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ArtDink   #79

Games developed: 5
Games published: 1
Period: 1991 - 1997

When Will Wright first released SimCity under the auspices of his new-founded company Maxis in 1987, the game became an instant classic, drawing legions of fans and set a new sub-genre of "software toys". Maxis followed SimCity's success with a slew of other "Sim" games, which are by and large no less original and fun but are unfortunately less successful commercially. Perhaps this was due to the subject matter being less suitable for mass appeal (some urban gamers, for instance, may not get too thrilled with a chance to grow tomatoes in SimFarm, and there are probably few game topics less narrow and dry than running the U.S. health care policy in SimHealth). Despite dubious AI and the question of whether or not these "software toys" can really be considered "games" at all for lack of objectives, one thing remains true of all Maxis' Sim- games: they are both fun and educational-- it is no wonder that SimCity and its descendants are used in classrooms worldwide as teaching tools.

Although these games are already worth the price of admission on their own, Maxis goes out of its way to include extra frills and goodies that, similar to Infocom of yore, really enhance the experience of playing them and boosts their value as "collector's items." These "frills" include: thick, well-written manuals that include not only essential gameplay information but interesting anecdotes and reference material on the Sim- subject, including the "suggested further reading" section that is always worth perusing; cool easter eggs and cheats that are well-hidden and yield humorous results; excellent experimental mode that lets you alter the games' parameters to your heart's content; and, last but not least, the comprehensive on-line database, tutorial, and help files.

Maxis games were briefly distributed by Brøderbund in the early 1990s before they became a publisher. In 1995, Maxis was acquired by Electronic Arts but still exists as a fully-owned subsidiary.

  • The SimGateway is a great stop for Maxis fans, featuring hints, saved games, cheats, scenarios, and more for most Sim- games.
  • Visit Maxis Web Ringfor a huge (70+) list of Sim- related sites run by Sim devotees.

Related companies: Electronic Arts, Luminaria, AnimaTek, ArtDink, Millennium, Brøderbund

Related companies: Electronic Arts   Luminaria   AnimaTek   ArtDink   Millennium   Brøderbund  

Titles Developed or Published
Avg. Rating
Hall of Belated Fame InducteeA-Train
Hall of Belated Fame InducteeAIV Network$
Hall of Belated Fame InducteeAtlas
HR2: The Simulator
Railroad Empire
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