Computer Games

Sim City 3000

Sim City LogoThe Sim City suite of games is a fun simulation game that requires a lot of time and patience. The first Sim game I got was Sim Tower, followed by Sim City 2000 and then Sim City 3000. I haven't had any experience with Sim City 4 yet. Sim City is a game of strategy that gives you a macro view of a simulated city and tests your decision making skills by making you in charge of every little aspect of the city. You may encounter things just as you would in real life. Every decision you make has a snowball affect on other areas of the city. There are all type of indicators that you must be aware of at all times to ensure that your city doesn't lose it's efficiency. They should mandate a game like this for any incoming mayor just to see where his or her priorities are at. According to a summary, There were many changes between SimCity 3000 and its immediate predecessor SimCity 2000 (SC2K). These changes spanned both the integral city management aspects of the game, as well as its graphical and landscape aspects. These changes gave the game a feel greatly different from that of SC2K. In a pattern which has continued throughout the SimCity franchise, the number and complexity of city services increased between SC2K and SC3K, and the graphics quality was greatly improved as well. The most notable change was the addition of the concept of waste management. In SC3K, once a city has a population greater than 1,000, garbage begins to accumulate, and must be disposed of at the expense of the city.Eiffel Tower Farms and agricultural structures were also introduced, appearing on large light industrial zones in a city with low land value and little pollution. A new zoning density was also added, totalling three densities, compared to SC2K's two. In addition to their limited life span, power plants were also made vulnerable to decreasing maximum output due to age. Although the concept of neighbor cities was introduced in SC2K, it was greatly expanded upon in SC3K. For the first time, the player was able interact with his or her neighbor cities, negotiating rudimentary business deals with other mayors, such as the sale or purchase of water, electricity or waste management services. These generate a monthly charge which is either added to or subtracted from the player's treasury, in accordance with the deal. Canceling a neighbor deal would incur a substantial cash penalty. Although not strictly a city management aspect, SimCity 3000 simulates the effect of land value on construction much more realistically than in SimCity 2000. In SC3K, land value creates very distinct neighborhoods which tend to contain narrow income bands, creating well-defined slums, middle class areas, and wealthy areas. Land value is also determined by the city center effect where buildings that are at the city center have higher land values and those buildings on the borders have lower land values. Business deals were another new concept to SC3K; by allowing certain structures (a maximum security prison, casino, toxic waste conversion plant) and Gigamall (a large shopping mall) to be built within the city, the player can receive a substantial amount of funds from them. Business deal structures, however, have serious negative effects on a city. There were several changes to the graphical interface in SC3K. Although the game retained the pseudo-isometric dimetric perspective of its predecessor, the actual landscape became more complex and colorful. In SimCity and SC2K, the playable landscape is mostly brown, while in SC3K, the playable landscape is a more realistic green color, along with other colors that progressively change by height, from beige (beach sand) to green to brown (bare ground) to white (snow). In SC2K, land could either be flat or sloped, and all slopes were of the same steepness. In SC3K, there are five distinct steepness of slope, creating more varied landscapes. Also, there are different types of trees which can appear on the playable map. However, the navigation through the map is rather difficult compared to other video games like RollerCoaster Tycoon 3.

DreamQuest Championship Spades

DreamQuest SpadesAccording to the DreamQuest Games website, DreamQuest software produces award-winning casual Card and Board Games such as Hearts, Spades, Chess and Checkers for Windows PCs, Palm, and Windows Mobile hand-held smart phones. DreamQuest Software's "Championship" series of games are highly regarded for the strength of their design, friendly characters, and their ability to teach with a personal in-game coach. I like to play the DreamQuest suite of card games mostly because they are free unless you upgrade to the Championship version. In addition to Spades, I play 500, Rummy, and Solitaire. I think the graphics are adequate and there are decent customizable options.

Chess Titans

Chess TitansChess Titans is a game that is usually bundled with other games on many Windows Vista and Windows 7 equipped computers. It is a no frills chess game that enables you to test your skills against the computer's brain. It also has a 2 player mode. The graphics are nice with many several different options to customize the style of the board as well as the pieces. The most important option allows you to set the level of difficulty. Here is a You Tube link to a person beating Chess Titan's highest level of difficulty.