FACEBOOK          TWITTER          INSTAGRAM          YOUTUBE          PINTEREST          PINTEREST


This Town is Run by Kids!

Hey Kids! Now you can build and run your own animated town! Put the roads wherever you want. Choose different houses, including log cabins, haunted houses and castles. Place your favourite businesses, including pizza parlors, toy stores, video arcades and movie theatres! Watch people walk, bicycle and skateboard through town as they work, play and have fun. You can even follow them into their homes. Now you can build your own dream town! Well, OK, there are grown-ups, but nothing's perfect.
  • Design your own character (boy, girl, woman or man) to live in your town. Decide what they like to do, eat and say - you can even choose their pet!
  • Peek into houses and see the people inside.
  • Balance your town's growth against your water, tree and food supply - and don't get choked up by pollution or buried by too much garbage!
  • Build your own town as big or as small as you want. Cool sound effects and hidden animations will bring it to life! You can even print your town and color it in.

*PSSSSST Hey Kids! Show this part to your parents.

SimTown is designed to teach kids the basic concepts begind economics (supply and demand), ecology (natural resources, pollution and recycling), and city planning (balancing homes, businesses and recreation) in a fun, easy-to-understand simulation.

Maxis Software Toys For Kids gives children the tools they need to explore and create. We combine entertainment, learning and creativity to blur the line between fun and education. All Software Toys For Kids promote creativity and teach higher-order thinking skills, problem solving, deductive reasoning and critical thinking.

Maxis is a recognised leader in creating innovative software and has won numerous awards for the entertainment and educational value found in its products.
~ from the back of the box

There were a surprising number of Sim games after the success that was SimCity. I've covered a fair amount of them on this very site with subjects ranging from nature resorts in SimPark to fairways in SimGolf to socialised Medicare in SimHealth. SimTown was specifically created as a junior version of SimCity, simplifying the mechanics considerably to suit the age range. It was even renamed SimCity Jr for it's Japanes-only console ports that came out on the Super Nintendo and PlayStation. But does this dumbing down and clowning up make for a good game when there are countless other Sim games to choose from?

Well, to be truthful, that depends on the age of those playing it. The game is so simplified that I doubt a lot of adults will get much out of it beyond a dose of nostalgia. For starters, money has been completely taken out of the equation. Instead, you have four natural resources; a forest for wood, a lake for water, a crop field for food and a recycling plant for tidiness. Every building has a wood and water cost but I never really hit that ceiling where I couldn't place anything. A row of expensive castles didn't have any effect on the game other than a newspaper headline complaining about deforestation. I tried my best to reach a bankrupt state, but I never did.

Create your very own Sim, choosing their favourite foods, hobbies and pets.
You can make only one per town, but at least you can put words in their mouths.

The entire selection of homes, shops and municipal buildings are unlocked from the very beginning and without the promise of anything more, the selection is disappointingly small. They are drawn very nicely with some neat little animations to tease chuckles out of the player but there's little cohesive design between them all. The sims can reside in trailers, apartment blocks or even haunted houses and castles which makes for an eclectic town to live in. A dishevelled shack can sit next to a fairy-tale cottage alongside a strip of clown-faced burger joints. They are placed on an isometric grid like a sticker in a sticker book, but generally it's a little too easy to miss your mark a little making that row of clown houses wonkier than you probably wanted. You can destroy them using the Bulldozer tool, but this will leave you will scorched earth that need more bulldozing to clean up. When the design of the town has little impact, it's not really worth it.

Your towns are all isometrically presented, with some starter maps available to kick things off. You can choose a town where the roads are already laid out for you in an American-style grid system. Or you can build upon a plot with a network of bicycle paths or select a park land with trees and lakes to begin your suburban utopia. The problem with this isometric view is that there is only one angle. The front doors to houses or the entrance to cinemas will always face in one direction making it look odd when they're not aligned to the road. I would've like the ability to turn buildings around at least, but I guess that means quadruple the work on the artist's part.

The Natural Resources screen. Looks like I'm a little low on everything (left).
Headlines show how well you're doing. They hold nothing back (right).

One of the main features is that you can peep inside houses to spy on the sims by double-clicking on them. They don't do anything more satisfying than sit on a chair or play on their computer (at least from what I could see), but it's a nice touch. You can't do the same for shops or businesses though. I would've liked to see what these six-pixel-high beings were watching at the cinema, or what they were buying at the toy shop but all you get is a wacky sound in its place.

There are some challenge maps to load up, though they play in much the same way as everything else. They each have a goal to complete, such as build up your water supplies or forest sustainability. You do this by spending points in the Natural Resources screen. I do not know what you have to do to earn points. It might be tied to population, home-life balance or your response to problems displayed on the front page of the newspaper. Either way, it seemed rather arbitrary at first glance.

You can peep into houses and the live of your sims. Pity they're not all that interesting.

Your carefully laid plans can be scuppered. Eco-villains can approach your town eating crops, stealing trees, polluting air or even being a nasty old litterbug. These take away natural resources but like I said earlier it has little effect on the gameplay beyond what the newspaper reporters are saying about you. What will have an effect are natural disasters. These play out much like they did in SimCity with wild fires ravaging homes or earthquakes destroying businesses. Even the passage of time can turn the town into a dilapidated nightmare. Once a house is crumbling, you can't do much about it beyond bulldozing it and building again, angering some of the Sims in the process.

I suspect a lot of the design choices were made to not put a limit on creativity for the kids playing it with the limited time they have on their school computer. As such, SimTown feels more like a creative tool like Microsoft Paint than a strategic management game. It has its charms, particularly in the sprite work and animations, but the lack of a game makes it hard to keep playing.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox-X build of DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Print features untested. Help, Readme and Techtips converted to PDF format included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 44.4 Mb.  Install Size: 98.2 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


SimTown: The Town You Build Yourself is © Maxis Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

Like this? Try These...

https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/2017/06/holiday-island.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/simfarm.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/tankitcs.html


  1. It's definitely a sandboxy game for planners and landscapers, rather than one with much of a strategic challenge. Those graphics still have a lot of charm even now. As a youngin I could see the appeal - I always played Theme Park with the horza cheat because it seemed more fun to get working on your dream park right away, rather than slowly build up. Perhaps the wild popularity of Minecraft suggests that a more freeform experience has a natural appeal to kids.

    1. I did the exact same thing with Theme Park too. Never left the greenery of the British Isles either, but still made dozens of parks.