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Elena and her joystick

Elena Ichinomiya

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...Hoho~ you found me! Tell you what, i rarely do top 10 kind of thing so i'm gonna do it once again. I might tell you the full extent of my experience about one of those. Too bad though because it also include the game i opt to abandon because either i lost interest, or i completely forgot how much impact those game had on me. Sure i can just emulate it to rejuvenate my memories back to masochist days with joystick, but mind you, maybe if i am back to my 15 years old self, i could find some time to do that. Now i'm old and busy. For now, enjoy this "clip" of my past experience playing some games that either come as a hit...or miss...

  1. Digimon World 4 (PS2) (No spit fire?)
    "Oh god please tell me what's going on...i'm playing as Agumon but instead of spitting fire, i shoot guns!? Why you add firearms arsenal on digimon that basically a deadly force to begin with!? Oh for the love of...i'm playing as V-Mon but here i am stuck with dual swords. Playing this game is just fun if you don't know what Digimon is. Its like giving Godzilla and Kong a butter knife and fork to fight each other instead shooting beam and throw building. Yeah, imagine that. And why the hell every Digimon sounds like they're a plushie? Is this really PS2 games!?"
  2. Resident Evil 6 (Outside church crescendo event)
    "Seriously, i play on easy but these red skin zom-of-a-bietch keep spawning like maniac. Did they got mixed up with L4D? At least L4D got many horde but backed up with the fluid control while this one is so sluggish! This is maddening! Screw this, let's open the door...what the hell? I have to open it up with my partner!? The people inside the church said the door is already unlocked and all we had to do is just open it! The door is just your typical door, not a big gate or something! Why i need two people to open a dang backyard door!? Isn't it irony that Leon. S. Kennedy, tough guy who still alive being chopped with chainsaw, find it hard to open an UNLOCKED church door?"
  3. Silent Hill Homecoming (Action shooter + Physicological horror game = not funny)
    "Tell me, which part of this game that sounds scary to you. Music? No. Monster? No. Pyramid head? Maybe, if he isn't just there being fanservice. You won't find anything admirable in this installment. Your eyes is so focused looking for ammo and aiming rather than feeling the atmosphere of the environment, your ears didn't have chance to hear any horror séance as BGM because the monsters have annoying voice than Pendulum from SH3. And when you encounter enemy? This game turn into Dynasty warrior. They appears in numbers most of the time. If you didn't take care of them, they won't stop chasing you. And if you leave many enemy behind, chance are, you'll gangbanged when backtracking! Cleaning them off the street is a chore and with the wonky controls, it add more issue. To add middle finger to this miserable release, there's an enemy who will explode if you kill it. You need guns to defeat it or else you'll have tough time kill it with melee weapons. Believe me, its either that thing beat you to death, or the explosion. And guess what? The boss are so cryptic to defeat! Why killing a small fry enemy has to be so complex like inputting cheat code on the game that wasn't supposed to be combat centric!? I try both controller and keyboard and mouse, and still struggling to step on enemy to kill it. We're doomed"
  4. God Eater 3 (Impractical button for non-voice chat)
    "Of all thing, if i play online game on PC, pressing enter would pull out the chat window. Alternatively, some game use Y button or C button on keyboard which happen to be convenient but also not get in the way of play. So take a guess, what button GE3 use to open up chat window. Enter? Nope, that's for confirm button. Y? It doesn't work. C? Nothing. The answer is F1...you press F1 button, to open up chat window. Who on earth gonna figure that out!? In my experience of gaming, i never heard any game use F1 up to F12 to open chat window! In order for you to figure this out, you need to open the option and see the key input because in lobby there's no instruction for it on the UI. So i goes back again and try it...nothing happen. Guess what again? You have to press the button...TWICE. So even if you already know which button to push, you probably still confused because the game didn't tell you that you have to press F1 twice! Not only the button were mapped differently from traditional key input, no instruction on lobby UI shows what button to push to pull out chat window, and nothing told you that you have to press it twice! No wonder everyone playing there never talk; they probably don't know which button to push and have to push it effing twice!"
  5. Knight in The Nightmare (RNG item drop for good ending requirement item is a BAD IDEA!)
    "I love this game but screw that good ending. In order to get the good ending, you have to obtain Staff of Arbitrator. Where to obtain it? On the room where you face one big obese enemy in a room full of chest. Now i bet you know those chest are filled with something. But that's just cover. The staff location, are RANDOMLY GENERATED. Chance are, you'll miss it because you don't know how vital this room is because the obese fellow didn't act as like most boss which make this stage is just another stage to clear. And most of all thing, why they have to put that item as RANDOM DROP!? I understand about hard to obtain item with near impossible requirement but not  gambling our luck like this!"
  6. Rune Factory 4 (Real life proposal isn't so romantic on game...especially with RNG)
    "I admit the game battle system and farming is rather easy compared to RF3 but the thing is, of all RF i ever play, this one is pure agony when it come to marriage. How do you get married on every RF franchise or on Harvest Moon/Story of season? With proposal item right? In RF 4, you need to wait that certain someone to propose to you. By luck, they ask for your hand sooner. If not, congrats, you'll sit with me for many seasons as Christmas cake until one of those pot-brained bachelor/bachelorette remember that they should be the one who propose us. Even blind date isn't this much painful to wait!"
  7. The Sims 3 (Next gen games, dead horse engine)
    "Sims 3 isn't bad game and if anything, should EA decide to stop the game there, it would still great. What make it NOT great is because the game is 32bit! It was released around 2008-2009 where Win7 are transitioning to 64 bit OS and somehow they only release 32 bit version! No matter how military grade your PC is, Sims 3 will make it run like potato on the wheel"
  8. Cities Skyline (Friendzoned game)
    "This game is alright to me and all. I like it. No complaint for the DLC too. I manage to create functional city and i'm happy with that. Too bad, this is not SimCity..."
  9. Code Vein (Camera disorientation)
    "Uhh...where do i go? Here? Okay...hold on, the map is overlapping. Dear lord, the navigation here sucks. I rotate the camera all over the place and feel disoriented already. Are those platform? I guess it is. Let's go...wait, its a pit-"

