|Platform(s)||Mac OS, MS-DOS, Amiga, SNES, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance, Windows Mobile|
SimCity 2000 is a city-building simulation video game jointly developed by Will Wright and Fred Haslam of Maxis. It is the successor to SimCity Classic and was released for Apple Macintosh personal computers in 1993, after which it was released on other platforms over the following years, such as the Sega Saturn and SNES game consoles in 1995 and the PlayStation in 1996.
SimCity 2000 is played from an isometric perspective as opposed to the previous title, which was played from a top-down perspective. The objective of the game is to create a city, develop residential and industrial areas, build infrastructure and collect taxes for further development of the city. Importance is put on increasing the standard of living of the population, maintaining a balance between the different sectors, and monitoring the region's environmental situation to prevent the settlement from declining and going bankrupt, as extreme deficit spending gets a game over.
SimCity 2000 was critically praised for its vibrant and detailed graphics, improved control menu, gameplay and music. An approximate total of 4.23 million copies of SimCity 2000 have been sold, mainly in the United States, Europe and Japan. While its predecessor pioneered the city-building genre of video games, SimCity 2000 would become the model upon which subsequent urban simulators would be based over the course of the next decade.
The unexpected and enduring success of the original SimCity, combined with the relative lack of success with other "Sim" titles, finally motivated the development of a sequel. SimCity 2000 was a major extension of the concept. It had a near-isometric dimetric view (similar to the earlier Maxis-published A-Train) instead of overhead, land could have different elevations, and underground layers were introduced for water pipes and subways.
New types of facilities include prisons, schools, libraries, museums, marinas, hospitals and arcologies. Players can build highways, roads, bus depots, railway tracks, subways, train depots and zone land for seaports and airports. There are a total of nine varieties of power plants in SimCity 2000, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind turbines, hydroelectric dams (which can only be placed on waterfall tiles), solar and the futuristic fusion power and satellite microwave plant. Most types of power plants have a limited life span and must be rebuilt periodically. Players can build highways to neighboring cities to increase trade and the population.
The budget and finance controls are also much more elaborate—tax rates can be set individually for residential, commercial and industrial zones. Enacting city ordinances and connecting to neighboring cities became possible. The budget controls are very important in running the city effectively.
Another new addition in SimCity 2000 is the query tool. Using the query tool on tiles reveals information such as structure name and type, altitude, and land value. Certain tiles also display additional information; power plants, for example, display the percentage of power being consumed when queried, and querying roads displays the amount of traffic on that tile. Querying a library and selecting "Ruminate" displays an essay written by Neil Gaiman.
Graphics were added for buildings under construction in the residential, commercial, and industrial zones, as well as darkened buildings depicting abandoned buildings as a result of urban decay.
News comes in the form of several pre-written newspaper articles with variable names that could either be called up immediately or could be subscribed to on a yearly basis. The newspaper option provided many humorous stories as well as relevant ones, such as new technology, warnings about aging power plants, recent disasters and opinion polls (highlighting city problems). SimCity 2000 is the only game in the entire series to have this feature (besides the discontinued children's version, SimTown), though newer versions have a news ticker. The newspapers had random titles (Times, Post, Herald, etc.), and prices based on the simulated year. Certain newspapers have a special monthly humor advice column by "Miss Sim". Some headlines have no purpose whatsoever in the game, such as "Bald Radio Found" or "Frog Convention".
Though there is no "true" victory sequence in SimCity 2000, the "exodus" is a close parallel. An "exodus" occurs during the year 2051 or later, when 300 or more Launch Arcologies are constructed; the following January each one "takes off" into space so that their inhabitants can form new civilizations on distant worlds. This reduces the city's population to those who are not living in the Launch Arcologies, but it also opens wide areas for redevelopment and returns their construction cost to the city treasury. This is related to the event in SimEarth where all cities are moved into rocket-propelled domes that then leave to "found new worlds" (leaving no sentient life behind).
