Video Games

The Perfectly Planned Sims City: Strangely Pyongyangish


Here's a very funny Vice interview with the man who mastered Sim City, the urban planning computer game.

The Consumerist sets the interview up.

Vincent Ocasla says that in fashioning the "Magnasanti" metropolis, he has "beaten" SimCity by creating the max stable population of six million. It consists of four grids of identical 12 x 12 grids with everyone's workplace within walking distance. There are no roads, the city runs entirely on subways. There's zero abandoned buildings zero congestion, and zero water pollution. 

Sounds utopic! But wait…

Technically, no one is leaving or coming into the city. Population growth is stagnant. Sims don't need to travel long distances, because their workplace is just within walking distance. In fact they do not even need to leave their own block. Wherever they go it's like going to the same place….

…The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don't rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos. No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line. They have all been successfully dumbed down, sickened with poor health, enslaved and mind-controlled just enough to keep this system going for thousands of years. 50,000 years to be exact. They are all imprisoned in space and time.

Also, no one lives past the age of 50. Bright side: Low health care expenditures!

NEXT: ObamaCare and the States

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  1. Well, any curiousity I had about giving Sim City a go just died, starving and alone in a soulless concrete box.

    1. I only like God-type games when I can send my sims to kill and rape other people’s sims.

      1. Apparently all you’d have to do is take this city and replace a park with a school and the sims would rape and kill.

  2. See? The slaves were happy. And will be.

  3. It consists of four grids of identical 12 x 12 grids with everyone’s workplace within walking distance. There are no roads, the city runs entirely on subways. There’s zero abandoned buildings[,] zero congestion, and zero water pollution.

    Uhhh, how can there be zero water pollution? Do you mean to say that the buildings don’t shed particles when rain falls on them?

    By the way, it sounds like Tony’s kind of city…

    The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don’t rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos.

    That’s because they’re robots. Duh.

    I mean, they are not called “the sims” for nothing.

  4. Hey, the right people are in charge. What’s wrong with that?

    1. That’s the whole point. Buying votes only matters when people can vote. Once power is entrenched beyond the feeble powers of democracy to unentrench, then buying votes no longer matters and the people in charge can simply enjoy their unfettered power.

  5. Never played. Where does their food come from? Do they eat their own waste like a 6-million human centipede?

    1. Where does their food come from? Do they eat their own waste like a 6-million human centipede?

      Us urban sophisticates never bother with such pedestrian details . . .

    2. Soylent Green.

      1. [Slaps forehead]

  6. ironic thing

    “The color of this orange is ironic.”

    No amount of human thralldom can be assembled into irony. It’s just how we do, yo.

    I’m impressed by the game’s coherence, premise to end. I’d have predicted the programmers would have built in a Singularity/Rapture that comes down when you reached a “perfect” ant-farm assembly.

    Kudos, dorks.

  7. This man is a visionary planner. I want to hire him.

    1. If we can’t leave Seattle, how do we get to South Center mall?!?

      1. Simple. Annex the city of Kent. Or is it Renton? If the signs weren’t there, how would you know when you left one place and entered another?

        1. Renton is a shithole, that’s how you know. Like when Nichols wanted to annex White Center. Why?!?

          1. Indeed. Like Ranier Beach isn’t bad enough. Anyone down there that isn’t armed to the teeth is a couple sandwiches short of a picnic.

            1. When I go down to the colo in Tukwila, I make sure I have my gun. Because it’s kind of creepy getting out there.

              1. I used to take the 150 from Pioneer Square to Tukwila and back. Good times. I saw a guy jump out of a window to avoid paying the $1.50 fare…and then a 400lb black woman driver ran out after him. And the bums…it’s like they have their own language.

                1. I love the tiny park down in Pioneer Square that is literally covered in sleeping bums. Every time I go to Uwajimaya I drive past them on the way back.

                  1. I just drive over them. Kinda bumpy.

              2. I work in Burien and I don’t carry a gun.

                I like the adrenaline rush.

                1. You’re a madman!

            2. Why not come to Redmond? It’s pretty relaxed over here.

              1. Nah, I’m a city guy. That’s why I live in Belltown. If I don’t have assholes yelling outside my window at 2AM, I’m just not satisfied.

                1. And don’t forget the odd beat down or killing. After all, how can anyone sleep if there aren’t a few random shots being fired. Kind of hypnotic…

                2. Wow, there are other libertarians in Seattle? Thought it was just me.

                  1. There’s like four of us. Maybe five.

                3. And gunshots. It’s not a weekend in Belltown till someone gets shot.

              2. That’s because Redmond consists of over-paid, self-satisfied yuppies (present company excepted, natch).
                I prefer a little more…racial diversity…in my scene.

