The acceleration of urbanization has many questioning its long term environmental and economic impact and determining ways to best prepare for it. Now, a succession of new games is helping people better understand urban development by simulating, with realistic depictions of the planning process, the difficult decisions they may face in the near future.
The new SimCity is possibly the best example of a game helping gamers (mostly millennials) realize the global impacts of everyday decisions that they and people around them make. First released in 1989, SimCity is the legendary computer game that lets budding architects build their own imaginary metropolises. Its newest iteration, set for release in February 2013, poses much tougher social and political decisions that mirror current hot button issues, like the use of renewable energy, socialized medicine, preservation of natural resources, and pollution. Each choice has pros and cons. For example, instead of dirty, cheap coal plants, players can build alternative power sources—but those come with a much higher price tag and occupy more space. With 3D graphics and provocative examinations of class systems, SimCity has come a long way from its floppy disk inception.
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