“ Manufacturer: Dice / Genre: Family & Entertainment / Strategy „
"SimTower: The Vertical Empire" is a video game which was released by Maxis in December 1994. It follows closely with the other "Sim" branded video games wherein the user must manage available resources and develop systems based on the objective of the game. Here, players must construct a skyscraper in aims of achieving the game's lucrative five star rating. In the United States the game received a rating of "E" which deemed it suitable for all ages.
The game is now approaching its 15th anniversary since issuance and I'm pleased to report that the title is still fully operable on the Windows XP operating system. As the game was released in 1994, the system requirements to run it seem quite menial but include:
Computer: 100% IBM Compatible
Processor: 386 33 MHz or higher
Memory: 4MB of RAM
Drives: 2X CD-ROM
Sound: Recommended 100% Sound Blaster Compatible sound card
Video: SVGA with 256 colors
Controls: Keyboard / Mouse
Operating System: Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, and Windows 98
Players initially begin this game with a $2M budget and must start their construction with a lobby. The entire design is very similar to that of a typical hotel but, as the player progresses through the star ratings, eventually unlocks luxurious locations such as upscale restaurants, shops, cinemas, doctor's surgeries and underground parking. The newly added features are critical to the player's success as the tower's tenants will have increasing demands as the star ratings increase. Some outside influence is also exerted on the tower. For example, terrorists may ring up with a bomb threat and demand a ransom sum but the player may use his or her security force to uncover the bomb. Strategic financial management is a necessity as one much be aware of the economics of construction management when designing his or her tower. Items such as elevator maintenance, hotel suite cleaners, tube stations and waste management facilities all incur charges which must be offset by sales from flats, office space, cinema tickets and meals at the restaurants.
There is also a strong sense of elevator management skills required for success in the game. Many of my towers have perished due to the tenant's stress levels; represented through deepening shades of red. As each individual queues for the elevator his or her stress levels may rise as the waiting time extends. As more tenants reach higher stress levels, they will eventually leave the tower and this lowers the accessible population which is needed for star rating progression. Each star rating is achieved through certain milestones which always include a fixed population target being reached, but also depends on features being constructed such as hotel suites and security depots. The game is not inherently difficult but it does exercise the player's ability to think ahead and plan accordingly.
The graphics are presented as a two dimensional flat image with differing images representative of different items. An office space sports a typical telecommunications look whereas the condominium looks like a functional living space housing a small family. Each feature is also accented by various sound effects such as a beeping car horn within car parks. Constructing identical buildings too close together does eventually lead to some clashing and looping sound effects which I find strenuous on the ears. In a large section of office buildings, for example, there is a constant ringing of telephones and fax machines which can become very tiresome to listen to. Some features were quite cleverly designed and one that immediately stands out to me is the cinema. In a cinema the player has access to a wide range of film titles which each feature their own graphic on the silver screen and accompanying sound effect, such as kissing lips for a romance film or a shrieking woman for a horror film.
SimTower is a very simple game in design but is flawless in execution. Despite the game's much older age I still find myself regularly playing and enjoying it, and it is one which I would recommend to prospective buyers without hesitation. It may not be found suitable for younger children who lack critical thinking skills but adults may find themselves immersed within what SimTower has to offer.
Shortly after Maxis' release of SimCity 2000, the firm acquired the license to the Japanese company OPeNBooK Co., Ltd's computer game, The Tower, and released it as SimTower in 1994.The premise of the game is quite simple: you are building a skyscraper, and must use the options available to garner star ratings, which are rather like hotel stars and reveal the quality of the service and facilities on offer.
