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What do SimCity Societies and Second Life have in common?

Tateru Nino
12.25.07
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Over on Computeractive.co.uk, Anthony Dhanendran has a capsule review of SimCity Societies, where he calls Simcity Societies "the game's answer to virtual worlds such as Second Life."

You might wonder just how deep the similarities go. We've played SimCity Societies, even though it isn't actually an MMO of any description, and - of course - we're all over Second Life. So, what does Dhanendran base his comparison on, and is it really valid?

"In the Second Life vein, the buildings are all customisable, so players can make the city look like they want," says Dhanendran - and that seems to be about it.

Actually the similarities between SimCity Societies and Second Life are easily and immediately apparent. Firstly, they both begin with same letter (that's the letter 'S' for those of you not paying attention). Second? There really isn't a second. The similarities end there.

The SimCity franchise has, of course, always been about making functional cities, and SimCity Societies blurs that boundary by putting more direct control of buildings in your hands rather than just zoning. It's fun and feels a bit like a combination board-game and card-game in various ways. It certainly has a lot of the feel I associate with the board-games that were around in the heyday of Avalon Hill, SPI, Chaosium and Games Workshop.

Second Life on the other hand, is a global communications platform and content creation/publishing system that represents itself as a virtual space as a metaphor to simplify more complex underlying mechanics of assets and network communications, and just plain doesn't have much of anything to do with the foci in SimCity Societies.

Thumbs up to Tilted Mill, who make interesting and creative games. As for Dhanendran's Second Life references, they seem both impossibly spurious, and misleading to anyone familiar with the virtual world. We can't even figure out why they're there - it seems an embarrassing sort of mistake to make.

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