The game also included several playable scenarios, in which the player must deal with a disaster (in most, but not all scenarios) and rebuild the city to meet a set of victory conditions. These were based in versions of real-life cities, and some were based on real events such as the Oakland firestorm of 1991, the 1989 Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, South Carolina, the Great Flood of 1993 in Davenport, Iowa, or dealing with the 1970s economic recession in Flint, Michigan—but also included more fanciful ones such as a "monster" destroying Hollywood in 2001. More scenarios added with the SimCity Urban Renewal Kit (SCURK) included a nuclear meltdown in Manhattan in 2007.
In 1994, Maxis released an expansion pack to SimCity 2000 called Scenarios Vol. I: Great Disasters, which included new scenarios based on a number of possible disasters. These disasters generally destroy the city and require the player to rebuild the city. They include: A UFO attack, two nuclear meltdown scenarios, two major chemical spill scenarios, a large flood, a major hurricane, two firestorm scenarios, a volcano, an earthquake, a high power microwave beam misfire, riots, and a typhoon.
Alongside the Great Disasters Scenarios package came the introduction of a separate toolset called the SimCity Urban Renewal Kit (SCURK for short). It enabled players to modify the images used in-game to represent various buildings in much the same manner as general image manipulation software. The player was able to create basic bitmap files of a standard size with a standard 256 color palette. The use of limited palette cycling, which permitted animation, was also possible.
A number of pre-altered graphics packages were distributed, including some which replaced the reward buildings with images of various well known international buildings, such as the Eiffel Tower, but most buildings were made by fan-artists and shared on the Internet. Several SCURK designs influenced the designs of SimCity 3000's original buildings. The cities made in SCURK can be saved and used for SimCity 2000. SCURK would also pave way to a hobby of creating custom cities for SimCopter and Streets of SimCity.
Ports and special editions
SimCity 2000 has been released on a wide range of platforms and version since its debut in 1993, ranging from ports of personal computers and video game consoles, to special editions.
SimCity 2000 Special Edition
A re-packaged version of SimCity 2000, SimCity 2000 Special Edition (also known as the CD Collection), was released on February 7, 1995 for Microsoft Windows and DOS PCs. In addition to containing All expansions, it also featured the SimCity Urban Renewal Kit, the Vol. 1 scenario pack, remade music, new cities selected by Maxis from a 1994 competition, bonus scenarios and cities, and movies.
The movies were a first for Maxis; SimCity 2000-SE was the first "Sim" game to feature produced videos. These videos included the introduction movie and four commentary videos by Will Wright; the latter were accessed via the "WillTV" application that came with the game.
In December 2014 Electronic Arts offered SimCity 2000 Special Edition as a free download for an unspecified limited time. Unlike the original release versions of the game, this downloadable version requires connectivity to the Electronic Arts servers for saves and gameplay.
SimCity 2000 Network Edition
SimCity 2000 Network Edition, sometimes unofficially referred to as the "Gold Edition", was released in 1996 for Windows 32-bit only. The game features slightly different gameplay in network mode, where mayors may start with more money, but must buy land before building upon it. Players (up to 4) of the Network Edition have the ability to share in-game resources and to compete or cooperate with other cities.
This version also features a revamped user interface. Instead of a static toolbar, items are accessed via cascading menus from the right of the screen, resulting in more screen real-estate for SimCity itself, without sacrificing functionality.
SimCity 2000 (RISC OS)
SimCity 2000 (Sega Saturn)
The first console version of the game, one of the first games announced for the Sega Saturn, and one of the first titles for the American Sega Saturn, it was released in fall of 1995.
This version had several changes. The game has enhanced graphics for all buildings. The buildings will change at the year of 1950 and 2000. There are also 3D animations displayed for each building in the building query windows. The scenarios from the Great Disasters expansion packs are included. The gameplay remains the same for the most part. Instead of the Braun Llama Dome, there is a Space Terminal which assist the launching of the Arco. The arco can be seen launching from the city along with a special animated video. There are several new animated videos. The opening sequence displays a scene of the Alien/Monster chasing a Launch Arco in space.