    *Wilhelm scream*

    "Dear lord...here we go again...urrrp!"

  10. Dark Rose Valkyrie (No nepu? No fixu)
    "The game probably mediocre even if the framerate issue and crash were fixed but boy, why do they leave the game in such shape like this!? Frame rate are horrible and even with potato graphic, it still run like slug. But guess what? The cause of error is because there's one coding that prevent some process to be compressed, making the game load and dump unnecessarily and hog the memory until crash. You have to use hex program to fix this issue but even with that, the game still run horribly. These guys make Neptunia from crap to total win yet they abandon this one like a college project? Maybe if there's Neptune in it, they'll change their mind. Take a guess, they don't. I never said this to anyone since its sounds cruel but since this game are hard to enjoy without complex fix and there's no way to make it run smoothly, i say it anyway : don't buy this unless its on discount or you want to farm steam points"

Yeah, i know there's no gold on those clip. The game shown there isn't entirely bad, its just that one bad spot that make the game hard to miss. Lazy coding, lack of fix, badly implemented feature, outdated engine usage, you name it. Sims 3 for example, is one of the outdated engine usage even at its prime release. Code Vein, while its good overall, the dungeon implementation is rather disorienting since the map just overlap and you can't control it to tell where you at. However...HOWEVER! I have nothing to say to those RNG BS. Gambling, is NOT cool feature. Period. Elena, shutting off~

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  • 3 weeks later...


In-game ads. Back in the day, having ads on the game make the world inside the game feel realistic. Let's just say you walk around in Persona and bump into Coca Cola vending machine. Or seeing Kelvin Klein ads on any racing games...yeah that. Back then, game developer know how to treat ads that basically act like people who serve them the side dish while gamer who bought their game as the one who serve the dough. Everything were put in the right place. You see those ads without obstruction let alone being forced to sink your eyes in. And of course, no clickbait. If its about drinks, then the ads is just someone chugging the drinks, that's it, no unnecessary hubbub stuff that make the ads ridiculous. After all, you're focusing on the game, not the ads.

But today, in-game ads is so ridiculous, unlikeable, shady, commonly stupid, full of scam, can't even tell that gamer these days can't be fooled, or even plain straight copy-paste something that wasn't their game as ads of their game. Yeah, business is cruel. But in-game ads is dogshit shameful. No wonder i end up as teacher instead game developer. But believe me, in-game video ads you always see to earn those sweet 5 diamonds ain't a thing because the game you play are F2P.

