back to article SimCity Classic

Doughnuts. Doughnuts are what I think of when someone mentions SimCity in my vicinity. Not because I used to cram them into my face, Homer Simpson-style, while I played, but rather because, back in my childhood, I was obsessed with arranging my own ‘simmed’ city in perfect concentric 'doughnuts'. Squares in three-by-three …


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  1. AceRimmer


    For me donuts were a fairly obvious method of maximising space for buildings vs space for roads. Infact in the versions I played (Amstrad CPC and SNES) you could get rid of the roads altogether and just build rail.

    Industrial complexes were best placed at the edge of the city, that way some of the pollution ends up "off map"

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: Donuts

      "Is there anything they can't do?"

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Donuts

      "you could get rid of the roads altogether and just build rail"

      You could do that on the PC version that I played way back when, something like 1988 or so, with the godawful code paper that was impossible for humans to read, and almost impossible for photocopiers to read.

      As I recall, if you built any roads at all, the jolly citizens complained bitterly about the traffic, and if you built no roads, they complained bitterly about the lack of roads.

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: Donuts

        roads have traffic and pollution problems

        no roads means only ignoring complaints about a lack of roads

  2. DJ 2


    Sim Copter was my favorite, build your city in sim city, then explore it in the helicoptor.

    1. Lee D

      Re: SimCopter

      That was a SimCity 2000 import.

      And though I loved SimCopter myself, it showed its age very quickly and was quite buggy. One of the best "feeling" casual (i..e not supposed to be realistic but fun) helicopter simulations I've played but the worst looking by far.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: SimCopter

      Your favourite? Nothing to do with a particular easter egg?

    3. Flawless101
      Thumb Up

      Re: SimCopter

      They really did milk the SimWhatever phase at the correct time. SimTower, SimCopter, SimFarm etc.

      Still good memories of them all, without trying to sound too much like an old man I doubt any SimCity to come will live up to SimCity 3000 in my eyes.

      On that note, here's the "perfect city" some person spent 4 (real life) years designing and building.

      It's rather impressive.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: SimCopter

        Was I the only one to try out SimAnt ?

        It was a gift, but I think it only got played once, as my Ant colony won first time.

        1. Ian Yates

          Re: SimCopter

          I really enjoyed SimCity, SimAnt, and SimTower.

          I also had some of the other Sim games, but most felt pointless or flawed.

          1. Daniel B.


            The fun thing about SimTower is that it was deemed kinda "boring" once you topped out the building. But there's now an iGadget game that plays like an 8-bit graphics version of SimTower, and it is now a moderate hit on the mobile world...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SimCopter

            SimFarm was fun too! :-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I used to love the Sims, well, the notion of the Sims at least. I think I've had copies of most version over the years and I've spent long hours building magnificent cities. The problem I always had with it was that, after the building, i've just got no interest in the maintenance and management. Shame really.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Ahhhhh

      This class of games feels too much like work and real work has a bigger pay off, one where the only micromanagement chores are keeping track of who's round it is ;)

      Luckily there's an endless supply of no brain required shooters for me and game makers have helpfully started labelling their mind numbingly micromanaged games as 'deep' so I can avoid them easily!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        WHO'S = WHO IS


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What a way to waste the hours...

    Far too long spent on my old Amiga playing Sim City.

    Many a 'quick 10 minutes' before bed turned into a 3 or 4 hour session and a very tired get up for school the following day!

  5. ukgnome
    Thumb Up

    I don't know why, but this game started an obsession, I guess it played to my slight OCD. It was a great game to start with, lost its way in a couple of sequels but the latest release looks very playable.

    I might fire up my Amiga tonight for a bit of nostalgia :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Simply liking symmetry, perfection, and a general level of order to things is not OCD. Please stop trivialising a highly disruptive and debilitating condition, especially when you don't fully understand what it entails.

      1. ukgnome

        I do so love the commentards that are that sure they know me that they post a response, especially the anons.

