SimCity the system slayer

— 12:00 AM on February 10, 2003

So what's the killer new game that will bring all but the fastest systems to their knees? Unreal 2? Battlefield 1942? Well, according to this article at, it's none other than the latest incarnation of SimCity.

The article is filled with tales of people with 1.5GHz+ machines with a gig or more of RAM running into severe slowdowns. This from a game with minimum system requirements of a 500MHz CPU and 128MB of RAM. A guy with an Athlon XP 1900+ and 1.5GB of memory said that once his city hit a population of 5,000, things got "so [sluggish] he could no longer enjoy it." Is 5,000 people even a city, really? I guess SimRelativelySmallTown doesn't roll off the tongue as well.

My favorite quote was from Jennifer Olsen, editor-in-chief of Game Developer magazine, who said:

"Given the infinite combination of PC hardware and software components available and the unfeasibility of testing for every theoretical configuration, printed system requirements can't and shouldn't be taken as gospel. . . ."

Umm, OK, I'll buy that to an extent, but does that explanation really stretch all the way from 500MHz/128MB RAM to a 1900+ and 1.5GB? If you've actually played this game, feel free to comment on its performance. Since I haven't played it myself, I can only speculate, but based on the fact that performance seems to hit a wall at a certain population, it sounds like plain bad programming to me.

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