Least Fun Game Since Dwarf Fortress – By David E. Weekly

I was finally able to play SimCity after half a dozen Origin reinstalls, five hours on hold with EA tech support, a hundred refreshes of my games library, and an Origin crash. Yay!

…only to be greeted by the least fun game I’ve perhaps ever played. It starts with a juttering, poorly-encoded several minute long video advertising…the game you are about to play? Bewilderingly guided to connect to servers in Oceana (the North American servers were full and I’d have to sit on my thumbs for another twenty minutes), I was presented with blank worlds that literally could not be interacted with in any way (apparently this happens in the tutorial level when the servers conk out). I stared, literally helpless, as citizens despaired. “Perhaps we should just let it do its thing for a few hours,” suggested Jon Hull.

After another couple tries I was able to connect to a server that looked like it would let me start a game. I pick a name for a region, select a plot, and…”Cannot create a city here, please try again later” comes the mysterious error. Over and over again. I try another server. Same deal. “Click here for more info” suggests a popup, which links to a 404 page on EA’s website.

Eastern Europe finally manages to connect me to a game I can start; it’s almost half an hour in and I haven’t started playing. My roommates are staring over my shoulder in shock and awe. “This is up there with Dwarf Fortress,” suggests Nato Saichek. The tutorial seems to be working, albeit with obviously not-filled-out template text. It walks me through how to handle sewage systems, which is by building pumps that excrete the raw sewage directly onto the ground (“this maycause ground pollution” warns the game, while forcing me to drop the unit in place). I’m advised that if I run out of coal at any point I ought to make a city elsewhere instead. Ah, that’s an environmental message we can all get behind. At the conclusion of the tutorial, SimCity crashes.

Bedtime. Weren’t games supposed to be fun? This has truly been an ordeal without joy.

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