Now what happen if you see an ads on Triple A games that cost you your whole salary that should be spent by paying taxes? You got these...



"I know what we're all thinking here with those logo on the cover. Especially the third picture..."

To start things off, let me say this. I hate ads. But since the game i played is F2P, complaining about it is unfair. Those dev work hard and let us have some fun in it without slapping your credit cards first. As time passed, i realize i don't hate those ads; i hate what they show in front of my face. Nobody like being treated as stupid. And those dev let those advertisement agent do whatever they like is not exactly great idea. But hey, its F2P games! They need to make bucks somewhat if not through ads or subscription! Yeah about that...

Years ago, those game above mark themselves as total penny pincher to the core in different meaning other than dropbox. Not only they rub your wallet clean with their content, they dare to put another thing that shouldn't even exist on triple A games. In-game ads. Yeah, you heard me. There's in-game ads inside the game that already suck your wallet as a whole. You know what people expect from triple A games? Something that mobile game doesn't do, namely, NO ADS INSIDE THE FULLY PRICED GAMES! This practice isn't exactly a crime if they were put in a place that wasn't so obnoxious. But god forbid, they put it there! On NBA 2k20, there's this non skippable VIDEO ads popping up every single times out. All you wanted to do is arranging squad but you have to watch some grubby pot-head eating cereal first. Really!? On UFC, there's this ads from Amazon that no one give a single crap about which is okay at first but boy, they gone too far after next patch 2 months after the game release. They dare to slap an ads on your face every single time the match is over with those patch. No one appreciate that. Now let me ask you the question. When did you usually treated ads in fully priced games? PSone? XBOX? NDS? None of them! Even Soulja Console didn't do shove you any of that! There's no history record about in-game ads in the full priced games! What were they smoking with!? I mean, sure it would put some profit especially to a sports game and all, but not by shoving it up our throat and tell us to like it! Where's the fun in that!? More importantly, is this what i get after spending my gut bucks!? By sucking my time watching ads about stuff that doesn't even available on my region? Effing beggar.

Now i bet you wonder why on earth i put that third picture. Well, i got no better example, that's all. I play townsmen since i'm 13 years old and since the game has city simulation element to it, i was hooked just as fast. But when things get a little bit modern, they too, follow the trend of adding ads in their game. You don't like that? Then you can subscribe to get ride of it! For 30 days!

Yes, you have to pay EVER SINGLE MONTH just to get rid of the ads. TL;DR, they basically give finger to you for playing the free version of the game. I'm not kidding, back then i thought about getting rid of the ads with paying real money. Luckily i saw one review explaining what transpire behind it. Its not cool.

No, i don't buy those corporate "We need money! If you want more of these game, give us your money!" stuff. I mean, they have bucks to buy license to FIFA, UFC, NBA, making grandest stage on E3, yet still they have balls to say their money is not enough? Gamer ain't fool these days. They know big corporate has investor to rain them money if the stuff they sell hit the chart up; its a LOT of money. If they still persist, gamer will opt to pirate/mod it which beat the purpose of the ads which is sad, but understandable why. Do you know how much game developer CEO paid these days? Here's the picture: 2 Lamborghinis and private jet. There's even case with Activision where investor frown as they realize their money are spent more on paying one man salary than on the work effort. With that in mind, tell me why i shouldn't get angry when they ask me for more money when they got ton of it! Effing beggar with ties, lots of them!

By all mean, if the ads is essential for company survival, look where you put it. When gamer playing a game, they expect to get the game, not slapstick ads! Did they have shame at all?

So here's the lesson. If you really have to put up an ads, but don't want to fall into sinkhole of bad review due to the ads instead about the game, do yourself favor. Either put the ads on top/bottom of the screen, or just pop-up ads that isn't a video. 

Well, i guess that's pretty much it. Next post is about what kind of game company i give finger about by pirating their game and why. Elena shutting off~

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I know what we're all thinking here. Pirated games usually has extra baggage, namely virus. However what make them thrives on and called blessings is how they become 2nd alternative to "testing" if the game suit your taste or not before buying the game officially as "apology" for pirating their games before. Just like what i do these days after deciding to end my pirating days after Steam adding currency balance for my region. Sure there's Epic and Origin but as "advanced" as they are claiming to be, they're only minding business. But enough about that, i'm here to talk about what kind of game i usually pirate or WILL always pirate just so i don't feel guilty feeding someone ego and greed with my money.

