Yesterday I rediscovered an old game that I used to enjoy. As it happens to be, I still enjoy this game, much to the detriment of my household chores! The game is SimTower, in which the enterprising player constructs a skyscraper floor by floor.

The game is 2-dimensional in graphics and mainly revolves around balancing elevators with office space, providing adaquate housekeeping stations for hotel rooms, and maximizing weekend profits with restaurants. It has all the usual accoutrements of a Sims game: complaining Sims, quarterly income and costs, tradeoffs between packing guests like sardines in tins and wasting precious space, and so on.

I am currently (well, the tower is running on its own on my desk in my apartment) building a major office building – no hotel rooms or condos. I may eventually put a series of penthouse floors on the upper levels, but currently it’s all office, all the time. This makes construction easy: offices are the cheapest of all room types. With each new block of offices I also install a restaurant or two to catch the lunch crowd and to bring in weekend profits (when the rest of the building sits dormant).

I started the tower yesterday when I finished work (my second job) and let it run overnight. I glanced at it this morning but didn’t disturb it: apparently I accrued $30+ million between dusk and dawn! The building is very small right now, and only earns two stars (out of five), but it’s growing.

The program itself was originally written for Windows 3.1 and supposedly plays fine up through Vista. I’m running it on Linux under Wine, which required some fiddling (doesn’t it always?). I had to disable sound card support in Wine and must touch (literally, with the touch command) a file before I can save to it. Other than that it runs fairly well – well enough for me to slowly grow Nate-Corp world headquarters!

There isn’t a “winning” moment in the game; many players consider themselves to have won when their building earns five-star “tower” status, which requires a huge number of floors and money and a giant population. Often times the goal is to further establish a cathedral on top of the tower and have a wedding in it, which is, technically speaking, the most difficult acheivement in the game.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past a three-star building, but I enjoy just playing around with it. And of course it’s a Sims game, so that means that sooner or later I’m going to build 20 stories of hotels and then demolish the elevator and watch how stressed the people get when they can’t make it to the below-ground shopping mall!

Screenshot coming later, when I’m home.