Nothing lets us flex our creative muscles like a management sim. Rollercoaster Tycoon, SimCity, Prison Architect: Putting a player in charge of building a city or constructing a theme park is a good way to encourage them to paint outside the lines. Sometimes way, way outside the lines. Over the years some players filled those blank canvases with creations that completely boggle the mind.
Below we've gathered some of the wildest and most impressive creations in construction management sims we've ever seen.
SimCity 3000: Magnasanti, inspired by the wheel of life and death
It took years of planning, much of it on graph paper, but Vincent Ocasla eventually designed a SimCity 3000 metropolis that could house 6,000,000 residents with zero crime. It's the perfect city in terms of efficiency, though there is an extremely sinister aspect to both the video above and the metropolis itself. For instance, none of its citizens live past 60.
They also don't complain. "No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line," Ocasla told Vice in this interview (opens in new tab). "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."
Grim. He later adds "...I wanted to magnify the unbelievably sick ambitions of egotistical political dictators, ruling elites and downright insane architects, urban planners, and social engineers." Mission accomplished.
Rollercoaster Tycoon: Maze takes an NPC 263 years to solve
You've heard of walking simulators, but you've never really seen one until now. This is a park with a single attraction, and I hope you're wearing comfortable shoes because getting out is no picnic. Because picnics last an afternoon, and this maze takes a couple centuries. It took the first NPC to traverse the park-wide hedge maze over 260 in-game years of confused and miserable wandering. Some guests who entered the maze never left, and one spent hundreds of years just circling around near the entrance itself.
About 150 years after the park opened, a coaster was added that could allow riders to view the entirety of the maze, in hopes it might help one solve it (though the coaster itself took 4 years to complete a single circuit). Truly, the most devious theme park ever conceived.
You can follow the engrossing story of "A Walk in the Park" in five parts:
Planet Coaster: Aliens recreated in coaster form
There are a number of amazing, movie-based Planet Coaster rides out there, from one that simulates Tron to on that weirdly celebrates Moonraker, but the Aliens ride you can see above is extra-special. It takes you beat by beat through the 1986 sci-fi action classic Aliens.
Just watch it: it's amazing and it'll put you in the mood to rewatch the movie for the 94th time, too. Maybe start with the original Alien, make an evening of it. And then skip every other Alien film ever made.
There's a making-of video here.
Cities: Skylines: Sewage tsunami sinks city
Why, this seems like a perfectly lovely city! Clean, bright, happy, not much traffic, presumably good schools. But while cities may succumb to natural disasters from time to time, you really need to watch out for unnatural disasters. And there's nothing more unnatural than this disaster.
The creator of this city terraformed an enormous, towering cauldron overlooking the city and pumped in all its sewage. When it was filled to the brim, the floodgates were opened, so to speak. On the plus side, the tsunami of sewage did put out a fire.
Prison Architect: King's Landing
There's no shortage of clever and efficient prisons made for Prison Architect, from one shaped like the USS Enterprise from Star Trek (opens in new tab) to a faithful recreation of the prison from TBS mainstay Shawshank Redemption (opens in new tab). If you're going to serve time, might as well do it someplace cool.
While enduring years of imprisonment, though, it can be helpful to escape into fantasy, such as in the prison above. You can see a lovely timelapse of the 60 hours of work that went into creating a prison that looks like King's Landing from Game of Thrones (opens in new tab). Valar dohaeris.
SimCity: Sky-high superhighway
Bridges are a common spot for traffic jams: there are only so many ways to cross a river in a car, after all. Traffic looks pretty light on the bridge above, however, though that's probably a product of fear than sound city planning. Follow a school bus as it travels across this roller coaster-esque bridge that takes it twice as high as a plane flies, then watch it make a u-turn to get back on because, let's face it, that trip took so long the school day is long over (and the bus is probably full of puke).
You can build some pretty impressive automated factories in Factorio—or at least some people can. While I tend to feel accomplished at just making a few conveyor belts work properly, others put together immense network of machines, such as the one above that that—somehow—plays a video of Darude's Sandstorm.
Technically, the machines form a movie player so it could presumably play whatever you want, not just Darude, though I do commend the choice. If you want to know more about how it was created, head here. (Though I read it and I still don't get it.)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: a park 10 years in the making
There are entire open world games that don't put this much thought into their environment. I mean, look at this park, it's basically got biomes. The dedication comes from a park creator who spent a full decade building this RCT2 park, which ultimately includes 34 coasters, 255 attractions and shops, and a monorail that has been ridden more than a million times by guests. (Hopefully, there are no hedge mazes.)