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Several years ago, the software community became fascinated with the idea of combining educational programs with arcade and strategy games. "Info-tainment" or "Edu-tainment" would scam kids into learning while vegged out in front of their computers. The idea was sound but the resulting products left much to be desired. In factoring in the facts, game designers lost touch with the excitement and conflict challenges of "pure" strategy games. "SimCity: The City Simulator" from Maxis stands above all the others as a realization of this game/educational simulation hybrid. SimCity players take charge of an evolving, growing city. Acting as both Mayor and city planning department they must collect taxes, balance budgets, build houses, roads, commercial districts, and manage the power companies. One of the real strengths of SimCity is its flexibility. Benevolent players can attempt to turn their city into a self-sustaining utopia, while more destructive players can skyrocket taxes, manipulate property values and even unleash natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes and floods.

While this might not sound like the most likely arena for an engaging strategy game, the results have proven infectious with children and adults alike. "We've actually had kids call up and ask if we know of city planning books that might help them in their development strategy," reports Maxis president Jeff Braun. "You can't ask for a better endorsement than that."

SimCity is available for IBM and compatibles, Macintosh, Amiga and Commodore computer systems.

(G. Branwyn)



Maxis Software
953 Mountain View Drive,
Suite 113
Layfayette, CA 94549


Here is the TEXT POPUP for SimCity


Your city is divided into three primary zones: residential, commercial and industrial. These zones symbolize the three basic pillars upon which a city is based: population, industry, and commerce. All three are necessary for your city to grow and thrive.

RESIDENTIAL ZONES are where the Sims live. Here they build houses, apartments and community facilities such as churches and schools. Sims are the workforce for your city's commercial and industrial zones.

INDUSTRIAL ZONES are used to site warehouses, factories, and other unsightly and polluting structures which have a negative impact on surrounding zones. One of the major goals of planning is to separate these "nuisances" from the areas where people live. In this simulation, industrial zones represent the "basic" production of your city. Things produced here are sold outside the city to an "external market," bringing money into the city for future growth.

COMMERCIAL ZONES represent the retail stores and services in your city, including gas stations, grocery stores, banks, and offices. Commercial areas are mainly dedicated to producing goods and services needed within your city. This is called "non-basic" production or production for the "internal market."

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