"I also play pirated exclusive console game. But i spare them from this list since we talk about the real problem"

Clearly Greedy
I grow no love with pesky beggar who cling on you even though you already said you don't have penny to spare. Its no wonder people tend to smack jaw them when they goes too far. Ironically, that's what happen to big game dev company who clearly beg for penny...only to ask for more for whatever the crap we already give them. I don't need to put example of this category but face it, do you like f2p games with gacha? No? Then do you like gacha feature on the full priced games? You tell me, because my answer is big no. I already paid full price and they still dare to lock the full game experience with more paid walls? Sorry dev, even clingy beggar won't resort to gambling addict. This practice of "biting hands that feed you" isn't exactly smart. DLC is one thing, dropbox, gacha, gambling is different topic.

Turd Brain Developer
I give you one name for example. Phil Fish. There, you know what would happen to a game once they know the person behind it is insecure little boy. I don't find it funny if the dev being arrogant and certainly has no love for their poor grasp of critic that somehow translate as autism to their ears. You don't insult those who buy your game, you just don't. Especially if you're indie game developer, its certain cheap game over for your company. Many dev grow bigger nose when they won something and not in good way. This kind of thing is what make me to resort to pirate their game. Let me cut the chase then. I don't like that guy/woman developer, they're dick. But i like the game, so i just get to the point by pirate the game and leave those dev alone. I come to them for their game anyway, not for listening their ego about winning one award that probably been won by many. When you think you're great and you know it, then know there's many people that is greater and obviously better than you. Go outside, dev!

Chopped Off To Bits
Sims 4. There, i said it. I never feel so tired following this game update from time to time. Back then, all you had to worry about is Expansion and Stuff pack but now, there's so many pack that i couldn't even tell what are they good for. Chopping up feature only to sold it as DLC is still rotten move. If Sims 4 butchery isn't enough, remember how Tekken fans angry about the basic feature like hit detection need to be bought separately? Its like you buy a game but couldn't change resolution of the screen because you have to buy the Screen resolution DLC first. Feel angry yet?

Crunched Development
No no no no no no no! En-Oh! I don't plan to put my money in effort to grind people life to make the game i want. I'm against slavery of any kind. This is probably the big stinker reason why i pirate the game. I can't enjoy the game knowing it was made by tears and only tears!

Beta Games
I don't find it make sense to anyone who buy game that clearly still beta. I really don't. But its there with price tag. How on earth i get involved in beta test on kickstart project but still being asked for more? I don't think putting money just to see your name on credits which nobody bother to see or know that name was yours will make this worth it.

No Refund
Yeah no, i just find the torrent and get off with it.

Pulled The Plug
This isn't bad category but regardless, dev decision to pull it back from the store page is become part why i pirate the said game...but if it turn out because EPIC being EPIC, we might speak different tone about this..


I know pirating is bad, those dev need money to paid their bills and make new game and its sequel. But unfortunately, some dev just don't know that enough is enough. There's many gamer who willing to part their money in kind to get what they expect; the finished product. What make me shake my head is a game dev who clearly forgot who give them paper to buy food on the table or roof over their head without even once asking anything but their product. When you doing business, the basic thing you need to know is you give them what people want based from what your running business is about. If you sell shoes, then give those customer shoes. If you sell game, then give them the game and that's it. No extra stuff that would hinder the full experience too much. Its  like you selling shoes with a turd inside it; its an offense to the buyer. Sure the investor bring money and Influencer is a good PR. But investor will ask money for money, and influencer won't put their name when your company stink. The one who keep the IP goes for long run no matter how mixed to bad the game end up, its gamer itself. From classic Space Invader to Doom and Final Fantasy, they would be total sinkhole if gamer didn't play their part.

A game itself is like a shell with its feature. But what make it alive inside, is the player. Without them, any game is just bunch of code without value. Hollow effort made for nothing.




*sigh* Just do your work with passion will you dev? Sure pirates won't vanish anytime soon but surely earning customer good grace won't be so bad for long run without adding stunt that serve more damage than help. If you get angry over people pirating your game because you overvalued your game than it deserve, followed with unsavory act you just did toward the audience like creating dummy account for fake review...and piles of lies and trap to make us dig more money for something so petty....


