Monthly Archives: April 2019

SimIsle: Missions In The Rainforest Simulation category

Title screen from SimIsle: Missions In The Rainforest

It would be easy to write off SimIsle: Missions In The Rainforest as “SimCity on an island.” This was the ninth commercially released Sim game published by Maxis, and by this point, the studio and their development partners may have looked predictable. How many SimNoun titles could they release?

What distinguished Maxis’s Sim games was that they weren’t just about making cities or farms. They were interactive toys where you could play around in a sandbox with concepts about science or society. Not necessarily accurate portrayals of those concepts, but a distillation of them, attempting to be faithful to the spirit of how they interact. SimIsle, developed for Maxis by the British company Intelligent Games, isn’t simply a new location: it’s also a new set of ideas to experiment with. And one of the most critical this time is your interaction with the environment.

You’re the manager of the development on a rainforest island, somewhere out in a cluster in the Pacific Ocean. In this self-contained setting, you can see how nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything has a background, and everything comes with a cost – transportation budget for trucks, boats, and planes moving people and supplies; maintenance costs for the structures you build; and salaries for your staff who keep the development running. The costs aren’t limited to money. You’ve basically invaded an island, and your actions will leave scars on its ecology and culture. » Read more about SimIsle: Missions In The Rainforest

Video Cube: Space Puzzle category

Title screen from Video Cube: Space

If MTV designed a puzzle game at the height of their popularity, it would look like Video Cube: Space. They both think there’s nothing more hip and sexy than the open-ended idea of video. The cube in Video Cube is a collage of images stacked together, like a wall of televisions you might find at a club or a mall in the 80s.

Video Cube was developed by Aris Multimedia Entertainment, a company that, based on the list of products they included with Video Cube, had up to that point mainly sold CD-ROMs of stock videos. It’s unclear if they were actually successful. (I’m guessing not.) But when the game came out in 1994, watching a video on your computer was a new concept, exciting enough that a company like Aris could try to sell CDs of video clips. It was an amazing feature at the time, and combined with a trendy interest in pop-art video, that’s the best reason I can imagine why Video Cube exists. » Read more about Video Cube: Space