So I had to take a brief break from Witcher 3. We are working a a lot, and playing Witcher is like jumping through a hole in reality. I get that way with Dragon Age 3 as well and then, bleary eyes, realize it’s midnight.
So in an effort to still have a couple of hours of unwind time at night after plugging away at the keyboard, I bought Cities: Skylines. Steam, an online retailer of computer games, was having a sale and I grabbed it super-cheap. I present to you Ilona’s attempt to run a city.
I began with laying out industrial area. An online tips site said to make sure you set the industrial area aside and connect it to the highway with one way roads, so the trucks entering the highway won’t cause traffic in your city. So, industrial area to the side, then a little area for retail where shops are, then a little area for the residential neighborhood. Everything looks super ugly, as if I built it on Soviet Union 5 year plan, because I lay out roads in square or rectangular grids, but okay. I can learn whimsical curved roads later.
I unpause my city. Everything is proceeding as scheduled for the first hour and I am slowly adding things: police stations, fire stations, schools…
Citizens: Our water is polluted.
Me: What? Oh. I might have built the sewage pump upstream of the water pumping station. Yeah, my bad. Let me fix that.
Citizens: More housing!
Me: More housing.
Citizens: Too much housing. Too much unemployment. More industry.
Me: More industry.
Citizens: Look, the industry is burning!
Me: It says I have complete fire house coverage. Weird.
Citizens: The factory has now burned down. Nice going. Oh look, another factory is on fire!
Me: What if I build the fire station on top of the industrial area. There. Happy now?
Citizens: Third factory is on fire.
Me: Why don’t you go and put out the fire? Oh. You have difficulties with one way roads. Let me make it bigger. There, I widened all the roads.
Citizens: You’re in debt. Also a dude in the apartment next to me is dead and no hearse came to pick him up. I can smell him. (The game actually says that.)
Me: I have a cemetery. Here I’ll take a loan and build another one.
Citizens: Still more dead bodies.
Citizens: More dead bodies.
Citizens: We now have an epidemic. Also factories are on fire again. And we need more housing.
Me: Okay, another loan, a big hospital built in the beginning of the epidemic area, another cemetery, move the fire station next to the damn fire…
Citizens: Hi, yeah, the public transit you built is awful.
Citizens: Well, you built only one bridge across the river and then you connected it to the highway on the other end. Now we are all using that highway entrance instead of the other one, so we are all backed up on the bridge.
Me: OMG, I’ve built Portland. Here is another bridge.
Citizens: We don’t like that bridge. We would rather sit in traffic on this one for hours. Also the factories are on fire.
Me: I will redo the roads. There. Now there is more incentive to use the other bridge.
Citizens: Hi, the trash dump is full. You should built an incinerator so we can burn all of our trash. Also build a crematorium so we can burn the dead.
Me: Wouldn’t that generate a ton of pollution? There is already this weird purple area on the ground around the industry…
Citizens: The factories are on fire.
Me: Damn it all! Here, I will put fire station at both ends of this stupid road…
Citizens: About that trash…
Me: Here’s the recycling plant and incinerator. Happy now?
Ten minutes later.
Citizens: Hi, I dug up a barrel of toxic goo in my back yard. (Again, the game actually says that.) Will nobody think of my children? And guess what?
Citizens: The factories are on fire.
Me, opening bulldozer window, bulldoze the city down: There. Everybody is happy now, right? Right?
Citizens: You should build more housing…
I will try again tonight. Because I must be a masochist. Also I happened to check the mods, the little add-ons that fans made for the game, and I found that someone made a KFC you can download and plop around in your city. They can’t complain if I flood them with fried chicken.