Are there any new(ish) computer games that are like SimCity?
May 6, 2011 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I want to build a city. Are there any contemporary computer games that are anything like SimCity?

OK, I'll bite: I'm a fan of city building/city simulation computer games. However, Simcity 4 is more than five years old at this point and it doesn't seem like a lot of other developers are tackling the genre. But sometimes you just want to unleash your inner urban planner on your PC, unfortunately. Any recommendations?
posted by huskerdont to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
There's Cities XL
posted by empath at 8:14 AM on May 6, 2011

posted by jchaw at 8:21 AM on May 6, 2011

Most of the Sim fanatics I've known usually love Civilization as well, of which there is a pretty recent version.
posted by tremspeed at 8:32 AM on May 6, 2011

I think you'd be surprised by how well SimCity 4 has aged. That said, there haven't been any urban-planning games that have been generally regarded as "good" released since SC4. If SC4 feels stale, look at all the mods that have been made for it. There's even a total conversion called "SimMars" where you build a Martian colony instead of a city, complete with highly-detailed maps of the Martian surface.
posted by Electrius at 8:37 AM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

What Electrius said. SC Creator and SC Societies are too stripped down to be successors. The SC4 community is still pretty active, and they do have some people playing CitiesXL, but most are still on SC4. The largest site is probably Simtropolis, where you'll find a lot of mods, maps, and conversions.
posted by FJT at 8:52 AM on May 6, 2011

Yeah, the Network Addon Mod for SC4 is a bit like having SimCity 4.5. It adds lots of new transportation elements to the game. There haven't been any good city building games since SC4.
posted by General Tonic at 9:09 AM on May 6, 2011

Tropico 3 is similar, except you get to unleash your inner banana-republic totalitarian dictator instead.
posted by neckro23 at 9:52 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

Maxis and Will Wright sold out soon after they melded to EA. They're all about cheap Spore and The Sims expansion packs now. You're best bet is to look at retro games, as others have said. Go with Simcity 4...nothing else ever made is nearly as feature-rich. Even 3000 is quite good, but don't get any of the newer versions they've made for consoles and mobile devices...they've made the game far too easy.

An interesting project you might want to look at is OpenTTD, which is an open-source version of Transport Tycoon, a classic transport sim game from the mid-90s.
posted by hiteleven at 10:50 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not Cityville, it's all about the ridiculous Facebook mailspam and no sensible economy (grow carrots! They provide supplies for your City Dojo!). That said, add me plz, I need staff for my Pearl Tower!!1!

*goes back to Haven & Hearth, where the carrots are taking over* (they help you see stuff better, and also help beehives produce honey and wax. much more sensible).
posted by Lebannen at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2011

Civilization series might be worth looking at, although it operates at a much more macro level than SimCity it scratches some of the same itches. Even though Civ5 improved many aspects of the game, as a whole I found the unmodded experience to be deeply flawed and would probably recommend Civ4 if you are just starting out.
posted by sophist at 10:13 PM on May 6, 2011

Oh yeah, the best place to start understanding Civ4 is Sulla's walkthroughs.
posted by sophist at 10:15 PM on May 6, 2011

They're a bit dated now, but I'll second OpenTTD and recommend the Caesar franchise (specifically Caesar III and spinoffs).

Caesar is pure city-building. And it's hard as hell to satisfy the residents, making it far more challenging than any SimCity I've played. Specifically, there's far more emphasis on keeping residential areas near all the proper amenities, as you can't just zone huge swaths of land and be done with it: you need to appease those plebs something fierce -- much like a real city designer would have to -- and this means it's much harder to make your city a masterpiece à la SimCity.

(On that last point: have you seen this?)
posted by matlock expressway at 5:01 PM on May 10, 2011

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