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For anyone who purchased the new SimCity on launch day, you have my sympathies. Server errors, lack of offline singleplayer, a delayed Mac release, lack of promised features, among others, are the latest in a streak of disappointments with Electronic Arts. There have even been threats of boycotts against the video game publishing giant. While that may be a step too far, I think plenty of us could use a break from the blunders and play a great simulation game until they work out the kinks! Here’s the Top Five Games to Play Instead of SimCity!
5.) Theme Hospital
Yeah, that Elvis at the front door is sick…
One of my favorite games from childhood, this was a fantastic introduction to simulation games. The mechanics for building rooms, hiring staff and effective budgeting are simple to use. New, hilarious diseases like Bloaty Head, Slack Tongue and The Squits (eww…) are slowly introduced to the game and are hysterical to watch the treatments for. Random events like VIP visits, Earthquakes and Emergency Patients keep gamers on their toes, and make this a worthy game to play, even if a little hard to locate on either PC or PSone…
4.) Caesar III
A Coliseum, and it isn’t even Rome
The first sim game I never had trouble getting money in, Caesar III made you responsible for expanding the Roman Empire, city by city. Housing was divided between Plebeians (workers) and Patricians (tax income). City needs like Religion, Food and Water Service were basic necessities, and luxury goods, hygienic services and health services raised the quality of homes and citizen class. Even better, balancing citizen quality of life with industrial production and trade to fill the city coffers made you really care about what you would add to your city next and where. Oh, and it supports military combat as well. Awesome.
3.) Tropico 4
This kind of humor is prevalent throughout
Founding a Banana Republic has never been more fun. A full campaign allows you to take starter towns to sprawling island powerhouses. You can create your own dictator with their own merits and flaws, meanwhile taking into account the desires of more than five different sects on the island, like the Military and Communist factions. The edicts in the game are well-balanced, allowing you to sneak currency into your slush fund, sponsor a Spring Break tourist package and have your military eliminate troublesome individuals!
2.) SimCity 2000
The SimCity of Choice
Bet you saw this one coming. After more than twenty years of this series, 2000 is the one that I’ve always seen as the pinnacle of the series. Great additions like highways and water pipes, great new disaster types and land zoning made this one great. Money is still a pain to get, but there’s nothing like watching a city grow from humble beginnings to greatness in a SimCity game. Until the 2013 edition gets its act together, this is the SimCity game I’ll be playing, unless of course I’m playing…
1.) RollerCoaster Tycoon
One of the few “Tycoon” games I happily recommend
This game is the best of the best. Who never wanted to make an amusement park? This game lets you place rides, food stalls, decorative statues and lines in order to make the world’s best theme park. Feeling creative? Start building your own rollercoaster from beginning to end. Feel like taking revenge against your customers? Pick them up and drop them anywhere on the level. Staff members are basic, but the AI makes sure they do their jobs efficiently. You could always pick up one of the later incarnations of the series, but nostalgia and great game mechanics say this is the one to come back to.
Did we miss your favorite sim game? Let us know below!