SimEarth is another one of the iconic Sim Games, however trying to play this game compared to the others requires far more patience. Why patience? Well much like other Sim games from this era (SimCity, SimAnt and etc) there are a lot of in game option/menus. This only further complicates issues if you no longer or never had the instruction booklet and also because this game plays over millions of years. And since we don’t have the booklet or patience I guess we will just need to gain some from drink.
SimEarth follows other games in the series was created by Will Wright; was initially released on PC/PC like consoles and then later being ported to the SNES. The PC games have better control when it comes to menu navigation and mouse scrolling while the SNES version is accessible regardless of time, you just pop the cartridge in and hit power. Though we aren’t here to argue over which is better Consoles or PC’s that’s a discussion for another day, no today we’re going to talk about a Sim game.
This game is of course like the others of the series it is a Simulation (I know it’s really hard to figure that one out). Again this is a Life Simulation not too dissimilar to SimLife but it is on a broader or larger scale as the purpose of this game is to advance not just a single species or several species in a single habitat/biome but rather all life on a planet up to including civilization (again) over millions of years.
Now the game requires you to use energy to affect various changes over the many years to increase the life, number of biomes, affect climate and other models and even to learn about what things are. By advancing civilization and life you earn more energy and you can affect more changes though if you spend too much too quickly it does take a long time for it to replenish. Just like the world its a continuous cycle for/of growth. Spinning round and round. And sometimes you need to create a disaster to affect change so this game isn’t a zero sum gain when it comes to positive or negative events sometimes it requires both to move life on in able to have a civilization.
Again it is no surprise that this game requires a lot of management after all it is a simulation game. Though much like a lot of the other Sim games it does run more or less alone but there’s a point at which it won’t advance beyond. It is interesting to see the icons twitch around as an allusion to life or maybe I’ve had too much to drink already either way there’s an allusion just trust me.
Though one of the more interesting and philosophically questioning items of this game is when new species evolve/appear. Especially when they come about well before they should or actually could. For instance in an ocean world I had insects appear but had no land at all in any form. And then amphibians appeared, and again I had no land. I mean wouldn’t those creatures need land to be born? To exist?
Of course while drinking I started to imagine how it could happen; maybe the world had large areas of algae in calm waters that the top was supportive enough and similar to land that insects and small amphibians could survive on. And that is one of the reasons why I enjoy these older Sim games its not just learning, its not just fun but it makes you think in the best ways possible. It furthers your imagination in creative and interesting ways.
Now this game does have some short comings besides the massive menu options much more on the control/scrolling side but I’m going to blame them on the fact I’m playing the SNES port and not the PC version. Which if you want to try and play this game and graphics aren’t an issue for you then I’m going to still recommend the PC version opposed to the SNES version if you can get your hands on a copy. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to sit here, drinking my drink and think about what if this SimEarth was actually on a dust speck…
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