SimCity 2000 (PlayStation)
The PlayStation version of the game is based on the Saturn version, however with some features removed and others added. This version was released on the PlayStation Network in Europe for both PSP and PS3 on November 20, 2008 and in North America on Aug 28, 2009.
This version features the same graphics as the Saturn version, however the city does not evolve. The only additions are new scenarios from Great Disasters scenario pack, including one that involves a new volcano forming in Portland (destroying most of the city, and requiring the mayor to rebuild it). The Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. scenarios are on the disk but are not used.
SimCity 2000 (Nintendo 64)
It featured some additional features, mainly mini-games, a dating game, TV to replace the newspaper, horse races and monster breeding, among others, all of them in 3D. A few new "natural" disasters were also included, most of them being giant monster attacks (players were able to use their monster to fight against them).
Another Japan-only release, SimCity 64 was based on the SimCity 2000 game but was heavily customized for the Nintendo 64DD game system. The ability to view the city at night was added, pedestrian level free-roaming of a city, and individual road vehicles and pedestrians controlled by their own AI wandered the player's city. Cities in the game are also presented in much more advanced 3D graphics, making SimCity 64 the first true 3D SimCity game.
SimCity 2000 (Super Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Famicom)
This port was released in North America in late 1996, near the end of the Super Nintendo's life span. There were a lot of losses and differences from the original version.
The scrolling screen takes much longer to scroll and the in-game controls were modified. As in the previous SimCity title, there is no SNES Mouse support. Riots and volcanoes were removed. Also, the SNES port omits the cheat codes, limits the city maps to six, has no difficulty setting and includes only five generic scenarios. There is only one save slot. There is only one newspaper for the whole city, no matter what size that the city is. The game has fewer songs than the original PC version.
In addition, the stock photographs were replaced with more Japanese anime/manga-like pictures. This is the only port of the game to feature such pictures. All team names, city names, and mayor names were limited to 8 characters, whereas the PC version allows for up to 32 characters. There are additional gifts: a bigger city hall at 1,000,000 population, a TV station at 2,000,000 population, and a rocket launching pad at 3,000,000 population. The player can see an actual launch of a single launch arco by achieving 5,000,000 population in the last scenario.
SimCity 2000 (Game Boy Advance)
Released by Zoo Digital in 2003, SimCity 2000 for the Game Boy Advance featured most of the same content as previous versions, but several features are omitted, such as launch arcos. There is no water system, but it is unknown whether this was to make it a better portable experience or because of technical limitations.
SimCity 2000 v1.01c (IBM OS/2 Warp)
Released by WinWare February 6, 1996 ported by Mark A. Pietras, Micheal A. Pitts, James R. Thomas.
In the United States, SimCity 2000 was the ninth best-selling computer game between 1993 and 1999, selling 1.4 million units. During 1996 alone, it achieved sales of 500,000 copies. According to PC Data, SimCity 2000 SE was the United States' 20th-best-selling computer game during the January–November 1998 period. According to Maxis's Lucy Bradshaw, SimCity 2000 achieved global sales of 3.4 million units across all platforms by January 2002.
Computer Gaming World's reviewer, an author of a book on the first SimCity, wrote in 1994 that SimCity 2000 for Macintosh offered "plenty of new challenges", fixed "virtually every criticism I leveled at the game" in the book, and "is without question a superior program". He concluded that it was "more fun than the original SimCity ... It's Sim-ply irresistible". The magazine said that the CD version's "multimedia enhancements make for a more accessible and enjoyable product".
