Posted in Freedom Friday


Before the internet there were video games. Some were good. Some, not so good. One in particular caught my eye and wouldn’t let go. How can I describe it for Freedom Friday?


How ‘bout like this:

“I got hooked in 1989. At first, I could control the urges thinking I could get ahead of them. I’d think—one more time won’t hurt. Just a little. The next day I’d pay for it, waking up late with a massive headache, feeling groggy and tired. Somehow, a small taste wasn’t enough. I wanted more. The longer it went on, the worse it’d gotten. I thought I could control the urges, but once something new came along I slid and crashed again.

“Over the years, as I’d vow it wouldn’t happen again, I regressed further. Sometimes not eating. Sometimes not sleeping. Until one day, I said enough. Just like that.”

I’m talking about SimCity, the incredibly addictive city simulation for PC. With every new version of the game, I was right there buying it on release day. I can’t believe how much time I had spent on the intricacies of city and population manipulation. If you haven’t played this kind of game before, it’s very simple yet difficult to master. Later versions have more complex interfaces, but the same principles apply.

You’re the mayor of a new town. In fact, you have to build the town into a thriving metropolis. The way you do this is by laying down industrial, commercial and residential zones. Then, you supply water and electricity to the zone, and wait. Yes, much like real life. You’ll soon see traffic move into the zones. Small bungalows become two-story detached homes, which in turn grow to apartment buildings. Retail outlets turn into department stores, which eventually spring to multilevel office buildings. In industrial zones, the small manufacturing shops gear up to pollution-centric factories.

The game is open-ended. It means you create your own goals and from there play to your heart’s content achieving your goals.

My goal had always been to make the absolute best town to live in for a family. So I’d have lots of open spaces, plenty of parks for walking, and fun things to do for the kids. Many of my towns had industrial areas just outside city limits so as I could avoid the pitfalls of maintaining such monstrosities.

Car Crash
Car Crash

SimCity also offers many other options for the casual gamer such as a sleek budgeting interface, a town council to appease, and various panels to check your statistics. I can’t tell you how important it is to look at the town’s stats in order to gauge future growth.

When I played, and I’m talking heavy game play, I tended to stem growth leaning toward building a quality life for my Sims instead. In other words, numbers meant nothing to me. If I knew a hundred Sims enjoyed their life in a rich environment as opposed to a thousand Sims who were unhappy in nothing but a cookie cutter municipality, I knew I had completed my job.

Of course, I did have my moments playing devil’s advocate where I’d throw a few alien invasions at my towns to measure their resilience against disaster. And sometimes I’d even start a riot or two, just to see what would happen. Thankfully, I never saved those messes and had copies of the originals I could restore.

And that’s the beauty of the game. Whatever your goal is, whether it’s building a population boom or a quiet community nestled in the mountains, SimCity will allow you to do that.

In the meantime, I have yet to fall off the wagon again as I value my sanity. Maybe next time I’ll talk about my other addiction: Age of Empires.


Have you played SimCity? What game is your addiction?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

21 thoughts on “SimAddict

  1. I was never really into SimCity. More the Sim Tower girl. Mostly because I learned that I’m apparently bad at managing cities. They always turned out to be disasters…. My current game addiction is Criminal Case on Facebook. HAHA! Although, don’t EVER sit me down in front of Bejeweled, it’ll just waste my night away.

  2. Loved SimCity…I always created a landscape with waterfalls so I could put in hydroelectric power! I had several of the Sim games that I played a lot: SimCopter, SimPark, Streets of SimCity.

  3. I didn’t care for Sim City. Instead, I got hooked on The SIms. I had it both on my computer and my PS2. I played The SIms Pets as well. I played it from the first time it came out until a couple years ago when I got bored with it and found out there were other useful ways I could spend my time(and money). I was terribly addicted though. An hour turned into 5 or 6 hours. Idk what would happen if someone brougt me the newest Sims…thankfully I gave my games to my baby sister who subsequently lost them. Which is a good thing 😀

  4. I never tried it but your description makes it sound like I missed out on something! I was addicted to flight sims as I’m a private pilot. The newer ones are pretty good but fortunately not s good as the real thing. just as well really or I’d be a grease stain on my office chair!

  5. I do remember setting alll the disasters at once onto my poor unsuspecting town. I ended up getting more addicted to the sims, mostly because I loved creating people’s stories than a city’s 😀

  6. Never played Sim City before. Guess I must have confused it with The Sims. I am usually a simulation and strategy fan so I’ve played AOE, Steel Beasts, and (sadly) lockdown. Think I’ll pick me up a copy.

  7. Phil used to play tgat all the time. His latest addiction (aside from the boat) is Words with Friends. I keep wondering if that would be good for poetry ideas but the time suck yikes!

  8. Sims 3000 was my favorite by far. My dad had that addiction for Civilization and Total War. He once commented he staid up until the moon was bright. It was his clever way of admitting to mom he was up when the sun rose.

  9. I loved SimCity – I used to play SimTower a lot too. I loved Civilization and Age of Empires, too and any city-builder/adventure game (Pharaoh and Age of Mythology were another two favorites). There’s also Neverwinter Nights, a dungeons and dragons type computer game. I had to give up my addiction to go back to writing though (it kind of acted as a sub), and haven’t played any computer game in 9 months!

    1. Oh, wow. I loved SimTower too! Did you ever make it to the top of the tower? I did. It was hard and it took me weeks to get there. My problem was the elevators. The game should have been called SimElevator. lol But I managed to win it!

  10. I remember that game and I was terrible at it. Inevitably, I would do something and my roads would start crumbling faster than I could repair them. By the end, I went with one of the pre-made cities and goofed off with the disasters.

  11. Oh. We just bought the new Mac edition of SimCity. And my younger son is a MySims fan (his psychologist recommended it years ago). SimCity is VERY cool. I am still learning my way around it (not being a video game person in the normal pattern of my day) but I love the opportunity to create. 🙂

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