After taking its place as the state capital, Hell undergoes a transformation. Life doesn’t really get any better for the general masses, but the new city’s new status spurs the building of upper-class neighborhoods removed from the rest of the city, sheltered away on the edges of town. Meanwhile, the heart of government teems with lobbyists and other forms of lower life. (Ha ha, just kidding, if you’re a lobbyist reading this right now. Well, sort of.)
The city assembly now serves as the state capitol building, and the assemblymen now convene in a nearby office building. Shortly after this change took place, the mayor ordered the funds for the statue given to the city to be spent on a commission of a statue… of himself. Standing in the middle of a giant man-made fountain.
Even though the mayor was generally considered a worthless drunkard, nobody could seem to get rid of him, and he kept the bulk of spending and city planning power for himself. People simply did their best to ignore the gaudy monument. Notice that even the pigeons avoid his statue.
Not far away, at Hell’s only hospital, a doctor takes a smoke break on a balcony outside in the cold night air. This one hospital isn’t sufficient to serve the entire city, he knows. In fact, the city only allocated money for a thousand beds in the facility, forcing twelve of the 1,012 patients currently in the hospital to sleep on chairs in the hospital’s waiting rooms. Because of its crowding problems, the hospital was given an F by the official hospital grading board.
The doctor asked his colleague that day what the hell the city government was planning to do about the problems the hospital faced. The other doctor laughed. They both knew that the city government wouldn’t do anything. An appeal to the mayor was pretty useless at this point. Most people couldn’t even reach him for a meeting.
Remember that mayor’s house offered as a reward for the city reaching a population of 2,000? It’s finally been built. Far away from the noise and danger of the city, in the middle of a small forest of specially planted trees surrounding a man-made moat. The mayor also commanded the construction of a hydroelectric dam specially for his use so that he doesn’t have to rely upon Hell’s unreliable power grid.
The mayor’s house in SimCity 2000 is useful for finding out how popular the mayor is. Which isn’t terribly useful. The mayor, having absented himself from the filthy smog-ridden city, delegates most of the everyday decisionmaking authority to a group of city planners answerable only to him. He spends most of his day in his mansion’s giant game room and in a massive hot tub like the one in Scarface, and of course he’s drunk as often as he can help it.
One of the decrees the mayor issued from his new retreat, shortly after Hell was named the state capital, was that no new spending should take place that wasn’t already budgeted for until the city could pay off the principal on its bonds and rid itself of debt completely. Honestly not a bad idea, but for the fact that the city really needs another hospital, seeing how the sole hospital in Hell gets an F. Still, one shitty hospital is better than no hospitals, right?
Of course, the mayor was sure to get his man-made moat-lake and forest and personal power plant built before issuing this decree.
Hell Tech, where the children of Hell learn to become efficient worker bees, is overcrowded too. But it’s not too badly overcrowded. Only 38 students in are forced to sit on the floor and have class in the hall instead of in a classroom. And enough of the students are in detention (or in juvenile hall) enough of the time that there isn’t a real overcrowding problem anyway.
After seven years of austerity and an overcrowded hospital and school and too few police stations, the city finally saves enough to pay off its first bond. This only leaves the second one to deal with, reducing the city’s bond-related expenses and driving up revenue. Even though each bond has to be paid off in full, you can pay off each one separately, so once you have $10,000 in the bank and no impending necessary expenses like an almost-dead power plant, it’s not a bad idea to get rid of that debt.
As Hell marches towards freedom from its bond payments, we can see that the new coal power plant is nowhere near dying. It and its predecessor have been spewing out deadly coal dust or soot or something from their smokestacks for 69 years straight. That’s something to be proud of. It is running almost at capacity, though, so once growth starts again, we’ll have to find a new energy solution. Or just keep building more hydroelectric dams, because they’re now powering more of the city than the coal plant. (Hydroelectric dams also don’t fail every 50 years – they last forever without further maintenance payments.)
Now that Hell is freeing more of its revenue for future spending, let’s look at what we’ve already done. The four buttons near the bottom of the toolbar are useful in this regard. The button on the bottom right of this section shows how the city is zoned without any of the pesky buildings in the way. Proper zoning is important – you can’t just throw a zone wherever and expect it to get developed. Zones will only develop within three tiles of a road. Industrial zones should generally be placed away from residential (although we decided not to be so careful in this case) and commercial zones should be interspersed throughout the city to make the industrial and residential zones more active – basically so people have places to go to get lunch or shop for clothes or to watch sex movies in an adult theater.
Notice that while the churches are built in residential zones, they’re not officially part of those zones. I think there was a cheat in the DOS version of the game that caused a lot of churches to be built all at once, if you typed in a swear word.
The top left button in the group does more or less the same thing, showing zones, along with the specialty buildings, this time in orange. I never used this mode as a kid, and I don’t use it now.
This button on the bottom left removes the roads, power lines and trees from the map. As far as I can tell, this mode is only really useful when you’re trying to place water mains under roads and want to see what you’re doing.
Finally, the bottom right button makes all the signs on the map invisible. Signs can be intrusive, so this is a useful tool. We haven’t created any signs yet, but let’s try making one with the SIGN button in the middle of the toolbar.
Just type the text in, and…
… now we know that someone in this apartment complex likes balls.
To remove the sign, click on it with the sign tool again and delete the text.
There’s also the help button. It brings up the game’s help file index and screws up the graphics. I’m not sure if it’s the game’s fault or just the fact that I’m playing on VirtualBox.
As the city continues to work towards paying off its bonds, another wave of tornadoes descends upon it. The first twister destroys the exact same factory that was knocked over in the tornado wave 12 years earlier, but misses every other building in the city. This property must be cursed.
A second tornado touches down to the southwest, well away from the city. However, it comes dangerously close to the mayor’s residence on its way south. The passed out mayor has to be carried to the basement by his staff while the tornado passes.
Once again, the writers at the Courier decide to make up a story about the tornado causing millions of dollars in damage, even though it didn’t do much of anything aside from vaguely threaten the mayor’s mansion. The Courier is mostly used as bird cage lining by Hell’s residents now, so nobody notices.
After tornado season passes, business continues as usual in Hell. Out of nowhere, the ordinance advisor demands that the mayor fund an anti-drug campaign to help Hell’s children. A staffer advises her that the mayor isn’t available (meaning he’s sleeping off a hangover) but that he’s pretty sure the mayor doesn’t care enough to approve funding. Go away, ordinance advisor. Unless you have ideas about saving money.
Even though the city’s bonds have been almost paid off, life isn’t getting any better for most of Hell’s citizens. In fact, the austerity program that the mayor put in place is probably making life worse. Will Mayor Scarface loosen his grip on the city before the citizens have finally had enough and riot? Will he be deposed? Will he perhaps go out in a blaze of glory firing a huge machine gun at his enemies who are trying to invade his mansion, a giant white mountain of cocaine in the background? Or will Heaven make its will known by sending another tornado, this time directed straight towards his house? Only time will tell.