SimCity creator talks about his game’s 25 year history

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It’s hard to believe that SimCity is 25 years old, but it is. The original game came out in 1989 for Mac and the Amiga and has been ticking along steadily ever since, spawning a number of games preceded by the word “Sim”.

Will Write is the man behind the franchise (or at least he was until he left the studio he co-founded – Maxis – to pursue other projects in 2009), and he sat down with super-fan Doug Bierend from to talk about his creation.

I’ve always had a lot of respect for Will Wright, and you’ll see why in the interview: he is one smart human, with a playfully curious approach to life and games. He’s also one of the few game developers who is able to articulate his fascination with both people and games, and communicate exactly why he does what he does.

What I like so much about him is he’s always come across like he’s about more than just making a buck off of his hard work, and that he’s actually exploring the human condition and society at large as he goes along through the medium of games. This interview shows that, and more, as Wright talks about how SimCity has been, among other things, about intersecting systems producing unexpected results, and how players respond to them.

“Most of the simulation is really built up of rather simple rules, if you look under the hood, and it’s really interesting how these simple rules, when they interact with each other, give rise to great complexity,” Wright says. “You can’t even really sit back and engineer it or blueprint it. It’s more like you have to discover it, because the emergent systems are inherently, by definition, unpredictable.”

With such sharp insights and a clearly brilliant mind, it’s no wonder Wright’s games have sold millions. I just wish he’d been involved in 2013’s disastrous SimCity, as maybe it would have been a better game.

The interview is well worth a read if you have even a passing interest in Sim City, Will Wright or games in general.

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Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.