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Reader Request: SimTower ReExamination

FrontAfter 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!

History Lesson

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.

The Good


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.

The Bad


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…

Personal History

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…

ReExamination Rundown


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.

Have a request for an article? Want us to review a game? How about an issue in video gaming you feel needs addressing? Send your requests to and look for a response from us!


About RedGuinness

Andrew Shortall (RedGuinness) is the Writer, Editor, Administrator and founder of Stay-At-Home Gaming. He also suffers from sleepless nights, summer new release withdrawals and trying to behave himself in front of his new nephew.

4 comments on “Reader Request: SimTower ReExamination

  1. Man Walking
    April 2, 2013

    OH YEAH! I hated the elevators too. Loved screwing with the little black silhouette Sims though. Hotel rooms and roaches were ANNOYING, and maids that didn’t know how to take an elevator. Loved making up names for businesses and offices AND Sims…which turned them blue.

    • RedGuinness
      April 3, 2013

      Totally spaced on naming Sims and businesses… made it so hard to tell if they were angry about something…

  2. Kimberly Scott
    April 3, 2013

    I have never, ever, seen anyone reference SimTower before. This was, next to SimAnt my very favorite childhood game. I ROCKED SimTower. Okay, getting a little too keyed up about this. But seriously, this game was equal parts infuriating/satisfying. My trick was putting all the businesses in the basement levels (no noise complaints from the megaplex in my tower!) Of course, they always complain about something…ungrateful tenants….Ahem. I’m just going to wrap this rant up with a ‘good post!’

    • RedGuinness
      April 3, 2013

      Thanks! Definitely tried that basement trick, but what a pain to keep those elevators efficient… And what’s wrong with getting keyed up? I’m ecstatic when people are affected by what I write!

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2013 by in Game Reviews, Reader Request, ReExamination and tagged , , , , , .

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