March 9th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
Sim City, one of my favorite games as a child (perhaps one of the reasons I ended up getting a master’s degree in city planning), is now adding in the important factor of climate change. Watch out, this might be a hard game to survive in! In complete seriousness, the challenges from the effects of climate change we will be facing in the coming decades are tremendous, and they get larger and larger each year of our inadequate action. I wonder to what degree the computer game company behind Sim City will put these into the game.
“We are updating SimCity with technology of today and introducing it to a new generation of gamers,” Maxis studio senior vice president Lucy Bradshaw said at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
“It gets under your skin; exposes you to the idea of cause and effect and that choices you make have repercussions,” she said.
Along with rich 3-D graphics, the game will have a new simulation engine that enhances its realism and extends ramifications of urban design decisions past borders to affect neighboring cities.
“In ‘SimCity’ resources are finite, you struggle with decisions people are struggling with today in the real world and your decisions can have a global impact,” Bradshaw said.
“Be a polluter and you are ultimately going to affect your friends’ cities… Will you have the wealthiest, fittest, greenest city ever or the sludgiest, most yikes-worthy SimCity ever?”
Hopefully, this will help to inform a new generation of citizens to really take long-term effects into consideration when deciding how to run their cities. Hopefully, that will carry over into the real world when they grow up. And I hope they really base the consequences of pollution-oriented technology in the science, so game-players walk away from their computers with a more (not less) realistic understanding of how the world works.
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