SimCity Societies: flatlined online

, | Game diaries

pardon_our_dust

The above image is what you get when you start SimCity Societies. Basically, a gaping hole through which you can see an abandoned Facebook page that won’t even fit into the hole. The first thing you see every time you play this game is a reminder that Electronic Arts will gracelessly orphan the games they sell you. How hard would it have been to patch that gaping hole out of the launcher? How hard would it have been to retire a game this good without leaving it basically vandalized? How hard would it have been to do something other than unceremoniously abandon one of the boldest citybuilders since the original SimCity?

Furthermore, let’s take a look at SimCity Societies’ online mod database, prominently featured on its main screen. Or not. The button goes to a dead web page that doesn’t even load a 404 error page. Has Electronic Arts never worked up a 404 error page? I can think of no publisher more in need of a 404 error page.

Fortunately, unlike another more recent SimCity, SimCity Societies wasn’t designed around the idea that it can’t be pirated. It is a traditional videogame that you install from a disk and then play whenever you like, however you like, with modded XML files if you like, when you’re travelling, when your modem is flaking out, no matter how many other people are playing it, no matter how few other people are playing it. I don’t mind that a new online SimCity game has launch problems so much as I mind having to trust Electronic Arts to do the right thing in the long run, particularly for a game where the online stuff isn’t optional, like it is with SimCity Societies. I just wish I didn’t have to be reminded of it every time I boot up my game.

Up next: dystopia in three easy steps
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