A city is more than bridges, money, buildings and cables, more even than the social networks, lives and institutions within it. Cities are fluid entities that evolve and expand ceaselessly. Videogames, because they are experienced through motion and activity, have the capacity to depict a range of urban structures, representations, and systems.
London is a constantly moving wave of urban transformation and social change. The city expands, neighbourhoods change, landmarks pop up, and people blend in and weave the city. The greatest preserved feature of London is its own urban fabric. It’s not about Big Ben and its landmarks; it’s about capturing the essence of its fluidity, diversity and expansion. A place without boundaries but with people, emotions and memories.
In SimCity 3000 (UK Edition), the players assume the role of the mayor and they take control over London. SimCity 3000 is a city simulator—a dynamic model of urban life, complete with simulated citizens (Sims), traffic, commerce, industry, utilities, taxes, and other important aspects of city life. In this video game, London is not in the background, London is the narrative. Players interact with the city, engage and try to solve its issues. When playing the game, players’ performances are rated according to whether all goods, from industrial land to public schools, are being supplied at levels that equal a computer-calculated model of demand. The game allows numerous configurations of a limited number of building designs which imposes a universal aesthetic on the cityscape. Players can easily visually analyse the creation and the expansion of the city, but it also gives rise to homogeneous, class segregated neighbourhoods.