                1. The Swedish Issaquah ER refers to their ‘condition’ as MAD, or Microsoft Affective Disorder.

      2. Move the entire city into the North Cascades.

  8. Wasn’t joe a city planner

    1. He “had been” a city planner. I think he was (cough, cough) unemployed. If he was employed, many Massholes’ tax dollars were being very wasted on his time on H&R.

      1. Probably better spent than if he was working.

  9. Sim City is unrealistic. I tried to just sit their without doing anything and watch a city be built. Apparently people will only move to the uninhabited land when the player has zoned an area and provided it with public utilities and roads and shit like that. How many cities were actually built just because of the fucking blessings of zoning?

  10. He didn’t “beat the game” because since you can’t do that in a game. The best “victory” scenario is simply not going bankrupt and building a city that is to YOUR own liking. I play the game, and I’m a lot happier with my cities that turn out to have a closer approximation to real life.

    1. I like building a thriving city, then hitting it with every possible natural disaster and then watch the survivors try and rebuild. Those poor dumb bastards.

      1. Simcity 4 has volcanoes now. It is a lot more satisfying inflicting natural disasters on realish-looking city. Sometimes I’d plant a nuclear power station and set it on fire and watch the horrid aftermath. Then rebuild by building roads around it and putting an amusement park on the site. It’s great evil. Or setting of an earthquake in a Manhattan-like city. Which is just the precursor to a giant volcano appearing from the ground. Again, rebuild on the site and wait a few hundred years and watch civilization thrive on top of the volcano.

        1. Using Naples as a blueprint are we?

  11. That is awesome. Haven’t watched the video yet, but plan to after work…

    I wonder if given the confines of the game, he’s proven that six million is the maximum population. In Sim City 2000 I used to build entire cities of arcologies, which until just now I hadn’t realized was a real word. I wonder if he had natural disasters turned off.

  12. I thought all the nerds abandoned sim for farmville.

    Anybody want to give me a cow?

    1. It’s all about SimFarm, people.

  13. I haven’t played Sim City since about a zillion versions ago, but the natural disasters were always my favorite part, particularly the occasional appearance of Godzilla.

  14. I’m intrigued by this. I must find a way to make all of America just like this game.

  15. My favorite thing to do was to do the money cheat, then build one power plant and then zone the entire rest of the map as airport. (You have to surround the power plant with a road, though, or else the sims have a good chance of building the runway aiming directly in to it. This causes a plane crash.)

    1. You say this like an airplane crashing into a nuke plant is, well, a bad thing.

      1. It is when that’s the city’s only source of power and the whole map starts flashing with that little crossed-out lightning bolt symbol.

    2. What happens after you’ve zoned the entire remaining map as an airport?

      1. It becomes an airport. A giant random assortment of runways, hangars, and whatever other buildings they used back then.

  16. This is how I spend .0000549 seconds every morning. Then I release my chakra. LOL


    1. Anon-bot is back! With a big bag of awesome.

      1. I look forward to the day when internet marketing technology advances to the point when the most amusing and relevant comment on every post comes from a spam-bot.

  17. I found that on an earlier iteration of Sim City, you could cram in the max population outside of arcologies by having a repeating pattern of a single square of road bordered by four 2X2 zones, one commercial, one industrial, and two residential. Everyone just walked across the square to work or ship and never went anywhere else at all.

    And, ironically, you could almost INSTANTLY fill up a brand new arcology by giving it no power or water at the end of a calendar year — zero population in December, tens of thousands of residents in January. I thought of it as if they threw a rave party in an empty new arcology for Christmas, then sealed the doors shut on the hapless partiers and made them slaves or prisoners who couldn’t leave.

    1. I thought of it as if they threw a rave party in an empty new arcology for Christmas, then sealed the doors shut on the hapless partiers and made them slaves or prisoners who couldn’t leave

      And everybody else on this thread wondered where the food came from.

  18. This does sound like joe’s wet dream of “smart” urban planning.

  19. Wherever they go it’s like going to the same place….

    Sounds like suburbia to me, where you pass mile after mile of the same alternating blocks of strip malls, McMansions, and Big Box areas. Only the occasional pass over a hill gives you a wide enough view to give you a hint as to whether you are in Arizona or Oregon.

    In constrast, I recognize the skylines of many cities to which I have never been, and every city to which I have. There is so much more character in cities than burbs, that it is beyond counting.

    1. Aside from skylines, I don’t see much difference from one big city to the next. Crowded, smelly, everything is expensive, takes forever to get anywhere. Surrounding the ‘character’ of the central business districts are the typical slums with occasional tiny enclaves of decently kept up homes.

      1. DaveS, have you ever been to Denver? We (generally) don’t fit that description here…:)

        1. Sorry, I lived in Denver and various suburbs for most of my life. It’s no different than any other large urban area–the slums are simply a lot more haphazard ever since Coors Field and the 16th Street Mall sparked a lot of the late-20th century urban renewal construction.

        2. I’ve sorta been to Denver. To be more precise I’d have to say I have driven past it a few times.

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