Saturday, April 27, 2013

City Planning? No Problem!


Hey, one of my friends saw my most recent post and reminded me of another game like Minecraft. This one is a little more structured, but makes you think a lot more. This game, SimCity, is a live action puzzle game, where you are the mayor of a city, and in charge of its construction, services, profit, and population. You make choices about how your city makes money; whether it is from oil, commercial companies, trade, or electronics. You also have to provide your city with waste management, public transportation, police, water, electricity, and fire protection. One of the major elements you have to deal with in your city is traffic, which if it becomes too great, can cause people to move out and you to lose money. This game teaches you a lot about dealing with money and a budget, and also varying city planning ideas.

In the game you have a budget. You have the current amount of money you made, and the amount you make or lose in a game hour. Services and buildings you place cost money not only to build, but to maintain. This makes players think through how they build things, and gives them a better sense of handling actual money.  The game also deals a lot about health and the environment. When you have oil mines, they generate a lot of ground pollution, which brings down the value of the land and makes people sick. Also with oil, you can have an oil power plant, which burns the oil for power and generates a lot of air pollution.  Also, you can burn away your trash too, instead of piling it up into dumps; you can just burn it away, with the only by-product a ton of air pollution.  With sewage, there is a easy versus right choice. For very little money you could have a sewage outflow pipe that pipes out all of the waste into the surrounding forest, generating the highest amount of ground pollution in the game. Or you could use a sewage treatment plant and filter your waste into fresh water, but for much more money. The game provides the player with many choices that affect the success of their city, and this really teaches people how to best manage money, time, and people’s welfare.

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