Japanese building Sim City DS

According to <i>Famitsu</i>, the classic urban-management series is coming to a dual-screen handheld near you...if you live in Tokyo, anyway.


The Japanese market is notoriously wary of foreign games. However, the runaway popularity of the Nintendo DS in Japan presents a great opportunity to any overseas developers savvy enough to put out a game suited to this country's tastes and needs. It seems that Electronic Arts is game to try. The September 15 issue of Weekly Famitsu reports than Sim City DS (working title) is scheduled for release sometime this winter.

The game is loosely based on the PC title Sim City 3000, although Famitsu emphasizes it is not a port. Extensive use will be made of the stylus, not only in the game proper but also in a series of minigames.

The game's main city-building mode will be familiar to fans of the series. Players take on the role of mayor and build a city. There is also a mission-based mode called Save the City, in which players choose a preset city, then work on solving its problems--chronic traffic jams, for instance. One of the wireless features revealed in the article was a messaging service. Players can exchange messages and exchange landmarks with another player.

A few features have been added to make the game as user-friendly as possible. In addition to the expected tutorial, there is a bearded, bespectacled advisor character that will guide players as they build and administer their city.

The game seems designed with the Japanese market in mind. For one thing, it is set in Japan and uses real cities for the Save the City mode. Also, the character designs shown for the townspeople are distinctly Japanese. There's a uniformed high school girl with baggy socks and a dark tan, a backpack-sporting Akihabara geek--complete with tote-bag, ponytail, and glasses--and a stereotypical middle-aged Japanese man sporting a stomach warmer wrapped around his belly.

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