Archive for the ‘SimCity’ Tag

Computer Game #3: “Caesar III”

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

813638-caesar_3Computer Game #3: Caesar III (1998)

My brother sent me an article last week about the highest paid athlete in history — a charioteer in ancient Rome. Turns out he earned the modern equivalent of $15 billion over his career and lived a lavish lifestyle. Yes, if you were a citizen of the Roman Empire, life was usually pretty good. Of course, if you clicked on the virtual citizens of your Roman city in Caesar III, you’ll most likely get an earful of complaints.

This was one of the more charming elements of the city building computer game Caesar III, a clever combination of SimCity and a real-time strategy game, which let you build Rome in a day. While historically inaccurate — if you laid out your digital version using an actual Roman street plan, your city would fail — Caesar III was nonetheless a challenge to play and a great deal of fun. Clicking on your citizens as they went about their daily tasks would tell you what they needed, as you planned what to construct next. Aquaducts, markets and colosseums were important, but so were gardens, walls and temples: you really did not want to anger the gods in this game.

Sadly, the only thing Caesar III was lacking was a multiplayer element, one where you could trade with — or invade — your friend’s cities.

[50/50] Computer Game #12: SimCity

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Computer Game #12: SimCity (1989)

250px-SimCity_Classic_cover_artMy own roof leaks, I hate mowing the lawn, and I can’t balance a checkbook, yet somehow I was the successful mayor of “Margaritaville” for over a century. OK, ‘successful’ is a relative term. I could never keep those ungrateful ingrates happy, even when I gave them the stadium they wanted, and the original downtown was always too dirty thanks to coal burning electric plant next door to the city park. We built a new downtown, but that got trashed by Godzilla. It also had a tendency to catch fire. But my simulated metropolis lasted for well over 100 years. And while software designer Will Wright went on to build a real-world empire with SimCity, with numerous sequels and updates so graphically detailed you can look in the windows on the denizens of your City (don’t even get me started on the insanity of The Sims), there is still something charming about the bitmapped simplicity of the original city simulator.