Why is Cities: Skylines so hostile to the arts?

, | Games

Citybuilders are among the most information dense games you can play. Any citybuilder worth its salt is all about the whys and wherefores. Why is traffic bad here but fine there? Why did I suddenly run out of power? Why is the garbage not getting collected? Why is raw sewage backing up into houses? Why are people leaving? Why am I in an economic death spiral? Why don’t I just start over?

Cities: Skylines gives you pretty much all the stats, map overlays, and information displays you could want. Let me show you one in particular.

After the jump, bring da noize.

For instance, here’s a map showing noise pollution. A noisemap, if you will.


The dark red area on the left is my industrial sector. Factories kick up quite a ruckus. The lighter red areas are commercial sectors. Drunk people and garage bands in bars, screaming kids in malls, Michael Bay movies in movie theaters, and so forth. But what’s that big red building at the top center? Let’s zoom in a bit.


Whatever it is, it’s loud! Let’s take a look at it without the noisemap.


Behold, the opera house. According to the developers of Cities: Skylines, it is as loud as a factory and it causes noise pollution. What a bunch of philistines. Maria Callas would not be amused. To be fair, maybe this opera house is all Wagner, all the time, in which case its bright red hue on the noisemap is entirely appropriate.

Speaking of noise, a new patch supposedly lets you disable the fake Twitter bird. Except that it does no such thing! The stupid bird will no longer forcibly pop open a window to get in your way when you’re trying to click on something. But it still chirps every time it has something dumb to say. What I really want is for it to a) shut its wormhole entirely, and b) get off the screen. So we’re about a third of the way to definitively addressing the fake Twitter bird issue, at which point I’ll be able to play Cities: Skyline in peace.