Let's Play Cities: Skylines - Episode One
Video games are a fabulous gateway to the deepest, darkest depths of the human psyche. If modern shooters cause mass murder, Pokemon causes animal abuse, and RPGs cause Satan, then I should be able to say SimCity causes proper planning and ergonomic management solutions! I’ll be goddamned if any prepubescent know-it-alls are going to one-up the civil engineering skills I read off a pamphlet at a truck stop.
Now, I’m not much for city management games (mostly because I find it hard to subject my people to the cruel realities of a dystopian nightmare with mile-high tax rates and no personal liberty), but today we’re making an attempt to create an ideologically-driven Communist regime in the insanely popular hit Cities Skylines (CiSky)!
Lady and gentlemen, for the first time in TCS history, I am going to be in charge of something!
So fucking pay attention.
Pt. 1 - Too Much Power
In real life, they’ll give anyone money to do incredibly shit-sauced stuff like flying to Mars and boob jobs, but in the video game world for some reason, your invisible benefactor demands a return on their investment.
“Sweet buttery biscuits!” I say, walking out of the World Bank office holding a fat stack of twenties, wiping my knife off, and hoping the IRS was too scared to follow my paper trail. You see, when founding a city, the first thing you have to worry about is how you’re going to manage your money. Obviously this would be a problem, but CiSky actually gives you adequate resources to micromanage funds. I would otherwise be great at this, but I’m not a nerd and we’re sitting on a field of oil.
Seriously, look at this sweet black gold flowing in the veins of my next victim, Mother Earth. Of course I’m no enemy to sustainability, so we’ll let the poor have farms, and the even poorer can work on them. It will be a cycle of indignation and bootlicking, but I’ll be six feet under before those pesky capitalists prove they’re better than me!
Pt. $ - The Origins of Little North Korea
“Wow, that’s insensitive,” a thousand tiny voices erupt from outside my window.
Hey, at least we’re the little version, mostly because this game won’t even let me have nukes. The best I can do is build enough factories to poison the ground and raise global emissions.
Look at that flawless city planning. It gives me chills. The power plant is close enough to the residential housing that its residual heat will keep people comfortable and alert! The industrial district systematically leaks irritants into the air so the people can build up an immunity. In 65 million years I’ll have an army of super mutants capable of walking the ocean floor undetected by meddling capitalist submarines.
Alright, the time of frivolity is over. I can’t afford pavement more than the next guy, so let’s bring on the more practical solution.
Well it looks like dirt, and I’m convinced that’s what it is despite being labeled “gravel” in the game’s menu. Stop ruining my immersion, you global imperialists.
We can’t forget this awful shite, of course. If I’m going to have a proper communist regime, I need complete control of the media!
What’s that? “They’re in a burger shack, you nincompoop,” you say fruitlessly as I chain you in a cellar beneath my garage.
“‘Burger shack’,” I say. “Right....” ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)
Pt. Nyeah - From the Ground Up
What a beautiful sight. Remember those hot taxes I was talking about earlier? Well don’t wet yourself, but I shifted all of the taxes and funding to the max and could only help but wonder how Canada does it. They only let you tax up to a certain point, 29%, and beyond that you can kiss communism goodbye.
Alright! We’ll be like China then!
If you know how to read this, congratulations! You’re not a politician in America!
Turns out if you max out the taxes, people don’t pay; they just move away. I’ve already taken out one loan for 20,000, which is a very helpful resource the game just gives you, but every time you take out a loan, they put you on a payment plan which ups your expenditure. Yes, I read an economics pamphlet while playing this game because I decided we need to go full force in our political endeavors.
I haven’t checked my credit in awhile, so the best I can hope for is... wait, did that say 60,000 Fictional Monies?! Hot damn, that’s a kilo of heroin if I talk to the right people!
“666, Great Leader Drive,” I say to the Burger Shack employee’s underdeveloped, pubescent processing system. He hangs up on me, slamming the phone probably. “Being rude is quite alright. It’s just one more for the mines.” I laugh maniacally with my indentured servants.
