As a birthday present to myself, I upgraded my iPad from second generation to the most recent iPad Air 2. My old iPad couldn’t do much in the way of graphics-heavy games, so I downloaded SimCity onto the new tablet with much excitement. I greatly enjoyed the PC version of the game when it came out many years ago. Being a full-fledged adult now, though, I’m taking a lot away from playing the came.
1. No one’s happy for long. Just when I think I have my populace all figured out, they decide on something else to be unhappy about. I finally achieve total coverage of the fire department, they give me a flurry of green smiley faces to let me know they’re happy, and before I know it, they want waste management and I’m back to yellow meh faces. Then comes their concern about crime, education, transportation, and how close they live to a factory. I tell them they can either have sewers or clean air, but not both, but their angry red thought bubbles pollute my otherwise nicely designed airspace regardless.
2. Maintaining the status quo often means having to grow. I was happy when we had a few skyscrapers, several large apartment buildings, and nice smallish homes. But, if the populace wants clean water, I need tax money, and I have to increase the population to get it. With increased population comes more need for clean water and so on and so forth. Before I knew it, our midsized town is block after block of glassy skyscrapers—and still, not everyone has potable water.
3. Visiting other towns can really bring a virtual mayor down. One way of acquiring the resources needed to build-build-build is to visit other virtual mayors’ towns and buy their extra resources. You get to see what all the other mayors, armed with iDevices of their own, have done with their cities. These cities are sprawling mega metropolises with no eye for city planning at all. Is building a simulated city just all about winning? Does no one want to build a city they’d live in anymore? Honestly, I don’t know what’s happening to our culture.
4. Take care of number one. Early in the game, you get a mayor’s mansion, which I set off in a corner of my plot of the virtual planet, near a lake, away from my populace. When the constant stream of demands, refusal to pay taxes when things aren’t going well, threat of future disaster, widespread illiteracy, rampant crime, the stink of feces, and snarled roads gets you down, it’s nice to get away to a place that doesn’t need any of these services at all. It’s how you know you’re the mayor.