        If I have said it once I will say in again and again and again and again and again and again and again until I am certain that you understand. When I want your opinion I will give it to you.

        *Oops "and again"I was one too short, I simply can't leave it on an odd number, as my PC may turn to jelly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          RE: ukgnome

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks

  6. Lee D

    Though I loved Sim City 2000, I never got into the original. And the later stuff, apart from SimCopter but that was a completely different type of game, I always found horrible and couldn't play.

    My ex-wife once spent about 3 days in front of the computer playing The Sims even though she hated videogames. She stopped herself playing it after that and only her willpower kept her from playing it more.

    But does anyone remember "Global Effect", an old DOS game of the same era which was basically a "greenie" version of SimCity where you had to be careful about what you were doing in terms of pollution, etc.?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sim Copter

      A PC mag gave away a demo of Sim Copter. I found that you could extract a city file from Sim City, rename it, drop it into the right place in the Sim Copter demo directory and you could then fly around your own city freely.

      For me this completely negated the need to buy the full game as it gave me an hour or so of fun before I got bored.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Available on so many formats

    Sim City has spanned so many formats. I first came across it on the Amstrad CPC:

    There's even a BBC Micro version knocking about (although it is somewhat garish thanks to the machines limited palette).

    1. davidp231

      Re: Available on so many formats

      Indeed there is - official too, and they got it to run in 32K of memory.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Available on so many formats

        Probably just required some cuts in graphics and sound. Remember the original was programmed on the C64. The Speccy version runs in 48k and has graphics that are far easier on the eye than the Beeb version.

    2. ThomH

      Re: Available on so many formats

      The BBC version even made it onto the Electron where you have to jump through even more hoops than usual not to have the display eat about a third of your available space and the CPU ends up running more slowly due to memory contention. That's where I first played it. Both versions use the same jarring four-colour palette though, if memory serves.

  8. jason 7

    I had SimCity Gold Edition.

    I bought it in 1993 much to my dad's disgust as he wanted his new DX33 game free.

    I thought at the time it would be the only game I'd ever need. Bizarre because I'd been a gamer since 1983 and I knew full well that's never the case.

    I have no idea where the disks went. Landfill probably.

  9. deadlockvictim


    Much as I liked SimCity and SimCity 2000, it always irked me that one could only build roads that ran parallel or at right-angles today. I put it down to the simplicity of code enforced by the constraints of hardware at the time, but now I wonder if it had more to do with the North American mindset: cities are built in grids.

    I wanted to try and recreate more mediaeval street layouts. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: Gridlock

      "I put it down to the simplicity of code"

      Intentional pun?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. wolfetone Silver badge

    SimTower + Streets Of Sim City

    After cutting my teeth on Sim City 2000, I was in my local Cash Converters years ago and bought SimTower. It's awesome, and I still play it now. So simple, and you could loose hours playing it. The only thing that annoyed me with that was you were limited to the number of lifts you could have.

    As for Streets Of Sim City, if you can find this on eBay BUY IT!!! You need Sim City 2000 to play it, and essentially what it allows you to do is drive around the city you've created. A bit like the way Sim City 4 Rush Hour works, but this is totally first person and you can't switch it off and go back in to Sim City. It is it's own beast.

    Just a shame then, thinking of these three games I've mentioned, as well as the games mentioned in the comments, that the new Sim City will be a leap year away from the simplicity of the originals. I personally don't want a game that forces me to be online. I want a game like I fell in love with years ago. So really, I'll be stuck playing the original Sim City games instead of it's new incarnation.

    1. Gazareth

      Re: SimTower + Streets Of Sim City

      Man, I thought I was the only person who played SimTower!

      Gutted when I lost the disk :(

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: SimTower + Streets Of Sim City

        Fairly sure it's abandonware now? If not, it's all of what, 3Mb? You could source it somewhere else ;)

  11. Amorous Cowherder
    Thumb Up

    Superb game, SC2000 was even bettter a true masterpiece sequel....then the decent into full 3D and the franchise just went to pot.

