Sim City 2013

So you may have heard there’s a new instalment of the legendary Sim City franchise freshly released. You may also have heard that it is having problems. And yes there’s probably a fair amount of drama thrown into the mix; after all, everybody loves a good train-wreck and EA Games is about as popular as the Child Catcher at a PTA meeting (and they’ve only got themselves to blame). I certainly have little patience for the game’s constant excuses, having cancelled my own pre-order as soon as I realised it stank of Origin. And I think the main reason they decided to shamelessly rip off a previous title is because they realised calling it Sim City 2013 might be admitting it’s a whole 987 iterations below Sim City 3000.

In any case, it would appear it’s time move on to something better. But what are the options for a modern Sim City game? An obvious first choice would be their contemporary competitor Cities XL. Despite being for the most part a Sim City wannabe, the most recent version is still much closer to what SC2013 should have been; fully customisible, massive plots of land and all the sort of infrastructure and zoning you’ve come to expect from these games (as opposed to those Duplo city playsets on Facebook that call themselves games, like Sim City Social or Cityville).

Up close in Cities XL

Up close in Cities XL

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Review of Retrovirus

It’s been a while since my last run-in with the digital plague. However it is no less cathartic to play Retrovirus, a neat little resurrection of the 6-degrees-of-freedom-shooter. The game tasks you with seeking out and eliminating the dirty purple globs of stylised virus, which are running amok in your computer’s pristine starship-like virtual space.


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Media of Truth

Welcome to needless rant corner! Your host for today; yours truly.

In one of the most irritating trends of recent years, it seems increasingly okay in games and movies to drop all admittance of serialisation and with brash and unapologetic disregard simply use the original title of the first installment; “Star Trek”, “Tomb Raider”, “Devil May Cry”, “Aliens vs Predator”, “Sim City”; as though we’d forgotten there was one already. Games are particularly guilty of this.

To a categorising brain like mine this is just… no. You are duplicating the primary key as far as I’m concerned. A film or game has a full title which should be unique, certainly within a series. I don’t care if it’s a large number of sequels, or if the original is really old (from over twenty years ago, maybe). The only thing worse than a ridiculously big suffixed number for a sequel is to simply drop a differentiator altogether and act as though it never happened. If they’re worried about a number making it sound un-original- well, there’s your clue: make something original.

What I think actually bothers me though is that it feels like an insidious attempt at replacing the past. It is eerily reminiscent of the role of protagonist Winston Smith, in the novel Nineteen Eighty Four:

“As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date.”

Nineteen Eighty Four, George Orwell

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