Elena, shutting off~

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Can you feel it? Waking up in the morning, getting off the bed, feeling the cold floor of your apartment as you open up the window to let the sunlight in, and see before you a miles of buildings and well tended small park down below? Seeing the bustling city street filled with cars in a hurry to reach their destination as you just sit near window with the old radio tuned in while holding cup of coffee or tea on one hand? The sight might be too dreamy for anyone and perhaps not much people enjoying those feels. But i do! I see before me a building got constructed and done in just two days, then abandoned on next day. Then right before me, a toxic cloud rain down on that said place but no further than that. Once i'm done drinking my tea, a godzilla/bowser paid us visit with "warm" welcome ever! Life never been better in this city...does it?


"You're commended if you can hear the intro song, firefighter, and those glitched cars at intro without seeing the video"

What is this?
Here i go again, talking about the game that i liked this time. It seems i running out bad game to talk about in my life but i might just forgot. ANYWAY! SimCity 3000 or SC3K for short, is third installment of the franchise. After much long waited release, MAXIS decide to put the game exclusively on PC before experimenting it on the other port. Based from what i gather, this game basically would be the first city building with 3D render. However as you might discover, this game was released on 1999, same year as project we know until today The Sims series about to hit the market, doesn't seems to be met with proper engine. SC3K plan to be 3D rendered game have to be scrapped since the demand for the system would be too high at the time. Having city building game rendered as 3D were proven too much for the PC engine at its time and might risk of melting the CD-Drive!

Oh, did i mention CD? Yes, this game at the time, were released in form of CD. The data, the DRM, its all in one disc. Yeah, so vulnerable, but at the time, it was most advanced security. The thing is, some people who by miracle hold this legit game, will find it troublesome to play this on modern system than its next installment SC4K. Why? SC3K DRM was made in format of SecuRom. That old format might be good at the time but the thing is, that security system has their own fault, mainly on reading issue. Its normal for CD-Drive to stress out after long time playing, but a disc with SecuRom, it cost twice the effort to read the disc. Knowing how faulty it is, Windows decide to ditch the system in their WinXP release.

What happen next?
Well, without proper DRM reader inside the system, the game still launch normally...but run poorly. Some report they face high stutter on the game, and also how the game refuse to speed up in correct way, while others said the game tend to CTD (Crash To Desktop) without warning whatsoever. The old SecuRom cause the problem for the developer too because removing it would make the game unplayable because its automatically become pirated game! Isn't it irony you had to crack your own game so it could be played? But that suffering are no more. Because there's other factor that make the game still run before GOG decide to put it on the shelves. Yeah, SimCity fans was booming than you ever thought, especially after SC4K release.

I played this game with few bumps until i realize i need the compatibility crack to fix the stutter even if you play it on Win10. And since we talk about good old game from 1999, what about the resolution? That's where the fans come in! They make the mod to fix that issue even though the game were become antique before game portal like Steam become a thing...though you won't find SC3K on Steam. With those crack, now i can play SC3K without stutter and small window.

What make this so good to me?
First of all, this is the first city building genre i ever play in my life. As you might expect, young brain of mine think all i had to do is just build street, build a building, and let the game roll. Oh how innocent i was, that was biggest mistake! But hey, at least my mistake happen when i'm still 10! Not to mention i still have poor grasp of English. There's some sort of charm that draw me in to try to make a working city. Some people might object about how i do my things but that's the city of my creation! Everyone works, everyone earn their keep, then i reap the profit with taxes! Yeah, that's how the city works...if only i had such working mind before i realize i got rich because i taking up loan!

Next thing i know, i put myself on bankruptcy more than once. Seriously, i don't even know how to zone residential area! But even though i fail many time, i still curious how to make this game as fun as it made out to be. And my curiosity paid off when i make the city...full of 1x1 tile residence. Hey, gotta start somewhere right? Realizing this is how i should play the game, i make many zones. Residential zones!

Until the citizen complaint they had no place to work...i forgot to add Industry so i make long lines of 1x1 industry! There! Now work and give me those taxes!

Err...nope, they complaint that they don't have place to sell their product...where's the commercial zones? Here you go! Long lines of 1x1 commercial zones!

Yeah, few experiment and mistake until i find how to play it properly. It was fun...until i realize i forgot to zone that accursed landfill. Yeah, without that, people would throw bone at the street. And believe me, seeing classic game drawing disgusting image, they're very genuine with detail!