    OpenTTD to the rescue!

    1. ThomH

      SimCity 3000 wouldn't have been so bad but for the forced parades — any time you're doing reasonably well the citizens decide to hold a parade in your honour. In a move of fantastic wisdom the user can't skip the parades; you're forced to sit around at the slowest time scale until they stop. That just kills the whole experience as suddenly you're incentivised not to do too well.

  12. Z80

    If I remember correctly (and I may well not be) from my days playing this on my Amiga, you seemed to be able to ramp up the tax rate just before the annual collection date, collect a whole year's worth of top-whack taxes then drop the rate back down so that the negative influence of the high taxes didn't linger.

    SC2000 looked great but I seem to remember it being frustratingly slow on my A1200. And that was with 28MHz 68030 upgrade card.

    1. Matt 58


      The original SimCity you could do that. i was always annoyed if i forgot. my version of the game looked different you the ones shown here.

      SC2000 ran well on my 1200, but i did have / still have 4 meg fast ram and a hard drive and a processor upgrade, sadly the internal FDD has died but the external ones still work.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Oooh, didn't know there was an Amiga version of SC2000. I'd jumped to a 486 PC at that stage.

      Given the game ran like a dog on my original 486 50SX, I bet it was very slow indeed on any Amiga with less than a '040 processor.

      1. Simon Westerby 1

        Re: Amiga

        Yeah, itas AGA only, ran like a dog on an unexpanded A1200, but was fine on an 030 with fast ram,

        I still have my copy... alas I don't have the amiga to go withit anymore ;(

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Amiga

          Yeah I remember you needed a beefy 1200 to make it work. Extra ram (and I had an 030 board hanging from the trapdoor too) a hard drive helped (3.5" with keyboard shield cut away and power snagged from the back)

          1. E Haines

            Re: Amiga

            Even an expanded A1200 couldn't really run it properly. I ended up playing the Mac version via one of the Mac emulators, since it ran at native speed and 640x480 on a Picasso96 graphics card (yes, my A1200 was expanded far past the point of making any sense, but it was cool anyway) was far faster than the AGA chip.

  13. Spuddyspudspud

    You came up with donuts?

    Donuts, yes donuts. Everyone seems to have come up with donuts. Maybe that because they read the manual. I bought this game on SNES and the manual quite explicitly said you would be better off building on donuts.

    1. AceRimmer
      Thumb Up

      Re: You came up with donuts?

      Those hazy pre-internet days

      1. Danny 14

        Re: You came up with donuts?

        The internet did exist in a fashion. I remember using DOS altavista to search. Netscape navigator worked too (it was at uni though off the JANET link)

  14. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    SC is one of the best time-sinks I know. The later versions lost their way somewhat though. They took out the micromanagement like power lines and water pipes but introduced stupid advisers and higher level problems.

    I don't think I went with a doughnut layout but for sheer population density you couldn't beat tenements. Oh and always run a water pipe under the road and remember that hydroelectric dams can be built on almost any sloping surface. I also remember setting stable cities up at work (only played in the lunch hour of course :) ) then turning off disasters and leaving them running all weekend. Come Monday all financial problems were solved for the foreseeable future :)

    There's a new version coming out soon that looks quite good (and supposedly has proper multi-player options). I might just decide to buy that although I've largely sworn off computer gaming.

    1. toxicdragon

      "They took out the micromanagement like power lines and water pipe"

      They did? Don't know about the others but they are there on SC3K and 4.

  15. Daniel B.

    Original SimCity

    Heh. My first observation was OMG those screenshots are in color! Because the first SimCity I played was on Mac, and it was black&white. Oh, the one disaster that couldn't be triggered by the player but was mostly random was the nuclear meltdown.

  16. RussellMcIver

    A true classic

    I played very little of the original SC before 2000 came along and washed it away.