Each star rating advance opens up a new set of choices you can build into your tower in order to add enough variety to attract consumers and businesses, and advance to the next star rating level. Initially, all you can build are lobby space, offices, fast food outlets, condominiums (flats), stairs, and lifts (called elevators in the game). Simply clicking on the ground floor will place a simple one storey level lobby, although there is a knack to get two and three storey lobbies that are ever more grand in nature,. To get a two storey lobby, simply press the shift key when placing the first piece of lobby, and to get a grand three storey lobby that gets fancy spiraling stairs when stairs are place, hold down ctrl + shift when placing the first piece of lobby. You can only get the enhanced lobby on the ground level, and any other lobbies you place, which can be at 15 floor intervals, will be the normal type lobby. Other options that appear later in the game, according to star rating achieved, include shops, fast food joints, restaurants, security rooms, hotel suites and service staff rooms, cinemas, party halls, and even a wedding chapel. Once your tower reaches a certain size both in stature as well as population, you will also need to consider placing services such as Express elevators, recycling centres, a hospital, parking bays, and even a station to link you to the underground metro.
Accomplishing 5 star status in order to gain the highest rating and get a cathedral on top is not all that easy. You have to keep an eye out on the happiness level of your tenants and adjust rent levels accordingly, and adjust services. You will be able to tell if interior transport is an issue as people waiting for the lift will show as shadows, and turn red when they are getting impatient waiting for their turn on a crowded lift.You also will encounter the odd terrorist trying to extort cash from you, offering to reveal where they have hidden a bomb for a large amount of money, and fires occur from time to time that you must deal with.All of the features you can add in, and the maintenance costs of the building must be factored in as well, as you get money from selling condos, renting office space, shop space, etc, and from cinema takings. You can help maximise these earnings not only by running a well maintained and efficiently designed tower, but by making sure that your movies are varied and changed often, to encourage attendance.
Pretty well much, then, you are actually building a very modern mega structure that is basically a self contained community, where people can live, work, holiday, shop, eat, and get entertainment all in one place. Doing it well can be tricky, and the variations to doing it well can vary enormously as you try all sorts of different tower designs with different combinations of services.
One of the nice technical aspects of this game is the low spec requirements. Designed for Windows 3x and 95, it has a very low memory requirement and can actually be installed from its disc so that the entire game is on your PC or laptop, with no need to put the disc in to play afterwards. being an older game, the graphics are not as slick or modern as more up to date Sim games, but have a reasonable slightly cartoonish look to them, with movements of the people in the rooms a bit jerky, and very repetitive. This does not matter, though, as they are mere background. This is not about the people, but rather about the tower itself, and the humans in the game relegated to mere details to be checked on every now and again as needed. The sound effects are also pretty basic, with a general low conversational babble from the people when it is occupied, a rooster crow when dawn breaks, and the hum of the lifts as they go up and down. Being for Windows 3x and 95, if you have an original disc of the game, you will have to play in compatibility mode if using XP. Original game cd roms for this title are not currently for sale in retail shops, though you can buy them fairly cheaply from EBay. You can also purchase the game as an enhanced download from the British website Classic Gaming Presents, found at http://www.classicgamingpresents.com/. The version featured on their website has seen the gaming code updated to play without any issues on XP, and being a download, is readily available on demand. Either way, loading time is insignificant, as it unzips in mere seconds and is ready to play.
It's a nice little game, and uncomplicated, but fun, and is strangely addictive. I find myself returning to play it again, and again, and my husband has it installed on his laptop for those days when he is waiting in a long queue to get his lorry loaded/unloaded, or is parked up somewhere rather remote.My six year old and four year old also enjoy playing this game, and have learned a lot about budgeting as well as community needs, so it is also slightly educational. Though rated for ages 3 and up, my four year old initially had to have quite a bit of help understanding he needed money to build things, and to understand what the little messages said when they popped up on the screen (demands from terrorists, a note saying a VIP was visiting, etc). so while the gamplay play is simple and straightforward, and the material unobjectionable in content, it is perhaps best left for players who can read.
Build your real estate empire from the ground up. As owner and landlord of the building, your objective is to construct and develop a balanced and profitable commercial property by leasing space inside for apartments, offices, restaurants, and shops. Name your tenants and watch their everyday activities to plan improvements to your building's design. Terrorists, fire, and even a visiting VIP pile on more fun as you build your way to a 100-story self-contained city in a skyscraper.