SimCity 2000, Part XIV: Priscilla

In his new residence, the mayor of Hell lay in his double-king-sized bed dreaming.  Dreaming of a woman, a beautiful red-haired woman wearing only a red cloak, the red all the more vibrant against the black void that surrounded them both.  The mayor, seated and frozen in place, could only watch as the woman slowly approached him and leaned over to speak into his ear.

“I am Priscilla,” she whispered.  “I will give you everything you’ve dreamed of and more.  And then I will take everything from you.”

The mayor tried to speak, to ask her what she meant.  But before he could make a sound, she was gone, and the mayor had awoken.

Priscilla.  What was that about?  The mayor wondered.  Did that woman resemble one of his several ex-wives?  They had certainly taken quite a bit from him during divorce proceedings.  But it was still dark outside, and the mayor was still tired, and it was only a dream, after all.  A few minutes later, he fell asleep again.

His city, however, never truly slept.

Exactly 200 years after the founding of Hell, the city has officially achieved “sprawling mess” status.  It is overcrowded and nearly impossible to traverse without sitting in traffic for a few hours.  Pollution is still a problem, and educational and health care services are still severely lacking.  The nuclear plant is still running in the center of town, despite several near-meltdowns that would have devastated the entire city and the county and the several counties surrounding it.  Despite all this, the city is now home to almost 100,000 souls and is bringing in a steady stream of tax revenue every year.

The mayor, by contrast, has significantly upgraded his own situation.  Leaving behind his old mansion, he had the Braun Llama Dome built in the middle of a man-made lake with independent wind and solar power sources and made it into his new residence.  From his perch, the mayor could look over the city that he ruled.  Eventually, the mayor decided to officially change the original name of the Dome, which he hated, to THE TOWER OF POWER.  Written in all caps, no matter what.

The city government began publishing visitor statistics to the TOWER in 2090 when it was built, but they’re all lies.  Nobody is allowed to visit the TOWER except for the mayor and his friends/cronies/lackeys.

The mayor’s approval rating, however, is not a lie.  He has finally achieved a rating of ZERO percent, somehow.  One would think that at least his inner circle would approve of him, but they number far fewer than one percent of the city’s population, after all, so this poll is obviously rounding down.  The rest of the city doesn’t have much reason to love the mayor, conditions being what they are.  Ever since mayoral elections were outlawed, however, the citizens have had no real recourse.

Still, it’s not enough for the mayor.  He wants to see the population of the city increase even more to bring in more revenue.  But unless the city is allowed to spill into the upper-class southwestern district, this isn’t happening – the rest of the city’s grant is pretty much occupied.  The mayor is not willing to do this for obvious reasons.

So what can we do for the mayor?  Is it possible to help him?  The city of Hell seems to have hit a plateau. Perhaps it’s time to break out the cheats – to unlock the godlike Debug menu.

This mysterious drop-down menu only appears after you click and hold the city toolbar while typing P-R-I-S-C-I-L-L-A (but not in caps.)  I’m not sure about the origin of this cheat code.  Maybe Priscilla was the wife or daughter or sister of one of the developers at Maxis.  Or maybe the Maxis guys were big fans of the Australian drag queen road trip film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  Whatever the case, this cheat code is by far the most powerful in the game and is really the one that you need to know about if you want to cheese the game and make it completely trivial.

The first option that jumps out at us is “More Money”.  Selecting that seemingly does nothing until the next month rolls around…

… when half a million dollars suddenly appear in the city’s coffers out of nowhere.  This cheat makes new outlandish building and infrastructural projects possible without worrying about tax revenue or maintenance costs.

The next best option in the Debug menu is “Add All Gifts”.  This allows the player to build the gift structures like the Mayor’s Mansion and City Hall without reaching the required population milestones and to rebuild gift structures if he’s already built them once.

In order to increase the glory of the mayor, let’s select this option and build another statue in his likeness on the mountains above the old city.

Saddam Hussein would be proud.  You can build as many statues as you like with this cheat, though you have to re-select it each time you place one.

How to dramatically increase our city’s population, though?  There’s only one answer: build arcologies.  I briefly brought up arcologies way back in Part VIII – massive cities within cities that house tens of thousands of residents.  At that time, though, Hell was not even close to the population requirement to unlock the arcology option.  Our population still isn’t that close, in fact.  It’s currently hovering around 95,000, well below the population requirement of 120,000 to allow the building of arcologies.  But with the Debug menu, we don’t have to give a damn about population requirements.

Here are our four options.  Each arco type becomes available in a different year – the Launch Arco can only be built around 2150, under normal circumstances.  But we can build it now if we feel like it.

But we don’t.  The Launch Arco and Forest Arco both look nice, sort of like pleasant places to live, and as usual that’s really not what we’re going for.  How about the other two options?

We’re not overly concerned with pollution, so the Plymouth Arco sounds great!  Its sturdiness may come in handy as well if another earthquake occurs.  Hopefully that claim about surviving earthquakes in Neo-Mexico and Neo-Taiwan isn’t just hot air.

The Darco, by contrast, just sounds strange.  An invasion of mutant men from the air ducts into the city could be amusing, as long as they don’t break into the mayoral mansion.

After some downtown demolition, these two monstrosities rise above the city skyline.  The Plymouth Arco looks like a giant upturned garbage can, and the Darco looks like something that came from the mind of H. R. Giger.  Together, they hold a maximum capacity of 100,000 residents, so let’s hope people are willing to move in.

In the meantime, let’s cover the rest of the exciting options in the Debug menu.  “Show Version Info” shows you the game’s version info, as you would expect.  “Add All Inventions” lets you build structures and services before they are invented.  And the rest of the options lets the player cause special disasters that can’t be accessed from the normal Disasters menu.  This list contains the dreaded Melt Down and other natural and man-made disasters that would undoubtedly wreak havoc on our city if they were to occur.  In fact, one of them, Toxic Spill, has already occurred several times in Hell – but it’s the least serious of the bunch.

Despite vigorous marketing campaigns, the Plymouth Arco only contains 17 residents out of a possible 55,000 one year after its construction.  Perhaps this is because this arco is a big piece of shit that has received a grade of D from the official arcology grading board.  Maybe it has mold problems.

The Darco is faring a little better, but the outcome is still disappointing.  Even so, there’s no point tearing these arcos down – they cost a lot of money to build, and they add some nice character to the downtown district.  I’m not sure why their descriptions claim that they were built in 1900.  Maybe my cheating confused the game.

A few years later, Hell’s revenue falls dramatically.  Just what could have caused that?  Let’s talk to the ordinance advisor.

As usual, she’s no help – she just nags us about the drunken brawls and organized crime activity that has developed as a result of Hell’s booming gambling sector.  Lady, if our citizens can’t go to casinos to throw back cheap drinks and lose all their wages at slot machines and blackjack, how are they supposed to spend their down time?  With their families?  Nonsense.

Now comes the real shock – the city assemblymen have been passing new ordinances without the mayor’s consent.  Ordinances that cost money.  This is something that can happen in SimCity 2000.  Often, the computer will go ahead and apply beneficial ordinances without your knowledge.

Fortunately, the mayor has veto power.  And he vetoes every ordinance that takes money out of the budget, leaving only those that bring money in.

Much better.  The mayor needs that money for other purposes.

Following the unexpected influx of cash into the city’s coffers, the mayor decided to have a few new mansions and palaces built, independently powered and accessible by a series of man-made canals.  You know, nothing fancy.  The man is a dedicated public servant; he deserves at least this much in compensation.

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