Despite the “Sim” name, this wasn’t created by Maxis, but by Yoot Saito, a game developer also responsible for Seaman & Ōdama. & Maxis just bought to rights to publish it. Yoot later released an obscure sequel called Yoot Tower, & much later a Game Boy Advance remake simply called The Tower SP, published by none other than Sega, & a DS remake called The Tower DS, published some nobodies named DigiToys. Judging by the lack o’ a page for the DS remake on Wikipedia or GameFAQs, it seems nobody gives a shit ’bout it–I ne’er heard o’ it till just recently. But I did play the GBA remake a li’l, & a’least took a longer look @ Yoot Tower, which is much mo’ well-known–though not as much as Sim Tower.
Anyway, this is “a nostalgic look,” not “a historical look,” so I will continue to call it “Sim Tower,” since that was the form I played when I was young.
Sim Tower is mixed quality: while it has these pieces that fill me with immense nostalgic warmth, that’s usually mixed in with a lot o’ repetitive plopping down o’ rows o’ offices & apartments, or, god help me, having to manually adjust the rent o’ each place ’cause the tenants left in droves o’er high prices & have left me in the red.
The game starts mediocre & gradually gives you middlingly interesting toys with which to work, but this part has such easy goals & goes by quickly ‘nough that it doesn’t take long to get to 3 stars, where the game gives you all the cool shit, including the movie theater, the dance hall, the garbage disposal, & the parking lot. I don’t know why, but I just always found this stuff cool as a kid, e’en though from the player’s point o’ view, they might as well just be extra pictures to add to the mass o’ gray office spaces & peach apartment rooms. ¿Did choosing ‘tween classic & modern movies in the cinema e’er matter? ¿Who cares? ‘Twas fun to do it, anyway.
Then came 4 stars, & all you got was some lame metro station till you reached a much higher population than demanded before. Best o’ all, due to how the metro stations & security rooms were programmed, you could completely fuck yourself if you built a security station too low, since you couldn’t bulldoze a security station & couldn’t build a metro station ‘bove any other structure, & need to build a metro station to pass 4 stars. This actually happened to me once when I was young, & boy was it a delight.
I actually ne’er reached 5 stars nor the 100th floor, & I’ll ne’er try, ’cause adults don’t have that time anymo’. I did once reach up to 80 floors, though. Don’t remember whether that save ended ’cause I fucked something up with no way to fix it or if I just lost that save somehow. I certainly don’t have it anymo’.
Honestly, Sim Tower‘s true value to me is simply its aesthetics. I don’t know why, but there’s something endearing ’bout the pseudorealistic—& yet quite flat & abstract—graphics o’ all those offices & apartments & those lobbies with the tiny sofas full o’ tiny abstract people. & then you’d get to see the dance hall light up or see all the different designs for the fast food restaurants or all the li’l movies that play on the tiny cinema or the garbage place fill up with garbage. It reminds me o’ some toy I had a lot o’ fondness for as a kid, which looked like a pseudorealistic fast food restaurant. I wrote a poem ’bout that toy mo’ than a year ago & just realized that I ne’er bothered to post it.
Picture taken o’ a tower save from David Wolever, since fuck if I have the time to build a tower worth screencapping.
¡& then there’s the sounds! I say “sounds,” ’cause the game didn’t have what most would call music, but had a collection o’ ambient sounds that were as pleasing to hear as music, & much mo’ fitting for this game. Listening to this is like an injection o’ unfiltered nostalgia for me.
Also, Santa would fly by on the last day o’ the last quarter with a jingling sled & some terrorist would threaten to blow up parts o’ your tower if you didn’t pay him. It’s cool details like these that made this game memorable, e’en if it didn’t have the most entertaining gameplay.