Another thing i like from SC3K is of course, their introduction to what people call New-Jazz or Progressive-Jazz. Not sure what it actually mean but its Jazz. Instrument if i might add. People seems flock over "Sims Broadway" but i always stick to "Window Washer Dream" or "Uptown City" theme. Its a good music to start new city. But of course it would get better if i didn't got trapped in loan!

SC3K also teach me that to run a city, i have to go through much trouble to make things work in a perfect sense.

  • No one in the right mind would go for miles to work
  • You have to connect city with powerline if its too isolated
  • You have to ignore citizen plea sometimes
  • No industry would improve if the land is too pricy
  • No resident would grow if their lot is cheap and badly tended 
  • Neighborhood deal need to be taken seriously since you get income per-year

By now, every game are always modded to have infinite money. But back then, cheating on SC3K for unlimited money would still put you on the red. Why? Because it turn out the cheat code only free you from purchasing objects or zoning with money, but the expense is still there to drain your freezing budget. Yes, the money freeze but not the expense to run the city. If you want to play it clean like i do, but find the starter money is not enough, then use a money cheat code "callcousinvinny" which give you 500k money. But here's the thing, that cheat were said has its downside. Though i never bump into any of it since i tend to get bored with easy money gameplay. 

Any Point of Interest?
I was baffled when i found out Will Wright planning SC3K as 3D rendered game. When i discover this, i was wondering what kind of engine they need to make such thing happen? Just a little trivia here, The Sims idea were rejected by many computer company since it were too demanding. But it come into fruition when EA pick the idea and keep it until the proper engine are available. With that trouble in mind, i wonder how on earth it would look like since its made on 90s where 3D graphic are still hard to maintain especially when it come to big numbers object on the screen? Well, turn out, they did try it...

(Part of SC3K beta trailer)

(SC3K Beta UI. Still sticking to SC2 style at the time)

I was baffled, they did try it. it might not look great but knowing there's some PC that capable to test-run this still amaze me. The development team like the idea, but when they see the consumer perspective, they realize they were too ambitious. If the customer PC didn't catch up with the latest hardware, playing SC3K would be like wishing for holy grail. As i used to quotes before : "If those master race have trouble completing their gaming experience of your game, you really got a problem!". And that quotes seems applied here. The dev can't force gamer to buy latest PC just to play their game, hence the 3D graphic were cut; all of it, much to everyone disappointment. Even SC4K who were said to put 3D into works, still wasn't up to their expectation. But at least their idea were reached out to gamer that they did trying but it wasn't great idea when its released. Too bad, but i understand that.

Is It Good or Bad?
Of any SimCity, if anyone would ask me what city building the best of this installment, i would say SC3K. Sure i might get overwhelmed compared to SC4 since it has more long running fans, better engine to tweak, and moddable. But if they ask me which one that suit me better from both side of graphic and gameplay, i say SC3K. You can play as it intended, realistic value of risk and consequence, charming artwork, classy music, and of course, the complexity of the city management. I never get enough to tell people what make SimCity is charming is because their complexity of gameplay. Strange thing to brag sure, but of all city building i ever play, i always praise SimCity management.

Some are just slide left and right, make petition and hope for better to the point you find it better to leave those option alone, making the purpose of those option doesn't sounds appealing.

In SimCity, people would surely riot on you or simply abandon your city if you're being ridiculous. And if you were caught having more income than average, people will demand tax relief. Yes, they would complain if they find you enrich yourself above average. Does it ever happen in other city building game? In SC3K, it happen.

Even the modern city building games never able to reach that level. That's why i thought what make SimCity become hot topic in their field, is because how they make everything work hand in hand. There's no novelty without effort.

And if you ask what novelty for playing SC3K? You build a city without any temptation of cheat. Because the cheat in those game are not much help! Just some protip here, cheating on city building genre game would bore you out faster than not. Elena shutting off~

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Now let me ask you question about city building game you ever played. Have you consider what kind of theme your city would have? How the people run their errand? How your political rule move? And how you prefer your city focus is? If so, tell me, do you resort on playing different city building game that has your favorite theme on the list? Or maybe, resort to tedious mod that need to be managed so it won't cause conflict to other mods? I bet you do. Most people would agree and won't weasel their way to say that they mod the game to make the city of their dreams have their preference theme. And then one day, you might wonder, is there any game that has set of theme for city building and not as mod but as in-game feature? And in much large number too? The answer for that question, perhaps to me, is...


