Sim City 4

By Shamus
on Apr 21, 2006
Filed under:
Game Reviews

My wife and I were shopping for a new laptop the other night. (The laptop is for her. I never leave the house so I don’t know what I’d do with one.) We didn’t find one, but I did get snagged at the software rack and ended up impulse buying Sim City 4.

I’ve been meaning to get the game anyway. My former boss left our company to go work for Maxis and had a hand in the game, so I wanted to get it just because it’s cool to see the name of a friend in the credits.

Sim City 4 is very much the same as its predecessors. The problem with this series is that they pretty much nailed it with Sim City 2000, which was more than a decade ago. They perfected the formula, and now all they can do is add pixels. Nothing wrong with that, but there is nothing like buying a new game, installing it, starting it up, and then realizing you’ve already played it.

This iteration does have a few nice features that were on my own Sim City wishlist. Buildings can be built on hills. There is a nice day / night cycle. You can build different types of roads or make rolling farmlands. I’ve always wanted to make a more rural / suburbia area, and the game will at last let you do that.

But the best feature of the game is the ability to target taxes on very specific groups. You can have business and industry pay all the taxes, and give residents a free ride. Or give the poor a break and cut their taxes, thus moving the tax burden onto the rich. You can set things up to be nice and egalitarian.

Or, you can take a more sinister approach and enact an inverted progressive tax. (Would that make it a regressive tax?) Tired of cheap houses and shabby buildings? Just crank up the taxes on the poor and drive them out of town. Lower taxes on the rich and thus attract more of them. Pretty soon you’ll have a city with nothing but wealthy people and beautiful buildings. Nobody seems to really mind. (Except the poor, but they left anyhow so who cares what they think?)

If this were any sort of a realistic simulation my political career would end moments after suggesting such a policy. But it isn’t, so I’m free to tax the poor as much as I like. After all, they brought it on themselves. I certainly never told them to be poor. If they don’t like the high taxes they can get their act together and get rich like every other self-respecting citizen.

It’s a winning strategy, let me tell you.

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1624 comments. (That's 10 in Hexadecimal.)

From the Archives:

  1. Dan says:

    do they have the “trickle down effect”
    Example: wealthy man buys rolex watch- then gets mugged-watch sold to the poor out of the back of a van.

  2. Shamus says:

    LOL! That’s not “trickle down”. That’s “beat down”.

    Now that I think of it, this is a whole new branch of study for economists. The redistributive effects of muggings, which should be re-named “violent involuntary contributions to the disadvantaged”.

  3. There are several of the early Sim games which are long overdue for a revisit, particularly Sim-Earth and Sim-Life. Both games could be improved drastically by taking advantage of modern graphics, and even more so by using much more computationally complex and interesting simulations which are practical now because modern PCs are so much more powerful.

    Well, I guess I can dream, anyway.

  4. . says:

    Check out the upcoming game Spore — Looks like an amazing game in the genre of SimEarth/Life.

  5. Shamus says:

    I have a post on spore here.

  6. Shamus says:

    And anyone who likes sim games should watch the spore tech demo given by Will Wright. It’s amazing.

  7. Pixy Misa says:

    Now that I think of it, this is a whole new branch of study for economists.

    It’s been studied, actually. Answer is: Theft causes poverty.

    Did you get the Rush Hour expansion with it?

  8. Shamus says:

    It’s been studied, actually. Answer is: Theft causes poverty

    Just so you don’t go away with the idea that I was serious: I was kidding.

    I got the “deluxe”, which I guess comes with rush hour.

  9. con-way says:

    my site is tight lol ….sim ciy is the best

  10. I bought off my friend Sim City 4 deluxe edition for my laptop, and she does not have the entry code to install it on my laptop is there anyone who can email me the 20 digit # so i can install and play this game. I have all the sims and old school sim city, now i want to play this one but cant, SOMEBODY please help me, Thank you Barb

  11. I remember the original Sim City. A wish they have a nice feature where you raid the public coffers and give part of the money to big developers. This way your city would have amazing developments and you could deal with the publicity and trial once you were busted by some internal investigation. The press would ask questions like, “Sir, did you not give Mr. Fairchild a $5,000 Rolex for Christmas out of the city’s tax revenue?” Of course that would be to real.

  12. Fusilier says:

    …but there is nothing like buying a new game, installing it, starting it up, and then realizing you’ve already played it.”

    Feel a bit awkward commenting on a post that’s three years old, but when I read that I couldn’t help but think of the new Sims game–The Sims 3. A day after I bought it I was already bored of it because it was so similar to TS2. Yet, strangely, I enjoyed TS2 more. TS3 just feels like a rehash of TS2, but with uglier Sims. :/

    • Richard Der Große says:

      Lol i had the exactly same reaction to the sims 3. I didn’t really care about the “don’t expect too much new on it” phrase from several gaming mags but when I got started with the game I literally got depressions. EXACT the same like the second part of the game series!

  13. Justice says:

    When installing it, right after registration it begins to download but then says “Please insert disk 2” As soon as I do it doesnt respond and i have to close it down, are there any suggestions or advice on what i should do? Would be helpful, Thanks!

  14. ACman says:

    I love how pundits on Fox are now suggesting this when anybody comments on taxing the rich or increasing company tax.

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