SimCity: The Final Words
EA and Maxis sure made a big mistake with SimCity. I had feared it was going to be a flop, but I never counted it on being such a huge flop. For one, even tho I was involved in the beta testing, I had no clue that it used 'the cloud' to store your personal save games. Having no option to save locally, limits playability to people who are always connected to the internet, and who have a fairly high bandwidth speed. This is essentially a MMO for city planners.
This decision, has severely limited the game. For example, in order to keep bandwidth usage down, they have had to limit the cities to areas of about a square mile each. This in turn limits your ability to actually create anything resembling a decent sized city. But hey, you can socialize with your friends and build a region together... uhm, yay?
Penny Arcade summarized it well in their comic by comparing the problems SimCity encountered with another historically famous single player game, Tetris. Authentication issues, Loading times, poor connections to game servers all underlay the bigger problem. This is a single player game. In the end, who really cares about playing single player games with their friends? I have never had the urge to really play SimCity 2000 with someone else. I was content to play it by myself and enjoyed the complexity of it all. Tetris is the same way. Multiplayer Tetris, or SimCity is like Multiplayer Solitaire. It just doesn't belong.
EA was purely in this for greed. It was a trap to force users to utilize its poor excuse of a digital game downloading client, Origin. Its social networking aspects also were aimed towards user promotion of the game on social networking websites and thus a growth of the mandatory use of its Origin client.
I for one am very happy that I got my money back. I am however one of the few who did. EA was not refunding purchases for issues caused by their servers, or if people were unhappy with the game in general. They had to have a legitimate excuse. I did, kinda. Most of the time, I am using a mobile data connection to connect to the internet. While I often have high speed on it, sometimes I am bumped down to as low as 56k in some areas. In the game of playing Steam games, I can sign in in offline mode and play most of my games in that mode in a single player environment. Not SimCity. It took me over an hour to download my saved single player city in SimCity on my 56k connection, after already authenticating and getting logged into the game.
I will not be purchasing another product from EA, even if they come out with a single player version of the same crap that they released. I was honestly shocked to see how poorly some of the SimCity graphics were rendering on my Asus G53J. This game preformed more like a game from 2008 then a game released in the last year. Not to mention the same bugs were still present which I had issued bug reports about during the beta testing. But alas, I am rid of that garbage.
I look forward to maybe the next version of Cities XL or something from one of those European Game Developers who seem to be fairly into the Simulation aspect of things lately. I imagine that someone will get it right one of these days.
For reference, I looked back at what I had written on here many years ago. I was surprised by what I read, and it seems that I really haven't changed all that much. Stay tuned for my idea of a perfect Sim / God / City Building game.