Throwback Thursdays: SimCity 2000

It is hard to believe that this year is the 20th anniversary of SimCity 2000. It was the first game I can remember staying up all night to play. SimCity 2000 was one of the rare games that received parental non-disapproval. After moving cross country four times, with three to four years between each move, that game is the only thing that has been lost and then replaced. I haven’t played it in a while, since I’m writing this on a Chromebook and never bothered buying a drive for my MacBook Pro, but this being a Throwback, I’m going to ask my younger self to review it for me.

SimCity 2000 graphics are awesome. Instead of the boring top-down colored blocks from SimCity, the view is almost 3D and the buildings have all different designs on them. You can zoom in to see details and spin the camera around to see things from different angles (important when you start building big buildings, because they’ll actually block your view sometimes). Now that your city is no longer in flatland, there is terrain to deal with as well as layout. You can edit the terrain for free before the game starts, creating mountains, lakes, forests, etc. Or, you can take a computer generated terrain, find a good spot to start your city, then reshape the terrain as you expand. I usually take the second approach, since it is more realistic, and isn’t that the whole point? It makes you consider building a road around that giant mountain (even though it screws up your grid), rather than embarking on a costly earthworks project.

Taking care of the city finances is important, since it determines how fast your city grows and what kind of development moves in. I try to avoid industrial cities because they’re dirty and make lots of pollution, so I usually zone very little industrial and enact any ordinance I can to keep things clean, even if it costs me money. Since the plot of land is so large, you can try sticking all the dirty industry off in a corner, but any successful game eventually takes over the whole area, so you’ll have to deal with them at some point.

I find the most challenging thing to do well is public transit. It doesn’t make sense to put in subways for a small town (and the game doesn’t make it available until your city is bigger anyway), so by the time you’re ready for a metro line, all the good places to put one are full. I don’t mind knocking down a building or two to put in the station (no eminent domain problems here!), but sometimes putting in the underground tracks automatically reshapes the land above, destroying whole blocks. This was always very frustrating to me and I never found a good way to avoid it.

There isn’t really any way to “win” at SimCity 2000, which is part of the appeal, but I find that I sometimes get a bit bored when my city is running too well. I’ve even left it on overnight and come back in the morning to things still running smoothly. Of course, a few fires may have burned some sections, or something like that, but the residents rebuild. Eventually, once I’ve filled up the map and am earning lots of money, I’ll throw in a bunch of disasters (tornadoes, fires, even alien attacks are possible), see how well I can react, then trash the city and start over from scratch. This way, you can play over and over again, each time making your city bigger, or better, or grow faster. It’s a wonderful game and I’m sure I will enjoy it for many years to come.

I’ve got many fond memories of SimCity 2000 and its descendants, though SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4 are sort of blurred together in my mind, but I never got in to any of the spin-offs, the most notable of which was TheSims. I like the grand scale of trying to manage an entire metropolis over managing individual lives, and I also stopped playing video games during college, when TheSims was all the rage. SimCity 2000 is a well-balanced Imperial Stout: it isn’t too aggressive, so it is easy to get started, but there is a lot of depth to its character and every once in a while you realize after the fact that you accidentally consumed a bit too much to handle in one sitting.

Want to try SimCity 2000 for yourself? Buy it via our link below and we’ll get a nice little Thank You from Amazon for sending you their way.


  1. Comment by theprain:

    Also, it have the world porntipsgazzardo

  2. Comment by Nilson Thomas Carroll:

    LOL at the awful SimCity 2000 GBA port I owned…

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