Why Every Lebanese Household Needs to Play SimCity
I grew up with SimCity, and many aspects of the game grew up with me and shaped the way I perceive societies. It was always just a game until I started gathering points here and there during my travel experiences. I’ll come back to that later on.
First of all, let me start by stating that I am not endorsing the game nor I am affiliated with in any manner. My enthusiasm for Simcity stems to my early childhood when SimCity 2000 was a revolutionary game in the mid 90s.
For those new to the game, SimCity is a simulation of a city where the player starts with an empty piece of land and embarks on the process of building the city he/she desires. While the game was first released in 1989, it has endured worldwide success due to its realistic behavior that its latest release seems to come straight from real life.
Beyond supplying the basic necessities of water, electricity, and zoning according to the city’s needs (Residential, Commercial, Industrial), the challenge resides in maintaining a sustainable system that will endure natural disasters, growth and recession, sickness, fires, and even traffic congestions. Often the problems found in the game are a reflection of what we experience every day, but once you’re the “Mayor” and everything is within your hands, things get serious and challenging.
I’d like to meet the urban planners that shaped our country’s cities and suburbs, but most probably it was a bunch of myopic specialists too short-sighted to plan our nation’s future. Sadly, we are all paying the price in every minute wasted in traffic, every view blocked by buildings illegally built to get better façades and higher prices, dumping waste next to households and businesses, and the list goes far long.
In SimCity, players usually tend to create square-shaped streets and zone each with a certain type, leaving a clear separation between residential houses, commercial house, and industrial sectors. Ever since I moved to the United States, I realized why their infrastructure was among the best and the greatest in the world. They zoned exactly like any player would, and they did it with scale.
Our part lies in educating our nation on the importance of this. Gladly, demonstrations are taking place that call for the preservation of much-needed green spaces, but if we don’t orient the children that will once rule us, they will suffer in a worse jungle where we remain captive.
The importance of this game lies beyond making money or making shapes in roads; it will one day inspire a kid to become an urban planner, or just a valued citizen that aims at least to not make things worse if that’s even possible.
Here’s a trailer of the game for further interest: