SimCity

For those of you paying attention, EA's launch of SimCity was a disaster. Server problems combined with the always-online DRM requirement prevented many gamers from even being able to play the game, while others had to wait hours just to connect, more suffered crashes and glitches, and still others lost save files (and hours of progress) due to failures in specific servers that housed their game files.

It got so bad, online retailer Amazon.com pulled the game from its site, citing the unplayable state of the servers. They've since reinstated the game, but with a warning to consumers, and a lowly 1 1/2-star rating (as of the time of this writing).

Having participated in one of the closed Betas for the game, I was fully aware of the potential for problems, since Beta users were plagued by server issues that prevented many players from even being able to login to test the game. I had to wait hours before the server was operational long enough for me to load a city, and even then, I got booted off several times. It was incredibly frustrating, especially with the knowledge that the Beta would only last through the weekend, so I was under pressure to login as quickly as possible and spend as much time as possible with the game before the Beta ended.

SimCity - snap-to road grid
One of the best features of the game is the snap-to-grid for building roads that lets you keep your roads nice and parallel, even if they curve!

So I fully anticipated server problems with the launch, since I didn't trust EA to put any real effort into making sure the game would work. This is the same EA that won a consumerist award for the "Worst Company in America" in 2012! And deservedly so! Despite the servers not being up to par during the two closed Betas, EA still seemed to think the online infrastructure was suited for a full retail launch. Boy were they wrong!

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The city-builder genre of game has been sparse and disappointing over the past decade. EA and Maxis' storied SimCity franchise has been sitting on the shelves since 2003. SimCity 4 is the most recent game in the series proper, and it is so old that it still runs on a sprite-based, isometric, 2-D engine. Offshoot games like SimCity Societies tried to keep the series relevant and expose it to new audiences, but none of the games since SimCity 4 have really captured the spirit and essence that the old games brought to fans.

But finally, after a 9-year hiatus, SimCity is finally coming back with a proper, full-fledged sequel. Below is the announcement trailer for SimCity 5 with a little behind-the-scenes featurette tacked on to the end. Enjoy!

UPDATE March 20, 2012 (1:50 PM PST):

I recently found another video that summarizes the content that was presented in the previous videos. It has a few minor tidbits of additional information.

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