SimCity 2000 was named Best Simulation at the 1994 Codie awards, the fifth win in a row for Maxis. It was a runner-up for Computer Gaming World's Strategy Game of the Year award in June 1994, losing to Master of Orion. The editors wrote, "This advanced city simulator adds many of the features and considerations that were previously lacking in the original SimCity." It was also a finalist for Electronic Entertainment's 1993 "Best Game" award, which ultimately went to X-Wing.
In 1994 PC Gamer US named SimCity 2000 the 7th best computer game ever, and PC Gamer UK named it the best computer game of all time, writing, "Near perfect in conception and execution, SimCity 2000 does what most games never even dream of." In 1996, Next Generation listed the personal computer versions as number 33 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time", calling it "easily one of the most enthralling games playable." In August 2016, SimCity 2000 placed 13th on Time's The 50 Best Video Games of All Time list.
Famitsu magazine's Reader Cross Review gave the Super Famicom version of the game a 6 out of 10. Andromeda of GamePro commented that it suffers from an awkward control interface and repetitive music, but offers more than the Super NES version of the original and is an overall worthwhile purchase for simulation fans.
Ed Lomas of Sega Saturn Magazine criticized the slow scrolling in the Saturn port but applauded the game itself for its depth, realism, and addictiveness, calling it "one of the few games that appeals to just about everyone. It ... has the strange ability to convert full-time arcade shooter fans into around the clock urban planners with a sense of civic duty." A reviewer for Maximum commented that the Saturn port contains all the considerable content of the PC version and is good fun to play, but has worse graphics and more slowdown than the PC version does, even when running on computers which are much less powerful than the Saturn.
A reviewer for Next Generation said that the Saturn version "is a carbon copy of the latest installment of this city-planning simulation game, and, as such, it carries with it the monstrously addictive quality and absorbing challenge of all SimCity games." He said that the one major problem is the Saturn version's lack of mouse support. GamePro's brief review said that the expanded menu "bogs Sim City [sic] 2000 down a little" but that the game would still be enjoyable for fans of the series.
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly applauded the PlayStation version for including mouse support, declaring the game the killer app for the PlayStation Mouse. They criticized the port's interface and low resolution graphics, which Dan Hsu felt were enough to ruin the game, but were unanimously pleased with the addictive simulation gameplay. A reviewer for Next Generation said the game is "a true, if uninspired, descendant" of the original SimCity. He praised the addition of the 3D "ride-through" feature in the PlayStation version, but complained of the clunky interface when using the PlayStation joypad. Scary Larry of GamePro contended that the slow and confusing interface of the PlayStation conversion ruin any enjoyment that might be found in the game. IGN staff erroneously criticized the PlayStation version for lacking mouse support, and said the game doesn't compare well to other simulation titles, but nonetheless assessed it as "worth it" for fans of the genre.
In March 1994, Maxis arranged with Compute! Publications to have a contest for Compute! Magazine readers to design original cities with the game. Compute! handled the judging of entries submitted via posted floppy disks. The contest anticipated a minimum of five winning contestants and a maximum of twenty. The winners were awarded $50, a $50 software package from Maxis and a $15 hint book from Compute!. The contest ended by the beginning of the next month.
In December 2012, the Museum of Modern Art acquired SimCity 2000 to its permanent collection of video games. As one of the more complex and longer games in the exhibition, the game is presented as a specially designed demo.
Several games were released as spinoffs to SimCity 2000.
- SimHealth – Released in 1994, the game simulated President Bill Clinton's healthcare reform proposals for the US; designed for a niche audience at best, the simulation never achieved great popularity. It featured a user interface that resembled a city in SimCity 2000.
- SimCopter – An arcade helicopter flight simulator based on the cities of SimCity 2000, SimCopter was published in 1996. It had the capability of importing SimCity 2000 cities and allowing the user to pilot a helicopter around them and accomplish missions such as rescuing people or putting out a fire.
- Streets of SimCity – Published in 1997, Streets of SimCity was a racing game based on the SimCopter engine. In addition to racing, it also featured courier missions and vehicular combat.
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