City Life

Given the long wait since the city-building simulation SimCity 4 (and especially given that series creator Will Wright is sealed up in a bunker somewhere obsessively laboring on his next game, Spore), it was inevitable that somebody somewhere would jump in and try fill that niche. After all, there's no denying the fun of ruling the lives of an entire municipality's worth of little, virtual people. Whether or not City Life can fill the legendary SimCity's shoes remains an open question, of course, but based on the demo version it at least looks like an interesting try.

Indeed, City Life’s main hook is something that SimCity has largely ignored: your town's inhabitants all belong to different social classes. City Life' s population is divided among six distinct social and economic classes- Have Nots, Blue Collars, Fringes, Suits, Bobos and Elites (only the first three are present in the demo)- and each has their own distinct wants and needs.

Have Nots (obviously) are the lowest rung, and are so focused on day-to-day survival they don’t demand much beyond employment; Fringes are arty, progressive types who call for access to health care and education; while Elites simply have to have the best of everything or they leave and take their money with them. From a gameplay standpoint, the Have Nots don't generate a whole lot of revenue or wealth, so as a planner you’re rather strongly motivated to create better opportunities and make the population as upwardly mobile as possible (which, in this day and age, is an interesting statement for a game to make, to say the least).