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Great moments in PC gaming: Godzilla attacking SimCity

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

SimCity

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.

When he's not 50 hours into a JRPG or an opaque ASCII roguelike, Wes is probably playing the hottest games of three years ago. He oversees features, seeking out personal stories from PC gaming's niche communities. 50% pizza by volume.