The gameplay and history of SimCity on NES — an unreleased game that was considered lost for 26 years

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SimCity — urban simulator, that is, a game in the genre, which is considered the prerogative of the PC. However the series SimCity even at the dawn of its formation appeared on consoles. One of the platforms for the game was to be the old woman NES, but something went wrong.

ABOUT SimCity for NES tells The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF) — a foundation that is engaged in the preservation of game history. Employees of the organization managed to get a prototype SimCity for the NES, although it was considered lost for 26 years.

Nintendo (indirectly) helped SimCity come to life

Partly SimCity born precisely because Nintendo. Series creator Will wright (Will Wright) began his career in the industry with a helicopter simulator Raid on Bungeling Bay. The original was published by the company. Brøderbund on Commodore 64.

Then a license for the game issued Hudson soft, and she released Raid on Bungeling Bay for NES in Japan.

US sales Raid on Bungeling Bay for home computers only 30,000 copies were reached, but in Japan the NES version turned out to be a box office hit — as many as 750,000 copies! Deductions from the Japanese version of the game provided Wright several years of comfortable existence.

During development Raid on Bungeling Bay Wright I found that with great pleasure I build cities in the editor of my game. So the developer thought of SimCity and began to bring his idea to life: the new simulator also had to go to the Commodore 64. Wright I could safely play the game, because the financial side of the issue was resolved: thanks to the achievements Raid on Bungeling Bay for NES!

Raid on Bungeling Bay for Commodore 64 and NES.

Publisher Brøderbund designed the Wright distribution license SimCity, but strongly doubted the idea: the company saw only a harsh simulator of building cities, where there is no game itself. For example, in the first SimCity there was no clear indication of victory or defeat.

Eventually Brøderbund released SimCity without marketing: the game remained «in hibernation» for several years. But Wright found a partner Jeff brown (Jeff braun) who saw in SimCity commercial potential, along with it founded the company Maxis and began to prepare an extended version of his «town planning» for Amiga and Macintosh.

Creator Mario made SimCity a game for everyone

Fate brought together Wright with Shigeru Miyamoto (Shigeru Miyamoto) — The Legendary Game Designer Nintendo. Around 1990 Miyamoto Dreamed about the game, where you can create your own world. It turned out that such a game already exists — SimCity Wright!

Developers have joined forces to move SimCity on console Nintendo.

According to VGHF, thanks to the influence Miyamoto SimCity Became friendlier to gamers and got game elements, which then took root in the series. From new to SimCity for Nintendo — Dr. Wright, a character who explained the gameplay elements and was the «face» of the game.

Besides, in SimCity for Nintendo they introduced a system of progress (gamers were given special buildings for success in urban planning) and a bank where they could take out a loan and avoid financial collapse. AT SimCity for Commodore 64 there was no bank: if the player remained aground, he had to dodge and save money for a penny.

Miyamoto and Wright discuss SimCity for SNES.

Disappearance for 26 years

In 1990 Nintendo announced SimCity for NES and SNES. The version for SNES reached the release safely in mid-1991, but NES faced difficulties. SimCity for NES publicly shown only once — in January 1991, at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show.

The excerpts of the reports from that exhibition for more than two decades were considered the only entries. SimCity for NES.

The story was continued in 2017. Someone brought two cartridges with a prototype SimCity for NES to the store used games in Seattle, USA. The item had tremendous collectible value.

Just imagine: a real cartridge with an unreleased game, which was developed Nintendo and which went missing for 26 years! And there are only two such cartridges!

Then the find was brought to the Retro Gaming Expo in Portland — the biggest exhibition for retro lovers. There the owner wanted to find buyers for cartridges. Collector bought one copy Christian deutering (Christian Deitering), and the second — Steve lin (Steve Lin), VGHF board member.

The amount of the transaction has not been disclosed, but we believe the money was very substantial there.

SimCity Prototype Cartridge for NES. This package was used for internal tests in Nintendo: it allowed to quickly replace the chips on the board.

Unique features of SimCity for NES

Steve lin fulfilled his duty for game history: he handed a cartridge with a prototype to his colleagues, so that they could study and save SimCity for NES.

The game was never finished, so in the prototype there are bugs and typos, and some content is not enough. However, in general, it can be said that SimCity for the NES, it differs from the version for the SNES only in graphics: on the NES, they saved Dr. Wright with his advice, bank loans, and natural disasters.

According to some reports, this version identity arose due to the fact that SimCity first developed specifically for NES and only then transferred to SNES. Among the differences, the building zone cells on SNES occupy a square of three by three, and on NES only two by two.

At the same time, special buildings that increase the value of neighboring lands have the same size in both versions — three to three. Because of this, the NES cannot reproduce the “donut” tactics that gamers liked to use on the SNES: special buildings were surrounded with a neat ring from the construction zones in order to squeeze more of the value-added bonuses. On the NES «donut» goes curves.

In addition, in the prototype, bonuses for special buildings do not work at all, so the idea basically loses its meaning.

Bublik on NES and SNES. Nightmare perfectionist!

AT SimCity NES also had its own soundtrack. And in this version they asked to indicate their favorite word. It then became the name of the “sister city”, which presents gifts to the player’s city. AT SimCity for NES they even tried to play voice samples!

On the Macintosh, when a helicopter pilot sees a traffic jam, the phrase “Difficulties in traffic movement are noticed” is heard. The same phrase (albeit in a highly degraded version) is on the NES. And on SNES it is already gone.

SimCity for NES has a future

AT SimCity for NES, resources that the game does not use have been excavated. For example, ship sprites — they should appear when a player builds a port. According to VGHF, the Russian-language expert on NES under the nickname CaH4e3 began to put the game in order: he had already fixed some bugs and returned some of the content like the same ships.

VGHF posted an image SimCity for NES in open access. The game can be run on any console emulator. In addition, in the archive with the image there are disassembled “source codes” with comments, soundtrack in MP3 and NSF, advertising images and FAQ in PDF format, which compiled Deutering — the owner of the second cartridge with a prototype.


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