, in other words) plus a dash of city building and a lot of economic and political strategy. The third generation leader of the "Wolfe" family just became sovereign of the nation and can now commit revenge upon other dynasties in retalition (and with impunity ... I'm the sovereign!) for when they messed with me in the first generation when I was weak. Good times.

Steep learning curve, but just because there's so many different paths to take.

Really want to get word of mouth going on this game because they'll make another one if this one sells. It's the most unique mixing of game concepts to hit me in quite a while. To be honest, I'm having as much fun with this game as I am with SimCity 4. Life is good.

wackybrit: There is a memory leak in the initial build of SC4. If you spend a lot of time switching between different zoom levels and/or between different cities in your region sooner or later you'll slow to a crawl. A save and restart kicks things back up a notch. I also haven't yet built a city higher in population than 10K (learning curve is a curve ball for those familiar with Sim City games, probably will be easier to learn for the total newbs) so ymmv. Have fun, though.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:55 PM on January 17, 2003

mmm. paradroid.

thanks to some handy dandy emulators, I can (and often do) still play that.

Jumpman isn't the same without the old atari joystick, though.

Oh, and SC4 rocks. It rocks pretty slowly on my 1.1gz duron, with .5g ram and a GF4ti, but it still rocks. And for once, the music doesn't completely and totally suck.
posted by jaded at 5:55 PM on January 17, 2003

Playing Diamond Caves II presently.
posted by Wood at 5:57 PM on January 17, 2003

It's all about Hardwar. The game was released ages ago and the developers are still working on it.
posted by ODiV at 6:03 PM on January 17, 2003

boulderdash alternate reality loderunner oids.
thank god for spods!
posted by asok at 6:16 PM on January 17, 2003

Star Trek on the mainframe (late 70's)
posted by hockeyman at 6:26 PM on January 17, 2003

For me, Lemmings on an Amiga 500. Sweet, sweet lemmings.
posted by contessa at 7:31 PM on January 17, 2003

I wish somebody would do Uridium for the PC ...
posted by kaemaril at 7:36 PM on January 17, 2003

Thanks for the comments. I'm swinging between getting SC4 and Powazek's book. Perhaps I should quit playing games while I'm ahead! *g*

Oh, and I just remembered that the band 'Cake' gave the best SimCity advice in their lyrics to 'Comanche' (sic):

<<If you want to have cities, you've got to build roads.>>
posted by wackybrit at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2003

Sadly, I attempted building a city in SC4 on Rock and Roll, but apparently Starship has no clue about urban development whatsoever.

posted by Stan Chin at 7:49 PM on January 17, 2003

For me it will always be Wizball on the C64, beyond all doubt. I've never played a shoot-em-up as finely designed as this one before or since.
posted by Gamecat at 7:50 PM on January 17, 2003

Jumpman! Elite! Paradroid! MULE! Uridium! Archeron!! Wizards of ... damn. What where they wizards of again?
posted by muckster at 9:05 PM on January 17, 2003

Anybody else have a dad so goddamned cheap he bought you an Odyssey 2 instead of Atari, Coleco, or Intellivision? *

Well at least it had K.C. Munchkin, Invaders from Hyperspace, and Decathelete.

And Asok -

* My dad also got me a Huffy bike with a banana seat instead of a BMX or a KC Ripper...but I'm not bitter
posted by vito90 at 10:07 PM on January 17, 2003

Wood: Any Emerald Mines players out there? It was a crazy Boulderdash-type game for the Amiga...

mmmm...... Emerald Mines. Oh yes, I loved Emerald Mines as well. Played it constantly for months and months, until I got Carrier Command...

Any luck finding Emerald Mines for Windows?
posted by bshort at 10:09 PM on January 17, 2003

M*U*L*E, Alternate Reality, Rocket Ranger (had a bug and couldn't be won, but it was still fun), Elite all on the C-64.
posted by Trik at 10:35 PM on January 17, 2003

C-64/Apple IIe games the ruled my life as a kid:

M*U*L*E - probably the last game that my dad and I played together...after that, they became too action oriented for his tastes

Archon - I still dream of the day when chess would be as cool as this game and the pieces would fight for each spot in front of my eyes

Choplifter - sure it's fun to save those hostages, but you're a damn dirty liar if you never got a kick out of mowing them down as they ran towards you (and then ran away when they figured out what you were doing)

Summer Games - my crowning achievement was pulling off the nigh-impossible 6-sommersault dive with a knife-edge entry to the water

Wizardry - my first foray into an computerized RPG...I started playing it on my friends computer a couple weeks after we started playing D&D, and it was fascinating
posted by grum@work at 10:50 PM on January 17, 2003

Actually, when hungry, I never mention farms. For me, it's "Red Wizard needs food badly!" and "Red Wizard is about to die." Took me a while to explain it to the missus.

(P.S. Actually knew the author of Rocket Ranger. And Wizardry ate an entire summer I was supposed to be learning UCSD Pascal during.)
posted by Samizdata at 2:28 AM on January 18, 2003

elf ! your life force is running out!
elite ! sabre wulfe! lords of midnight!
civ 2! half life ! operation flashpoint !
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:28 AM on January 18, 2003

Ah, how I well remember those sweet years spent sailing the Oriental seas, trading opium and battling pirate ships. Taipan ruled my life.

Also, Murder On The Zinderneuf.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:10 AM on January 18, 2003

Samizdata: when my wife knocked over a plate of nachos last night, I instinctively said "The elf has shot the food". Even after I explained it, she still looked at me funny.

If we were to talk about games you could play on an IBM clone (remember when we used to call them that?), then Civilization and League Hockey Simulator (with Wayne Gretzky's Hockey) would be the biggest time/life vacuums for that era.

posted by grum@work at 7:21 AM on January 18, 2003

What a great post!!! My childhood geek has come out to play! I have to agree with robbie0 - The Bard's Tale completed consumed me for a period. I was the palest kid on my block that summer.

Does anyone remember a game for the Commodore called The Last Ninja? I always remember it having the best graphics I'd ever seen for the C64. Hard as hell to play, tho.
posted by mooseindian at 7:23 AM on January 18, 2003

had totally forgotten Choplifter up until now. Also loved Yar's Revenge (2600), Tetris, and PT-109. Plus some dippy little shareware Air Traffic Control simulator. There was some online game about trading in space that I used to play on a BBS, too, but I can't remember the name.
posted by Vidiot at 11:35 AM on January 18, 2003

ZORK and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! For some unidentifiable reason those old infocom games with no graphics, command line inputs and cruddy invisible ink hint books that were necessary for finishing the game have always recalled fond memories. kind of like when you enjoy the book much more than watching the movie because it allows one to exercise their imagination.
posted by Gif at 1:02 PM on January 18, 2003

Elite on the BBC B is the first game I ever played - and is still playable today. Civilsation, first on my friends Amiga 500 and then on my *new* 286 IBM PS2 occupied about 10 years of my life, and I still play it fairly often (Babylonian power!). Goldeneye on the N64, Tekken 3 on the PS1 and Might and Magic 6 nearly cost me my degree a few years ago...
posted by prentiz at 2:05 AM on January 20, 2003

For some unidentifiable reason those old infocom games with no graphics, command line inputs and cruddy invisible ink hint books that were necessary for finishing the game have always recalled fond memories.

Yes, yes, yes. I have yet to play a modern game with a story that rivals Infocom's Trinity. Saddest ending of a game ever.

Bethesda Softworks' Morrowind has come within inchs of killing me recently (due to lack of sleep and food).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:18 AM on January 20, 2003

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