A video game Christmas miracle made its debut yesterday on The Video Game History Foundation blog. The NES version of SimCity has been completely digitized and preserved by The Video Game History Foundation thanks to two copies of internal builds being discovered in 2017. The Video Game History Foundation has published a blog post detailing the prototype and the history of this long-lost version.
The blog post is richly detailed and provides a history of not only the prototype achieved, but the historical relationship between Nintendo and Maxis to bring the console port of SimCity to life. SimCity creator Will Wright and the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto came together to turn a PC simulation sandbox into a more friendly, game-ified version for Nintendo home consoles.
The Video Game History Foundation also provides an in-depth comparison between the NES and SNES versions of SimCity. The two are nearly identical from a gameplay perspective, while they differ graphically due to the difference in the two systems’ power. The NES version even has some features that never made it over to the SNES version of the game, including a “very EarthBound-like feature” where you are given an opportunity to name your sister city in an indirect way.
There is plenty of crispy 1440p60 footage of the long-lost prototype on The Video Game History Foundation’s YouTube channel. They foundation preserved unused sprite animations found on the cartridge, the NES version’s tradeshow debut in at CES in 1991, and an infinite money glitch found in the game. You may watch the highlight reel of gameplay below.
Overall, this is a rad moment for the history and preservation of video games. To read the whole history and really soak in the coolness of this prototype, make sure to read the full blog post over on The Video Game History Foundation’s website. They have even provided a link to download the ROM of SimCity for the NES, along with other images and documentation.
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