The pioneering computer game “SimCity,” first written for the Commodore 64 in 1985, is being released this summer for the Nintendo DS platform, game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) said Thursday.
One of the most popular games of all time, “SimCity” involves the planning, creation and control of virtual cities and their residents. It was the predecessor of “The Sims” and other legendary reality-simulation games.
The Nintendo DS version will take advantage of the dual-screen portable unit’s unique control and interaction features, according to EA. Multiple players will be able to communicate by using the DS’ “wireless data exchange” feature, said EA.
“True to the ‘SimCity’ series, players will be able to create and control their city in the palm of their hands … and much more,” promised EA. “Maximizing the stylus and built-in microphone controls of the Nintendo DS, ‘SimCity’ DS brings to the franchise like never before the feeling of personal involvement with your city — from blowing into the microphone to put out fires in the city to signing off on mayoral proclamations with your stylus.”
It is anticipated that “SimCity” will play better on the DS than it did on the less-powerful Game Boy Advance (GBA) console. Reviews of the “SimCity” release for GBA said the game-play suffered due to the portable device’s tiny screen and button layout.
The worldwide success of the DS hand-held could help “SimCity” be a big seller for EA, In-Stat Senior Analyst Brian O’Rourke told TechNewsWorld.
Proof of DS’ Dominance?
“EA is what we call a third-party publisher,” said O’Rourke. “Third-party publishers make titles for every computer out there they think they can make money on. This is further ammunition for the claim from Nintendo that DS is emerging as the dominant hand-held game console.”
More Nintendo DS units were shipped than Sony PSPs in 2006, O’Rourke noted.
One potential fly in the ointment is the fact that PC versions of ‘Sims’ games historically had better success than those released for gaming consoles. While he figured the game “will certainly be good for commuters” looking for a way to pass the time, O’Rourke wouldn’t predict whether other gamers will take to urban development and administration while away from home.
It might be interesting to see the reactions of people on the buses and trains or in airports and restaurants when DS-toting SimCity addicts start blowing on their hand-helds to extinguish virtual fires.
EA said it believes people will enjoy “creating and growing their very own pocket sized city while being on-the-go.”
The DS design motivated the game developers to be creative, according to SimCity DS Producer Takahiro Murakami. “The unique Nintendo DS functionalities inspired us to incorporate many new features to delight the most dedicated SimCity fans,” he said. “The game is filled with fun surprises that will appeal to new and existing fans of the franchise.”