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SimCity: What Did Critics Say in 1991?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 30, 2014   |   Episode 49 (Show Archive)  


SimCity (Super NES)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

The PC classic comes home to the Super NES. This 16-bit launch game didn't have fact action, fancy Mode 7 effects and huge bosses, it's just a simple overhead city simulator. Were critics into SimCity's change of pace when it launched with the Super NES, or did they dismiss it for yet another 2D shoot-em-up? We turn to Nintendo Magazine System, N-Force, Electronic Gaming Monthy, CVG and other classic magazines for the answer.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

[ Company: Nintendo | Console: Super NES ]

93% out of 100%

"It turns out that this is the best version of the lot, mainly because of the extra presentation, the music, the sound effects and the additional challenge of working your way towards constructing the special bonus buildings. Unless brain games are a complete turn-off for you, Sim City is a game that is definitely worth buying." -Paul Glancey

93% out of 100%

"Have you ever wanted to install a fascist state with police rule or a bleeding-heart liberal green-belt fiasco? Build up the residential, commercial and industrial base until your tiny town explodes into a seething urban sewer of drugs, violent crime and unemployment? Basically this is one helluva game -- even my genocidal tendencies were catered for with the disasters section including plane crashes, tidal waves and even the occasional tower block-eating monster!" -Gunns

93% out of 100%

"In this highly original game, you create and nurture your own city, dealing with all the usual problems of over-crowding, pollution and various other environmental disasters. This might sound boring, but Sim City is actually very deep and involving and hours literally fly buy [sic] when you play it. A truly classic cart."

9 out of 10

"No special effects here as this game is pure cerebral. It's a simulation, and what it sets out to do, it does perfectly. Every aspect of urban planning is built in and the interaction between physical and cultural phenomena is straight out of the textbook. Nothing has been overlooked!" -Martin

84% out of 100%

"The idea of a city simulation might sound as exciting as, um... a paperclip. But believe it or not -- and if you've played it, you'll believe it -- a quick game of Sim City can easily turn into a protracted midnight oil burning session. This probably isn't the most technically accomplished game around, but it's definitely the one that'll keep you from going to bed for longest [sic]. Surprisingly user-friendly too."

SUPER GAMING (Fall 1991)
8 out of 10

"Finally a simulator that I can actually enjoy. This is not your typical, boring, do nothing for mega hours simulator. Sim City has a ton of cool features and very addictive game play. The Super Famicom's graphics and sound are put to use in a limited way, but the cart is so playable that flashy graphics and sounds aren't needed." -Samrye

GAMEPRO (January 1992)
4 out of 5

"It may take five or 5,000 years of game time to reach SimUtopia, but you certainly won't grow bored trying. With 1,000 landforms to develop, eight city scenarios (two of which only appear after you complete the first six), and a wealth of options, it's obvious why SimCity is highly regarded by PC players. It's so real, it's unreal." -Slasher Quan

SUPER GAMING (Fall 1991)
7 out of 10

"This popular computer game has been converted to the S.F. with commendable results. The game has been spiced up with music and comical grpahics assisting this unique city simulation. Playing the part of a mayor in an ever-expanding city is lots of fun, even if there isn't any shooting or blasting going on. SimCity offers lasting appeal." -Mike

6 out of 10

"Sim City is sure to keep older game players and those who are into advanced puzzles like the Rubik's Cube entertained for hours. Personally, I'd just as soon have salt rubbed in my eyes. This game is slow and tedious and you can't even nuke the city when you get bored! Jeez!" -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 83% - Who knew SimCity would be so polarizing? Fans of the long-running city simulator will be happy to see that most magazines loved this Super NES launch game. Nintendo Magazine System called it "a truly classic cart," Electronic Gaming Monthly said the game was "cerebral" and even GamePro is saying that SimCity is "so real, it's unreal." I'm not sure I would go that far, but this is certainly a great game.

However, there were a few outliers. Sushi X would rather have salt rubbed in his eyes than play SimCity. Mike at Super Gaming was also let down, though he doesn't say why. Scores were all over the place, though most were well above average. Although the review isn't represented above, Nintendo Power gave the game a 4.6 out of 5, the highest score given to a Super NES launch game (including Super Mario World). And even with that high score, SimCity only managed to eke out an average of 83%.

ON MONDAY'S EPISODE: Next Monday brings the start of Super Mario Week! It's a full week where we look back and see what old school critics thought of three very different Super Mario Bros. games. Up first it's Super Mario All-Stars, which upgrades four 8-bit platformers into one very impressive Super NES cart. Find out what the critics thought of this compilation on Monday. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!



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