Great moments in PC gaming: Godzilla attacking SimCity

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.


Developer: Maxis
Year: 1989

City builders are such a pure reflection of humanity. We love to build and expand, we obsess over optimization and efficiency, we fantasize about the godly perspective of surveying our hand-molded kingdom from above. And then we get bored and blow shit up.

That's certainly what I was like playing SimCity as a child, anyway. I could spend hours drawing roads and deciding how I'd lay out my homes and industry and businesses. I remember the satisfaction of tiny things, like the new graphic tile that would pop up when I made a railroad track that crossed a road, or watching a bridge raise for a tanker ship. You could draw power lines underwater! So cool.

The pure pleasure of building could only entertain for so long, though. There were a few long-term goals, like saving up enough money to build a stadium or a giant airport. But back then SimCity didn't really have the fidelity to make the city itself a rich and entertaining place. It was a pretty drab, brown game, without SimCity 2000's lovely spritework or the management depth that would come in later games. Inevitably, every one of my cities ended the same way: Mass destruction.

I don't know if there's ever been a better game menu than "DISASTERS." It's just right there in the UI, acknowledging that, yep, this is a feature so important it deserves an entire menu of its own. My favorite choice was obviously "Monster," because, duh. Why wouldn't I want to summon a giant non-copyright-infringing version of a giant lizard to stomp through my city, crushing buildings? I knew Godzilla when I saw him, and this was definitely Godzilla.

No city I built lasted more than a few hours before I gave it a taste of terror. It's a waste of absolute power unless you first giveth, and then taketh away.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).