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After technical difficulties and modem issues that make me fear now, more than ever, the idea of always online next-gen systems, I found myself wanting to go back to when the games are always best; childhood. No one I’ve ever met as an adult has uttered the words, “By golly, video games have gotten better in every aspect except graphics.” This is true mostly because I wasn’t born in the 40’s and Opposite Day is an event only young children ever celebrate. In the wake of our Top Five Games to Play Instead of SimCity article, some readers left their ideas of what games they felt we missed out on (which is what the comment section is for, aside from compliments and 10,000 year commitments to loving us… we need more of both), the resounding chorus of which was “Where the hell is SimTower?” Well, here it is!
The Tower was released in Japan in early 1994 by OpenBook Co., Ltd. Yoot Saito was influenced by SimCity in college, and this game was a result of that inspiration. Will Wright, who’s name should be known by now without a history lesson, heard about the game, and helped arrange with Maxis to import, localize and rename it to SimTower to help regain the popularity of Sim-titled games in the wake of poorly received games like SimAnt and SimEarth.
A Five Star Tower in the Making
The premise is simple enough: Build a successful tower, make money, and reach a five-star tower rating. You start this by making simple rooms, like Offices, Condos and Fast Food Reataurants, though as time goes on and you achieve a higher star rating, you unlock spaces like hotel rooms, movie theaters and souvenir shops. And it’s all up to you as to how you do it. With over 100 floors to add to, you won’t be running out of space soon. And the money rolls in every week instead of every year like in SimCity (and sometimes immediately in the case of condos), so you never feel like you’re desperately out of money and spending most of your time waiting.
Trust me, he’ll do it…
It’s not all easy money. This is a Sim game, after all. And where there are Sims, a mountain of their complaints follows. The way you conquer them is by strategically placing elevators, providing essential services like a medical center and parking for the population and sometimes lowering the rent a bit. And then there’s the occasional terrorist event to keep you on your toes. In addition, there are a few things you want to make sure you get right. A misplaced elevator can be a costly mistake, some room types do NOT go well together, and the sounds of elevators going up and down can be irritated at best after playing for an hour. Thankfully most computers can play music…
Those red people are maaaad…
This game was one of the first responsible for my love of gaming. I used to play outside when I was hanging out with friends. Then my buddy Guy, who inspired this Reader Request, introduced me to this addiction, back before I had a computer of my own. Soon, I found myself going over to his house and playing this game more often than playing outside, and the more I think about it, the more I wonder where exactly my gaming addiction started…
Three Stars is where the game really starts to pick up
Concept: Earn back respect for the Sim line, years before The Sims would come out.
Story: Nonexistent. This is freeform Maxis simulation, where story becomes less relevent.
Gameplay: Easy interface for building up a tower, room by room. Careful planning is a must, and watching your work grow is fun as always, though sometimes you will get fed up with demands when you have no cash…
Graphics: Simple but effective. Each room has great detail, but limited animation.
Sound: A huge downside. Rooms make short noises, but the constant bings of elevators will have you running your own music in no time.
Fun Factor: Addictive as hell. Money flows faster than in SimCity, though there is less substance as a whole comparingly.
Replay: Trying new tower configurations is fun, starting from scratch is easy and you always feel like you do a little better everytime you play. However there isn’t enough randomness to make one tower feel too different from any other.
Moment of Truth
The Cathedral, the ultimate mark of a Five Star Tower
Ultimately, this game isn’t required playing for anyone, but it’s still a whole lot of fun. With casual Apps improving everyday, this PC/Mac game has a hard time keeping up, lacking both portability and ease of locating a copy outside internet auction sites. However, if you have an old copy hanging around the house or a buddy can lend you one, give it a shot when you have a few hours to fill. You won’t regret the decision.
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