"Wait! Wait wait wait wait, waaaaaiit! They include SC3K in the base game!? Aww screw you deluxe edition!"

What's This?
SC Societies was said the 5th installment of the series, much to fans disappointment toward the game lack of charm. The game was said to be pure Will Wright vision about how SimCity should in his initial plan back in the day. However the charm that so vital in the franchise has to be dumbed down which is the complexity of the gameplay. Will Wright vision to SimCity is fun city building which is more creativity put in mind rather than functionality. But sadly, SimCity been known for its complexity management that become the game cult than other city building game such as Tropico or even goes as far to any Sid Meier series and Anno. As result, fans outright lay off this game without putting much effort to at least pretend to like it. I was wondering, how could the game made by the hand of its own creator, goes downhill though in gentle way? After all, this is the last SimCity game made by its own creator before Will Wright take his leave pretty much later from MAXIS.

As it turn out, when i do play it myself, i have to say, Will Wright idea of simplicity get a bit too "ambitious"...

What The Hell Happen?
As i first getting my hand on the game, playing tutorial and stuff, i realize the game just telling me about its basic feature. Back on SC4, they telling you literally the basic and proceed to most vital part of the game such as transportation. But in here, i only got how SC Societies should be played. This is not good first sign. And then i proceed to play the game, only to realize the game has various type of camera. But no matter how i move it around, it still feel wonky especially when you zoom up close or moving it to eye level. As i'm trying to get used to the game, i realize something is missing. For whatever the reason, the soundtrack didn't play unless i enter option menu. I saw this issue on the internet and find out i'm not the only one who get this problem. Sometime the music play when they feel like it which is very bad since SimCity always known for its Original soundtrack that people always refer to in any city building game.

So i decide to ignore the first issue, only to find another. The game don't have much option of terraforming. What's that? Its a feature where you can shape the surface like creating hills, mountain, or even lake. There's no such feature at all. There's this one option to level the ground, but its another wonky feature at best. I try to create flat land and believe me when i said i tried then give up. The thing is, even though you can still build on the sloppy land, the building will have this out-of-place foundation that ruin your city theme! Not to mention, you can't change the dirt color if the building is on top of the foundation! Way to ruin the game point isn't it?

Also, while SC4 fix the city layout after you finished zoning an area which make it less mess than SC3K, SC Societies decide to screw that and opt to plop down every building. There's no longer building under construction anymore or improvised building when the city is growing. Just plop any building, done. There, you just play SimCity Societies.

And then we talk about transport. Seriously, this is big gutsy move they ever did. For whatever the reason, there's no mass transit mean that make no sense. There's no train or subway, those feature were thrown out window. There's still bus station and Taxi but i gonna explain the latter after this. First off, tell me how bus station should work? Done? Then toss whatever idea you had because every single bus station, is nothing more than portal gate. Yes, you read it right. The bus that run around on the city is just a decor. Whenever person enter the bus station, if you follow them, they're not taking the bus; they teleport to the bus station near their destination! How can that make any sense!?

Oh and since we talk about transportation, due to how SC Societies carry out, you won't deal with traffic unless you put too much intersection. Well that's one good thing i guess?

And about Taxi, they're nothing more than bringing random tourist out of thin air if you have SimCity Destination installed or like me, owning a Deluxe Edition. Why they making those Taxi exclusively for tourist is beyond me. But the outrageous thing is that Tourist had to pick up a cab...by coming to the cab station, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And if they can't reach it because they spawn too far from the said station when its the game fault for spawning them there, they complain that your city has less access to transit. This is pure kick on the shin you know? Because every people in this game, always get into car whenever they going to faraway destination wherever they are! Why those tourist has to walk to cab station to grab a cab!? Just transform them into car like other people! What's the hold up there!?

And then come another thing that was butchered. Ordinance or strict taxes. You can get into red if you build your city wrong but when you did right, you can get rich pretty much early at the start. The ordinance however, has no good thing on it. They just enhance or just there to remind us that you play SimCity. There's no risk factor having wrong ordinance which is usually something you have to be aware of since some of the ordinance is a trap.

