Fifty years after its founding, Hell has become a minor center of industry and trade. This squalid, run-down, waterless, filthy pit of a city somehow continues to attract new citizens, probably because of its low property taxes and abundance of cheap accommodations. Granted, most of those accommodations are about as desirable to live in as a gas station toilet, and most of them are also in neighborhoods where a stranger approaching you on the sidewalk is as likely to say hello as he is to pull a knife on you and demand your wallet. But Hell seems to be good enough for almost 25,000 people to call home.
The poorest of those people live near the coal-powered plant. And the coal plant is about to reach the end of its life.
In SimCity 2000, when a power plant reaches the end of its lifespan, it explodes. The explosion doesn’t take out any of the buildings around it – it’s more of an implosion – but it’s still annoying because you have to replace your old plant immediately with a new one or else risk a city-wide blackout and a drop in population. And yes, the paper reminds you of this with a special report. (If you play SimCity 2000 with the “No Disasters” tab checked in the Disasters menu at the top, the plant is automatically replaced and you’re charged however much it would have cost to rebuild it. But we don’t play with No Disasters checked, because that’s no way to play. If you’re playing with No Disasters checked, you may as well be playing in Easy Mode. And we know what they say about people who play in Easy Mode.)
Coincidentally, one month after the warning of the imminent death of the coal plant, we learn that gas power is now an option! Is this the power solution we’ve been waiting for?
The answer is no. No, it isn’t. Gas power is bullshit. It’s relatively clean but one plant can barely power two city blocks. Hydroelectric power is so much better, even if you have to place waterfalls for it, that it’s not even funny (hydroelectric dams also don’t take up space better used for residential/commercial/industrial zoning because they’re placed exclusively on slopes.) So, yeah. There’s no situation where you should be using gas power unless you can really spare the space.
One year later, boom goes the coal plant. The mayor is drunk in his office as usual, but fortunately, almost by accident, he hired a competent energy manager, and the plant was immediately replaced with a fresh one spewing out fresh soot onto Hell’s residents.
A few years later, NYU develops an even newer source of energy: nuclear power. While not very efficient, nuclear plants don’t produce a lot of pollution and are one of the better sources of power in the game… as long as you have disasters turned off.
In any case, we can’t afford to build a nuclear plant yet, and it would be a real waste of money to replace the coal plant we already rebuilt.
Meanwhile, Hell continues to expand. The city planners plow almost all of the tax revenue collected every year into zoning and building. The new neighborhoods include a budding industrial district to the northwest of the city. Some genius, possibly a graduate of Hell’s only school, decided this was the place to build a high-end resort: right across from a bunch of factories and chemical storage tanks.
On the other hand, it’s only mildly polluted, so maybe it’s not such a bad place for a hotel.
At the behest of a crowd of angry protesters outside his office, the mayor eventually decides to fund the creation of neighborhood watch programs. The program turns out to simply involve arming all the residents of the neighborhoods with the highest crime rates and allowing Death Wish-style wars between gangs and bands of law-abiding citizens.
Crime rates do technically fall, though, so the mayor keeps the program in place.
Sadly, Hell is not untouched by natural disasters. After 59 relatively quiet years, a tornado touches down. Luckily for the citizens of Hell, though, it doesn’t get anywhere near the city.
The Courier still reports on it, though.
One month later, another tornado passes by Hell without causing any damage. Two tornadoes in one year after 59 years of no tornadoes seems a little weird, but at least neither of them did any damage.
The reporters at the Courier, who don’t believe in fact-checking, claim that the second tornado caused “incredible devastation”, but all it did was disturb a few shrubs out in the desert.
Later in the same month, though, a third goddamn tornado hits Hell. And this time, it actually does some damage, taking out a couple of factories on the edge of the city.
This twister passes dangerously close to the city on its way south, as if taunting it. Firefighters are sent to the scene, but as usual, they wonder why the hell they were dispatched, because they can’t actually do anything about a tornado.
Three tornadoes in one month after 59 years of no tornadoes isn’t a coincidence. It’s a sign of God’s wrath. Thankfully, God only seemed to be giving the city a warning, because none of the tornadoes did a whole lot of damage. If one of them had ripped right through the middle of town, though – that would have been a different story.
The recent tornado scare is soon forgotten, however, when Hell reaches its greatest milestone yet: 30,000 citizens. In recognition of its achievement, the state government bestows a great honor upon the city:
The Courier proudly trumpets that Hell is now the home of the state government, and that funds for a statue have been given to the city, because what’s a state capital without a good statue? The citizens of Hell, meanwhile, wonder how bad every other city in the state must be that their crapbucket of a city got chosen as its capital.