One day you’re fighting international terrorists who stole from right under your noses a high-tech, aircraft carrier – in Carrier Command – and the next you contemplating whether you should be building a residential area so close to a coal burning power station. The worries of a ZX Spectrum gamer! In the Your Sinclair Top 100 today we’ve arrived at No.#11 and it’s Sim City from Infogrames.
Sim City was released on the Spectrum back in 1990 by the great Probe Software Ltd, in this case Antony R. Lill & Simon Butler, who both managed to squeeze this rather huge, normally mouse driven game down into a mere 48K machine. This Maxis tie-in sees you as the mayor of a large plot of empty land, who has been given the tools to build a thriving city (hopefully). Beginning with a small amount of cash, you must start with the basic infrastructure: power, roads, work and homes to live in. Then you need to consider health, wellbeing, commerce, entertainment, travel, taxes, crime, natural disasters; your day never stops. It’s up to you to keep your people happy and to make sure you also keep some money in the bank.
Here is a game that should in truth never have happened on the ZX Spectrum and unfortunately not a lot of people knew it did. The 16-bit era was firmly embedded in most gamers’ bedrooms now and only a few die-hard 8-bit’ers still existed to see such wizard-like efforts from Probe appear on the ZX Spectrum. There wasn’t even a Wikipedia entry for this game on either the Probe page or on the Sim City page, and I’ve since updated them. Sim City is an excellent little game and it really does work well on the plucky little Speccy – yes you can’t whizz around as quickly as you normally do due to the lack of mouse support, but the keyboard set up and the UI are extremely easy to use. It’s instantly recognisable as Sim City, the colours are there and graphics sing like the Maxis original, it’s a grand conversion.
Sim City should be played just so you don’t think this is a joke review being written to fool you. This game from Probe is a wonderful achievement for both the software house and the ZX Spectrum.