The sixth iteration of Maxis' SimCity, out this spring for PC and Macintosh, shares the name of the original, landmark 1989 computer game. It returns to the game's roots as a city government simulation with an updated system of taxing, spending, and public works management, including electricity, water, and—a new one—sewage.
Another addition to the SimCity mix is natural resources; cities can be built atop ore deposits, which can be exploited for profit. Players can control multiple cities in a region and sell each other services such as water and power.
Since it's all about managing city government and controlling citizens (you can follow your residents around to see what they do), it's not surprising the game does not include privatization of services. But the newest SimCity does offer some innovation, such as the idea of cities running profitable enterprises. That helps keep taxes low—"one less thing for residents to complain about," the in-game city administrator explains. —Ed Krayewski