Jul 11 2012

What do games like SimCity teach us?

I have recently started playing SimCity 4 Rush Hour, and I’ve got to admit that it sure is a classic. I stopped playing after SimCity 3000. It was a long time back but now that I started the game again, I am hooked. What is it in Maxis games that get’s us hooked to them so quickly? Even though nothing is real like all video games why do we urge to get that satisfaction level?

There are more games like SimCity such as Anno 2070 and Tropico. I have only tried Tropico and I must say it’s amazing too. It has the same feel, the same game play but it includes different things which SimCity does not. Like e.g. In Tropico you are a dictator in charge of an island. In SimCity you are the Mayor, I don’t need to ask anyone which idea interests you more but both games are good to play and teach us something different. In short, we should be asking ourselves and our friends that what do games like SimCity teach us.


A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else ~ George Savile

A little patience doesn’t hurt as it is one of the key elements needed to lead a happy and a successful life. Even though we have progressed to the point that we are making robots, our youth are some of the most impatient people I have come across. Kids who skip in game movies, extra features and bonus plays must be spanked. SimCity is a good teacher when it comes to this. Even though you still have cheetah speed it will take quite some time for the city to develop. No matter what, we have to sit and watch high density residential zones turn into skyscrapers. And no, having patience doesn’t mean you are slow.


Even though all of us think we are leaders, guys WE ARE! All gamers are leaders when it comes to their computer and games. No matter how much you suck there is always a noob under you. You are the Mayor of your city, hence you are a leader.


Yes, the most significant of all. We are all humans with exception to many but still planning is what comes with the package, in the game I mean and we all plan something or the other. Believe it or not SimCity does make all of us good planners and organizers, even more than arranging your cupboard, cleaning your room, and putting things in order.
Planning is part of SimCity and the like. We need to see where to place which zone and how much to zone the area and where. We might not get it right the first time but after a couple of tries we understand the mechanics. I doubt by becoming a master planner in SimCity you can join the think tank in your country but you will no doubt do well in SimCity 5.


Another thing that we learn from these kinds of games is balancing. We live in a cruel world, well most of us do and we see income disparity and exploitation everywhere, we get to sort it out in SimCity. Jokes apart I really see this as an educational game for kids. Videogames can prove to be very beneficial if we look at them from that perspective. What I mainly mean by balancing is the tax – revenue system. Players can choose how much to tax which classes of the society and in return it affects the growth rate of that particular class/industry. You won’t be able to become an economist after doing it and you will still need to learn the demand and supply curves but it’s good learning all the same.


Now here’s a big one. Who doesn’t like money and power? We all do. This is what the game gives us. Power to change whatever we like in the game and money to do all we want. We can’t really party with all the simoleons but it does have that effect on us. The satisfaction the players get when they are earning more and more and when their city is in profit, skyscrapers shooting the sky one after the other, for a gamer succeeding in the game they love is almost orgasmic.

My name is Shazil Sindhu. I have been playing video games since I was very young and as I grew older I used to wonder what has all that game time given me. Many of us ask the same question and I think that it has changed our outlook to life. Nothing is physical unless you count the gamers thumb but games opens our minds, makes us challenging. There is no such thing as gamers as geek; it is just the fact that most gamers cannot implement in real life all that they can in games. Games set us free. I have started writing to tell what I feel about video games, what I have learnt from them and there might be some of you who will agree with it.

Twitter: @shazilsindhu


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