SimCity and RealCity

(You think your local Majlis Perbandaran sucks? Try playing SimCity and teach them (or learn) a thing or two – Picture source: http://www.gamebr.com/)

I am currently hooked in playing SimCity 3000 and certainly I have a hard time managing the city whilst balancing the income & expenses (great for existing and future project managers) It is frustrating at first but as I continue playing the game, I am beginning to understand the metrics of managing a city (mind you, it is not easy).

This is not the first time I am playing simulation. I have played several simulation games such as FA18 Hornet (where can you crash a brand new FA18 Hornet jet fighter into an aircraft carrier without being killed for real) or FA Club Manager (where you can buy and sell big players like David Beckham with ease and without robbing a bank)

For those who are playing or played SimCity, you will realise that there are big differences of simulating the management of a city on screen and managing it for real:-

1. Roads and Highways

SimCity: Building 2 major highways when your residents are just started to move in is a big no-no. This will escalated the cost of road maintenance (although it is nice to see the empty highways for once on screen after coming back from work stuck in traffic)

RealCity: Who really cares about the maintenance cost? Even with “highway-packed” area like Klang Valley is still packed with traffic jam day in day out. Current solution by the Government – built more highways but “forget” to build proper connecting roads (toll collectors are happy, residents are not).

2. Security

SimCity: The residents needs more parks & schools compared to police stations (I had 2 side by side because the police chief keep complaining about inadequate police coverage)

RealCity: 2 police stations may not be even enough – you still get robbed with your pants down. Why? Plenty of police stations but just not enough policemen to patrol around

3. Loans

SimCity: Don’t try to be smart by taking huge loans and try to repay back by raising the taxes on the citizen & businesses (I find my citizens fleeing the city by the thousands)

RealCity: Take it or leave it situation. You can raise assessment rate like no body’s business and the residents have no choice but to continue to pay (it is not that easy to flee). On a worse case scenario, you always have the State or Central Government to bail you out without kicking you out of the job

4. Development Zone

SimCity: Always check on the zone indicator to understand what the residents want (I zoned more commercial area when the request was actually negative – perhaps I just liked the colour of the zone)
RealCity: What do you mean by “what the residents want”? There is no such thing. You can zone and de-zone as you like even if it means causing low occupancy or major picketing by the residents by the roadside. Remember the incident where two blocks of low cost flats and stalls was built on a piece of land reserved for a TNB sub-station and a vernacular school?

5. Pollution

SimCity: Don’t try to place a nuclear power station between the commercial areas just because cannot find any other empty spot (nuclear meltdown is the last thing you want where you are promoting your commercial zones)

RealCity: Ok, we don’t have nuclear power station but if we have one and based on how our local authorities work, it will be something like this “Don’t try to place a nuclear power station between the commercial areas the next time (statement issued after an actual nuclear meltdown had happened)

6. Public Transport

SimCity: Where ever there is bus service and subway, the resident used it – so, built more of them. It reduces the traffic jam.

RealCity: Do I need to say more? The number of complaints on how our public transport is operated can go on and on.

7. Cheating

SimCity: If everything else fails, you always press Shift-Alt-Ctrl-C to activate the cheat mode and you can play God

RealCity: Finally something that is similar to SimCity – our local Majlis Perbandaran already doing it for real

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