    For some reason my most treasured SC2000 memory was replacing the sprite for the Tornado disaster with that of the Cyberdemon from Doom. Oh how I laughed as the giant demon from Mars trampled those poor helpless Sims...

  17. Eric Olson

    I know this is about old games...

    But anyone else get a chance to play with the new SimCity a few weeks back? It seemed to have a similar amount of entertainment I remember from the original, without getting deep in the weeds like SimCity 3000 ended up doing.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was, and still is, an awesome game. I never got into the other "Sim" knockoffs, except "SimLife".

    Their goal was to integrate all Simgames into one large Sim. Thought that was pretty cool.

  19. John70


    The new SimCity is out 5th March:

    Shame you have to be online to play it and the game will become useless if and when EA shuts down the servers.

  20. Herby

    Wonderful game you have there...

    ...Now if it had any relation to "reality" it would be nice. Politicians need some expertise in managing a population. What happens if you take the view of a dictator, and fight wars to gain territory? If you take the view that giving out government funds will get you re-elected.

    Now that would be an interesting simulation that our government here in the USA needs to try its hand in! It would be a cheap lesson.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Now if it had any relation to "reality" it would be nice.

      You probably never saw simHealth. The version brought out in conjunction with a health lobby group, to demonstrate the effects of different Health Funding models. Predates ObamaCare.

  21. Anthony Hulse

    Funny how you remember this sort of stuff...

    My donuts used to be on a 5 blocks high by 4 across layout. Each donut would be made up of either all industrial or a mix of commercial and residential blocks and have either a police or fire station in the middle surrounded by those little park squares. Three squares distance would separate each donut, with the centre square of the three holding a railway which only touched each block once to connect it. A gap would be left somewhere in the donut to connect the fire or police station. Lots of gardens in the rest of the space if it wasn't forest already, to keep the property prices up.

    No roads, which meant no traffic problems and low maintenance costs, allowing the city to grow quickly. Worked really well. The river/coastline bit gave you the space to put your airport, stadium etc. without interrupting the repeating pattern.

    Very addictive game that. Once I even stayed up all night playing it, then fell asleep on the bus on the way into town a couple of hours later :-)

  22. Zc456
    Thumb Up

    My little half-brother adores Micropolis, and love the entire SimCity franchise as is, except 2000 - could never truly wrap my head around the UI.

  23. RAMChYLD

    Don't you mean, two missteps?

    What about that-game-which-never-existed, SimCity Societies?

    Sorry that I should bring it up and anger those who think the game is better forgotten tho.

  24. virhunter

    I played this on the Super Nintendo, now sometimes on an emulator. Personally, SC2000 was my favourite. Arcologies were a very cool concept and the constant references to llamas were pretty amusing. I can't say I cared as much for the sequels, but they were okay.

  25. streaky
    Black Helicopters


    SimCopter was pure bone fide epicness. Import your city, fly around putting out fires and stuff? Come on, how can you beat that?

  26. ReefMSX

    I used to love SimCity although I came to it rather late, I think it was SimCity 2000 I first played. Recently I learned that Maxis had updated it and were planning to launch the new version this year. I got excited and did a little digging. That's when excitement turned to disappointment. First I discovered EA's involvement, typically they ruin classic games and second I found out that you only get half the game on the disc. The rest is tucked away on EA's servers meaning you MUST have an always-on, high speed data connection. Oh and your save-games are stored online too.

    There are many other things about the release that Maxis/EA have confirmed and people are already complaining about.

    But as I said, EA = Games Ruined. Part of me thinks that EA does it on purpose so that 'little' companies like Maxis go under and can be bought out cheaply for the copyrights.

    1. streaky
      Paris Hilton

      "Part of me thinks that EA does it on purpose so that 'little' companies like Maxis go under and can be bought out cheaply for the copyrights"

      EA already has ownership of Maxis and they're not little.

      The good news, EA have behaved in a standard publisher fashion with the reboot as far as I can tell, expect much DLC but don't implicitly expect a nerfed, broken game like the new MoH.

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