Is There Anything Good To Say?
Luckily, SC Societies wasn't falling to hard when it turn out its just watered down installment. What i personally commend is how Will Wright stick true to his idea. I manage to feel his sense of creativity and fun in city building genre. Remember the SimCity DS? Believe it or not, people love the idea Will Wright pour in that installment since you're not only make typical city, but also various type of city. And the large project were put on SC Societies. Sure i don't like the game lack of challenge but if i were to grab onto this game first instead SC3K, it still gonna hook me to other installment regardless. The idea of Will Wright simplicity in SimCity might rub fans in the wrong way. But if i look at the aesthetic of the game from its watered down feature and newly added feature, i could see why Will Wright regard this as his own masterpiece. Because this is after all, his pure idea about SimCity he had back then.

To add more thing, like i always mention before, SC Societies didn't just give us patch of dirt to build. But also with the theme. Wanna make small city? Normal city? Religious city? Authoritarian city? Romantic Paris-like city? Tourist trap city? Funny city? Cyberpunk city? This game has those theme without need for mods. They have those kind of filter ready to use although some building need to be unlocked with requirement unless you play sandbox mode. This is where the first time i see Will Wright intention about enforcing creativity in city building rather than functionality. So many theme to choose from! But of course some theme has their difficulty if you play it on normal mode but we'll get into that later. So here, have some intermezzo...

(Small town theme)

(Capitalist theme. No small taxes house allowed)

(Industrial theme. The screen and UI will change in color once the theme requirement fulfilled)

(Authoritarian theme. The airship has propaganda emblem on it)

(Cyberpunk theme. Note the plasma screen and antenna on each building)

Honorable Mention
Fun City: Most of its theme filled with laid back venues
Spiritual City: Asian stylized city completely moved without electricity
Tourist Trap: City full of venues for tourist to drain their money

Well, not much impression sure, but this is the only game that won't lock those theme out with paid wall. Everything is there and legit part of the game, not modded or commission. This is why i can see the point where Will Wright want us to see. Sometime, creating city out of fun can be, well, fun! But he know such trivial thing would be too bland if its just there without anything new so he added the theme to compensate those idea. Had he just watering down the feature without this feature in mind, i bet this probably the worst and boring SimCity ever released. Now that i think about it, almost no city building game bother with various theme to try. At this point of this writing, i had create a city with 4 theme in one go. Namely, small town, spiritual, capitalist, and authoritarian. Yeah i admit the game is very lacking and has no sense at some point but when i saw the city i just create there, i think what drive me to play it more is because i want to make those theme works in some way. 

The game also the first to feature sandbox feature which allow you to build city without worry for money. Now as i mention before...

On 20/07/2021 at 12:50, Elena Ichinomiya said:

cheating on city building genre game would bore you out faster than not

SC Societies read my mind exactly because on the sandbox mode, or what it called as "Creative mode", give you option if you want to have it all, just unlimited money, or no expense mode. This mode however, were created after series of critic for the game deemed too easy which very contradict to its predecessor. Yeah, this is their apology for it but i be blunt, it doesn't change the gameplay much. Its still too easy even on normal mode.

What really giving me much question mark is, why this game has questionable performance? Back then, i play this game on average PC which mean some visual has to be lowered. But later around 2013, when i decide to pick the game again, i had more modern PC to play the game so i crank the graphic to the max...only to be met with just tiny bit of improvement. I mean sure this game come out at 2007 but you can tell by the look of it, even Sims 2 isn't this outrageously bad! There's also rumor that the game run poorly if you play on HD screen, meaning you have to play on lower scale resolution, namely, 4:3 aspect ratio. Have fun with that on your big screen.

All Things Considered...
SC Societies, in my opinion, is a great idea on paper, but lack the punch it had from previous installment even with the new engine. The idea of having various theme on the game is very welcoming because no other city building game up until now ever add those drastically visual change feature in their game, and even if they did, it was on pay-wall and not even look very much close to what they promise. If i were part of the MAXIS, i would suggest to put this idea as expansion for SC4 rather than entirely new installment. Because no matter how i look, the game felt like nothing more than enhancement show. It remind me about SEGA 32X release where the development team said if SEGA 32X only enhance graphic without new feature, make it as add-on rather than new console. That seems to apply to SC Societies because the idea is what make it possible to be a total win, but not the hands-on experience as new installment which is glaring evidence that this should be better off as expansion.

In the end, this installment is indeed the mixed to bad in my opinion. At least its better than SC2013 and its fiasco...

Elena shutting off~

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