SimCity 4, the greatest city builder of all time, launched 20 years ago

When it was launched on January 14, 2003, SimCity 4 had its issues. Its enormous cities would swallow even respectable PCs, for instance, and its visitors simulation regarded fully damaged.

Twenty years later, due to quicker PCs, the Rush Hour growth, and an enormous mod neighborhood, SimCity 4 is the very best of all SimCity video games. If it is simulation, scale, selection, and great thing about city sprawl that pursuits you, it is also the very best metropolis builder.


Medieval and fantasy variants apart, the template established by the SimCity sequence stays the expectation for many metropolis builders. Because the mayor of a fledgling metropolis, you carve up industrial, residential, and industrial districts, place facilities and providers to fulfill residents, and attempt to steadiness the finances as your metropolis begins to tackle a lifetime of its personal. Then, while you’ve constructed a sprawling metropolis and gotten drained, you may unleash some pure (or unnatural) disasters and begin over.

SimCity 4 did nothing to alter this components, however continued its logical development. It has crisp, clear 3D terrain and sprite artwork buildings, that are one of many causes it nonetheless appears to be like nice in the present day. It lets you construct enormous cities after which commerce assets with the neighboring metropolis you constructed earlier. It has a day/evening cycle, so you may see your skyscrapers glowing at nighttime. You may drop off particular person Sims in your city (The Sims 1 launched in 2000) after which monitor their lives as they commute out of your polluted suburbs to their terrible job, then transfer out of city or die.

Maybe most significantly, SimCity 4 included BAT, the Developing Architect Instrument, which allowed modders to create their very own buildings and place them in-game. Customized buildings, maps, and mods have enormously prolonged the lifetime of SimCity 4, and as of this writing, there are over 21,000 recordsdata obtainable on the Simtropolis neighborhood website, together with a number of new uploads on the final 24 hours.

The mods are the explanation I am positive to name SimCity 4 the very best metropolis builder of all time. Extra particularly, it is due to the Group Addon Mod. NAM was established in 2004 to repair SimCity 4’s visitors points, and as of its final replace in September 2022, it has expanded to incorporate new UI instruments, forms of highways, gentle rail and far more. Since all of in the present day’s metropolis builders are inevitably lowered to modifying highway networks and mitigating visitors jams, NAM is crucial.

To sort out the skyscraper within the room: I like Cities: Skylines and in case you’re new to this style, Paradox’s SimCity smoothie drinker is the place it is best to begin. Nonetheless, in case you’ve been taking part in Cities: Skylines and also you’re uninterested in taking part in, or in case you do not need to spend cash on the subsequent piece of downloadable content material, then it is best to improve to SimCity 4. SimCity 4 Deluxe Version (which incorporates the Rush growth Hour, additionally launched in 2003) is on Steam and GOG. Provided that 2013’s SimCity was a bomb, and Maxis’ distinctive studio in Emeryville closed in 2015, we might by no means see something prefer it once more.