SimCity (2013)

by Christopher
7 minutes read


Experience the depth of city-building with SimCity (2013), a game that combines detailed simulation with multiplayer gameplay. Build and manage dynamic cities in a connected region, where each decision impacts not just your city but your neighbors as well.


The 2013 edition of SimCity marks a significant evolution in the series, offering an unprecedented level of simulation detail. This game allows players to build and manage vibrant cities across a connected region, introducing a new era of city management and strategy.


SimCity (2013) is a city-building and urban planning simulation massively multiplayer online game developed by Maxis Emeryville and published by Electronic Arts. This game, released for Microsoft Windows in early March 2013, is a reboot of the SimCity series and is the first major installment since the release of SimCity 4 a decade before.

The game allows players to create a settlement that can grow into a city by zoning land for residential, commercial, or industrial development, as well as building and maintaining public services, transport, and utilities. The game uses a new engine called GlassBox that allows for more detailed simulation than previous games.

SimCity (2013) brought back the zoning feature, as well as a new multiplayer mode where a group of cities work together or compete in an online region. Curved roads also make their first appearance into the franchise. Types of zones include residential, commercial, and industrial. The density is driven by the types of roads built around these zones.

Cities in a region are connected to each other via predefined regional networks such as highways, railways, and waterways. Elements such as traffic and air pollution are visible flowing between cities. The citizens in the game are also agents and do not lead realistic lives; they go to work at the first job they can find and they go home to the first empty home they find.

A new feature is that non-renewable resources are finite, so if a player uses up their resources too quickly, their economy may collapse. However, players can trade resources with other players online. In the demo shown at E3, a mayor from Stoneslow was able to pipe electricity into Taylor City.

Every individual Sim has their own job, personality, education, life expectancy, etc. The design of the buildings is also customizable, as well as detailed traffic simulation, with cars lit up at night. Roads can be placed in different ways, such as straight, square, arched, freeform (curvy), and circular.

There is no re-shaping of land in this game, although in Update 7 the player can raise and lower land, to a limited extent. The environmental consequences of running a city are also explored in this game, focusing on global warming and other environmental issues such as air, water, and ground pollution.

Like other aspects of the game, crime is also more detailed. When a Sim commits arson, the player will hear gasoline being poured and a match being lit, as well as panicked Sims running from the building, some of them on fire. One unit’s behavior, such as moving into a new home and blocking the street with a moving van, could ripple out and cause a traffic jam, that in turn delays the response time of a fire truck attempting to put out a fire, which can result in a swath of the city burning.

Despite the game’s critical acclaim for its new engine and reimagined gameplay, it received negative reviews due to widespread technical and gameplay problems related to the mandatory network connection for playing and saving game data. These issues included network outages, problems with saving progress, and difficulty connecting to the game’s servers. As a result, reviewers were unable to review the game, labeling the launch a “disaster” and the game “unplayably broken”, urging players to avoid purchasing the game until the issues were resolved.

SimCity (2013) is a reimagined city-building experience that offers a detailed simulation of urban development and management. Despite its initial technical issues, it provides a unique and immersive gaming experience that allows players to create, manage, and evolve their own cities.


While SimCity (2013) does not feature characters in a traditional narrative sense, players themselves become key figures in their cities’ stories, making decisions that shape the urban landscape and affect the lives of the city’s inhabitants.


The game introduces more detailed simulation mechanics, including the GlassBox engine, which powers the most responsive and personal SimCity experience yet. Players can build up to 16 cities in one region, each with different specializations and challenges. Multiplayer mode introduces collaborative and competitive elements, as decisions in one city can have ripple effects across the entire region.


SimCity (2013) remains a pivotal entry in the city-building genre, celebrated for its depth of simulation and the introduction of multiplayer gameplay. While it faced technical hurdles at launch, its legacy as a complex and engaging simulation game endures.

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