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SimCity - Maxis 1989

For a long time any feature in the mainstream press about video games and their possible harmful effects would always include one game that proved they could have educational value, and that game was SimCity.

Will Wright's original ‘software toy' showed that games didn't have to be about mass murder, sci-fi alien slaughter or Tolkien-esque fantasy adventure; they could connect with real settings, real issues and real life-skills.

Admittedly, half of the fun in SimCity was letting loose a tornado or watching monsters attack, but there was also a surprising amount of satisfaction to be had in simply sorting out the sewerage system or getting the traffic in your city moving smoothly.

The open-ended nature of the gameplay made SimCity a game that you could keep coming back to and tinker with for months on end, while scenarios gave players who had to have an objective something to get their teeth into.

Without its share of death and destruction SimCity hasn't always been a favourite of the hardcore gamer, but it is an early example of a game that can capture the imagination of those who wouldn't be seen dead blasting alien scum into bits. That's something that has endured in its sequels, and in its most recent legacy, The Sims.

Mention: In the SNES version, Tokyo was attacked by Bowser, not Godzilla.

Don't mention: The hordes of woeful Sim games Maxis pushed out in its wake. Sim Ant, anyone?

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