spillway on simcity – mammoth // building nothing out of something

spillway on simcity

At Spillway, Will Wiles writes about a series of contradictory tensions at the heart of SimCity:

“…there’s a sheer atavistic thrill that comes from playing the game fast and loose, with all sorts of destruction and little thought of consequences. Your urgently needed relief road happens to pass straight through a small, comfortable middleclass neighbourhood? Pah, build it anyway. Sure, you could spend the money on a neat little bus system, but isn’t a glistening motorway just a bit more swanky? Similarly, a vast stadium complex is always going to be more appealing to the ambitious mayor in a hurry, even though a well-funded local library network could yield better results for a fraction of the cost. Huge engineering projects will always be more fun to put together, and more impressive onscreen, than microscopic local initiatives. A mayor should be building suspension bridges and airports – leave the rest to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

[If you are looking for more evidence that SimCity has permanently altered the way we look at cities, then the above view of Shanghai from Chinese search engine Baidu's "dimensional map" is probably a pretty good place to start; seen via @doingitwrong.]

3 Responses to “spillway on simcity”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Will Wiles, John Stoughton and MM Jones, Robin Clegg. Robin Clegg said: RT @WillWiles: Mammoth is good enough to link to my SimCity piece, adding some stunning Chinese maps: http://tinyurl.com/653llkc [...]

  2. namhenderson says:

    So, if we can’t even do the better thing when easy and virtual,

    Huge engineering projects will always be more fun to put together, and more impressive onscreen, than microscopic local initiatives.

    how do we get the juice together to make them happen in non-digital world? Perhaps, by applying digital tools to non-digital world?

    • rob says:

      Definitely one avenue of action.

      There’s also that huge engineering projects are sometimes the right thing to do.

      And that not everyone’s definition of fun excludes the local and microscopic. And there are plenty of people who are willing to do things for reasons other than that they’re fun, too.