eBay Purchase Price: $31 AUD
Country of Origin: Australia
For the most part my software collection comprises of mostly operating systems and productivity applications. Games are a bit of an afterthought for me but I guess to some people more desirable. Let’s face it, most with an interest in retro computing would rather an original copy of DOOM, than Microsoft SNA Server.
I hadn’t really looked for SimCity 2000, it just happen to come up browsing eBay. Fond memories playing this game just prior to adolescence still ensued. Not having the money to go and buy it, my first experience in the franchise had been from a then school friend passing me his copy. The concept of developing and managing your own city was of interest, which hasn’t changed to this day. I consequently played SimCity 3000 (2000), then SimCity 4 (2003) which became my overall favourite. Electronic Arts later published SimCity Societies (2007) and SimCity (2013). Both of these I wasn’t so keen on for different reasons, so now my city building fix comes from Cities Skylines (2015).
Unlike other games, Maxis was quite accommodating releasing SimCity 2000 for DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and the Macintosh. Originally on a couple of floppy disks, this Special Edition comprises a CD with the DOS and Windows versions, the Urban Renewal Kit, disaster scenarios, and over 100 new buildings. The Macintosh version could have easily fitted on the CD, so bit of a shame it’s not there.
A 486 PC with a minimum of 8 MB RAM were needed irrespective of running the DOS or Windows versions. There was mention of the Macintosh requirements which needed at least System 7.0 installed. A Macintosh II, Centris, or Quadra for desktops, or if you’re running a Powerbook one that was in the range of a 160 through to a Duo 230. 8 MB RAM was again recommended. Not isolated to SimCity 2000, it is one game that does complain when using a video driver supporting more than 256 colours.
The previous and original SimCity were played in a top-down view, now replaced with isometric graphics to give it a 3D appearance. It leaves for a more interesting game to look at, limited by 90 degree rotation. As your city starts building up, this becomes more apparent.
Over the years, you do forget how far we’ve come and I don’t mean the graphics. Yes the traffic looks like little black ants crawling around town, night time never came, and laying down a road at a 33 degree angle was nigh impossible. SimCity 2000 also forgoes waste management so there’s no need to find a place for a rubbish tip, encourage recycling, or build a waste-to-energy plant. A wind turbine will always generate four megawatts of electricity regardless of location. Providing medical facilities to your city, the only option is a hospital, not the additional breakdown to cater to the population such as clinics, hospitals, and medical centres. Likewise the same with education, the police force, etc. It is in the end a balancing act between being too simple and over complicating the game.
Sold separately at one point was the Urban Renewal Kit, now included in this Special Edition. If you were artistically inclined new buildings and land lots could be drawn up to your heart’s content. I personally never bothered.
Will Wright also makes an appearance on the CD-ROM, who worked on the game alongside Fred Haslam. Like watching a video on Microsoft Encarta, these are low-resolution clips that will end before you know it. In the background behind Will was a stack of Maxis titles and SimCity 2000 running, though couldn’t work out if he preferred a Macintosh or Windows PC from the poor visual quality.
At the time of this post, the game is available for sale from GOG.com. Be aware that this is the DOS version using DOSBox for emulation. A number of users were disappointed that it wasn’t the Windows version, which would have had the extra benefit of playing at higher resolutions.