SimCity 2000, Part XIII: The Tower of Power

Despite its many, many problems, Hell continues to grow in population.  The city’s money problems are now a distant memory, and most of the land within the city limits has been developed.  But there’s still room to expand the city’s tax base.  Demand for growth in all three sectors is strong.  It’s only a matter of time before Hell begins to rival major cities in SimNation.  This unfortunately means that the mayor may have to sponsor a few more expensive ordinances that help improve life in the city – but then again, life doesn’t have to be improved too much to attract new residents.

However, the universe will not allow Hell to succeed so easily.  A series of plagues rains down from the heavens.  The first is a drop in Hell’s industrial demand.  The city’s manufacturing sector collapses and businesses move out of the city, leaving the old industrial core of Hell an abandoned wasteland.

Natural disasters follow this collapse.  Just a year or two later, a massive tornado tears through the center of the city.  Remember those tornadoes back in the 20th century that blew around in the desert and maybe knocked over a factory and a warehouse on the outskirts of town?  Now that Hell is fully developed, there’s no escaping its devastation.

The twister heads north, ripping apart houses, roads and a section of the highway before moving on to annoy Sinistrel.

Naturally, the tornado cut a part of the city off from the electrical grid, so everything needs to be reconnected.  Road and highway connections also have to be reestablished.  The mayor is just happy that the tornado didn’t take out the stadium, because that thing was expensive to build.

Hell is forced to recover from a devastating tornado and its industrial sector is still depressed.  However, the party isn’t over yet.  For some reason – perhaps the loss of jobs in the industrial sector – the city’s demand for residential and commercial growth also falter.  Despite the city’s already low tax rates to encourage growth, the population falls by 5,000 in a few years.

As if that weren’t enough, another earthquake strikes one year later, destroying the city’s remaining coal plant and setting off fires throughout the city.  The nuclear plant is thankfully not damaged, but the destruction isn’t trivial.  Thanks to Hell’s robust firefighting service, the fires are quickly put out with minimal damage resulting.

The fires are out, but we’ve got the same problem as we had after the first earthquake – what to replace that coal plant with?

Now we have all nine power options available.  The fusion plant at the bottom right is the most powerful and cost-effective, but it’s also the most expensive and therefore the most difficult to replace if it’s destroyed in an accident.*  That’s no good.  And we don’t really need that much energy anyway.  Let’s just rebuild that coal plant.

Yeah, of course the fuckin’ citizens don’t like it.  But they’ll have to go home eventually.  As long as you’re persistent, you can place that filthy, polluting coal plant wherever you want.  In fact, the edge of the map is a good place for a coal plant because a lot of that pollution it’s generating is going to sort of just blow off of the map, in this case into the neighboring town of Sinistrel.  And they can’t do anything about it.

One year later, industrial demand is back up because the mayor ordered more rail connections to Hell’s neighbors built.  But residential and commercial demand are still anemic.  And the pigeons still aren’t perching on the mayor’s statue downtown.

Several years pass and Hell continues to stagnate.  The mayor finally decides to do something about the recession so tax revenue can keep increasing.  What to do, though?

In SimCity 2000, the player has the ability not only to modify the overall property tax rate but also the individual rates on residential, commercial, and industrial property.  Basically, if you want to drive up demand in one area, lower the tax rate on property in that area.  Since the mayor wants to bring more residents to Hell, he lowers the residential tax rate to 3%, and to make up for the lower revenue he cranks up the industrial rate to 6%.  Will this have the desired effect?  We’ll have to wait a year or two to find out.

In the meantime, the Courier reminds us that the nuclear plant is almost dead and is going to explode.  Don’t worry about this.  The nuclear plant in SimCity falls apart after 50 years just like every other plant does – without causing any other damage, meaning it’s not going to melt down.  The only real concern here, again, is what we should replace it with.

Two years later, the plant implodes.  The mayor immediately demands the building of a new nuclear plant to replace the old one.  His advisors remind him that a plane nearly crashed into the plant not too long ago and that a meltdown could have resulted from that, and that an earthquake a mere 11 years ago almost destroyed the plant, also with potentially catastrophic consequences.  But the mayor brushes off their concerns.  Hell, the nuclear plant didn’t melt down, so what’s the problem?

Plonk.  That nuclear plant is rebuilt.  Not even a protest this time, either.  Maybe the people of Hell have gotten used to the constant threat of a horrible death by radiation.**

I also missed a piece of road destroyed in the earthquake that needed repairing.  This is why the zones-only view is nice – it catches things that can easily be missed because they’re obscured by the city’s buildings.

Despite the problems faced by Hell these rough two decades, the mayor’s plan worked – demand in all sectors is back up.  The recession has been weathered, the city is back up and running, and after setbacks and disasters it has finally reached the 90,000 citizen mark.  And with this milestone came a new reward: the bizarrely named Braun Llama Dome.  The city’s grant of funds to build this prefabricated giant tower was given to the mayor in the hopes that he would find a suitable place in the city itself and build it there, for all the citizens to admire, and also to take the elevator up to the revolving restaurant at the top.  But the mayor had very different plans.

Instead of placing the Llama Dome in the city, the mayor instead ordered an artificial peninsula created near his mansion and the Dome built upon it, so that he could relocate his residence to the revolving restaurant, now converted into a massive swanky apartment.  Clean energy in this part of town is a must, so the Dome is powered by four wind turbines.  These windmills produce 4 MHz of power each and of course produce no pollution.  As a result, just like the Mayor’s former abode, the Dome is fully self-sufficient and can sustain a small population (the mayor and his closest advisors and staff) for a long period of time without the need for restocking supplies.  The old mansion is left standing to act as the mayor’s second home.

A new age has dawned in Hell, though as usual, it remains to be seen whether this new age is going to alleviate the overcrowding and crime and health problems that the city faces.  Let’s be honest; it probably won’t.

* In real life, a fusion plant would be really nice to have, but that technology doesn’t exist yet on the scale necessary to generate power in a cost-effective way.  The Sun has been generating power through nuclear fusion for billions of years, but we’re not quite at that level yet.  SimCity 2000 makes a rough prediction for the first fusion plant in 2050, and scientists and engineers are already trying to construct efficient fusion reactors at this very moment, so hopefully this technology will become a reality soon.

** I live in the general vicinity of two nuclear fission reactors according to US Department of Energy.  Thankfully, we’ve only ever had one major accident involving a nuclear plant in my country, and it didn’t result in any deaths as far as we know.  Let’s hope that record is maintained.

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