Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Electronic Arts
Price Range: $35-45
Learning curve time: 30-90 mins.
Age level: 10+
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Patches / Upgrades: New structures available for download
Game Web site

Genre: Simulation
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

"Sim City" has been around almost as long as computer gaming has been in existence. It is considered by many to be the standard of all simulation games. A large part of it's popularity speaks to its universal theme. As the player your job is developing and running a city successfully over a period of hundreds of years. All the sites and sounds are instantly familiar even if you've never participated in local governments or even did well in your high school civics class!

The player starts a game as the mayor of a city. You choose your level of difficulty which essentially provides you with more start up cash and a selection of the time frame you cover. From there on out you create and run your city. “Sim City 3K” (hey, a Y3K compliant game!) is very detailed in the responsibility of overseeing and running an entire city. Here's where I saw the value and my kids differed with me on the “Gameplay” score. There is tremendous educational value in having to manage the various aspects of providing for the needs and desires of a community. And you as the mayor are responsible for details from trash disposal to land development to addressing the concerns of regulatory agencies and petitioners. This may be a little too much like real life for those looking for some escapist entertainment (like my kids!). It's also not easy to keep a city going. There is a lot of micro management that in real life would be handled by section heads and others, that in “Sim City” is up to you. Put roads too far apart and Sims (the residents of your city) won't walk to work. Don't build enough playgrounds and families will move out and your residential areas will run down and taxes dry up. All the real life problems you hear about in the news can and will happen to your town.

The latest edition of “Sim City” sports a great new set of graphics. The buildings look realistic, roads and infrastructures are detailed even in the neat zoom mode provided. There is lots of help for mayors. A ticker that runs along the bottom of the screen alerts you to things in the community, like the need for additional public transportation or disasters that are occurring nearby. It even provides some comic relief from the day to day grind. You also have a group of able advisors always offering advice and guidance.

The game is a fine alternative to most of the games on the secular market. It contains no objectionable content and provides a great experience for adults and families. This last point is important. Per my 12 and 14 year olds, this is not a game to buy your teen and expect them to give up their latest 3d adventure game or Nintendo. However, it would be a great one for you to sit down with them and work through. Imagine starting a town named for your family. Junior can be mayor and Dad is his trusted advisor. Start your city and play for an hour or so each week. Discuss what is going on and what your next move should be. Now you're not just playing a game, you're creating a memory.

Positive—Anyone who enjoys hours of building anything, will enjoy this game. it may take a little while to understand how the game “thinks”, but if you read the manual to answer your questions you should be alright. make sure you have a decent system to run this game on, because it's not kind on system resources. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —tye, age 20

Comments from Young People…

The game is not offensive at all to me, but it does include gambling casinos. Don't build them, of course. They increase crime and homelessness. It's good fun, but I'm still hooked on NHL 2001, so I haven't played it in a while. Graphics have improved dramatically, though, as you have 3D cars, and pedestrians corresponding to areas, i.e. marching bands near a university, kids in residential areas, formal dress near office buildings. I don't know if it's worth getting, but nevertheless it's safe. My Ratings: [4/3]
   —Garrett O'Hara, age 16

This game is very good! But I was disapointed after I found out that you can't do all the things you can in “Sim City 2000” (eg. terrain editor & Arcos). It is also much more challenging to build a good town than in "Sim City 2000". There is no offensive material in "SC3K". My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Mokele M.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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