There it is. Great Leader Drive. It’s closed off from the rest of the city because you have to mount the highway and go all the way around the map to get anywhere. I didn’t notice this until later, which is hilarious considering it literally takes the firetrucks and ambulances several days to get to the main city.
Don’t mind the lack of sewage removal over here. There’s an elementary school and a park, and when my ‘special package’ arrives those kids will completely forget the smell of exposed pipelines and excessive trash.
Pictured: hot taxes
Pt. 6 - The Endless Boundaries of Freedom
The best part of simulation games is naming the shit you create.
The only fun I’ll ever have with Civ V...
The only fun I’ll ever have with TF2...
Okay, I didn’t even name that one!
That’s one thing that stands out about CiSky. You can follow each individual person in your city until they die from chemical fires or boredom, but the best part is being able to rename them, their dog, their car, and their house to the most obscene, hair-raising abominations you can think of.
Haha, that fucker will never know.
You can also declare and name districts, giving people the amount of freedom they deserve, or the amount of punishment they need. Of course, my people need the most punishment for being born with free thought, so they aren’t allowed to smoke or have pets.
This is the Smile Farm District. They can’t be unhappy or else, so naturally I put all the cool shit there. They can smoke drugs while looking at their electrical meter! It’s crazy over here and they love the freedom of social aristocracy! If only all my citizens had been born perfect.
Huh, I don’t remember naming that...
Part 7 - Abandon All Hope: A City in Fear
I think there’s a group of radical capitalists planted in my midst, helping people hop the border while my fat and stupid guards watch Netflix.
“Hey, guys!” I call across all frequencies. “Did the rotting house not tip anyone off that we’re losing citizens?!”
I hear the subtle decimation of potato crisps in the background. Someone has leaned on their walkie-talkie. My voice must be muted through six inches of dullard flesh and a wool outfit from 1940s Latvia. Oh well, it’s only one house...
What the fuck!? This is total anarchy! “Hey, fiddlesticks, your dick is running away!”
Suddenly a crash erupts from the radio, an ear-biting screech and the sound of wooden chair legs clacking onto a concrete floor.
“Duh, whudyu say, bawss?” I’m sickened by this Looney Tunes caricature of a man. His voice reminds me of killing myself.
“Listen here, you filthy plebeian! I don’t pay you in illegal narcotics and anime just so you can let my people escape!” I'm furious. He’s too stupid to be a capitalist agent... wait, maybe not.
“Okay, bawss, I’ll go get dem!” He leaves the radio on and I hear him plop away. The familiar metal clank of a crowbar can be heard. We really need to rethink the hiring process.
I turn to my computer, my face flush with anger, and my heart beating from the adrenaline rush of owning a computer. Reddit: check. Facebook: nothing new. I open my e-mail expecting spam and hate mail, but there’s a message titled “World Bank Offices”.
“What the fuck?” I say aloud. “What could they possibly want?”
Sweet mother of Jesus, the vultures are circling! Those Nazi capitalists are after my money, and dammit they mean business! It’s nice that they’re willing to offer me a bailout though, but I assume this e-mail was weeks in the making. My people are mutated and living in filth; you’d think the bank’s natural capitalist greed would kick in and milk me, but today they offer a loan. I accept, obviously. The worst that could happen is my city burns to the ground and I go back to work at Burger Shack in the next town over.
I look outside, my eyes glazing over at seeing a nearly empty elementary, the houses crumbling left and right, and ambulances working double shifts to cart the dead to the dump. What have I become? Insolence undermines me and no matter what I ban, the capitalist scum keep kidnapping my people.
“Wait...” I stand up, equipping my binoculars and looking outside. What’s that crowd? I pull the binocs up to my eyes and peer intently at a short, waddling man in front of peckish civilians. He’s wearing a tan uniform from which he withdraws a walkie-talkie, confused for a moment at its functionality.
I hear a voice crackling over a dying frequency. “Bawss, I found da people.”
By jove, he did! The thought of rubbing sweet marmalade all over my body tonight arouses me as the people begin to move into random houses.
“Good job, my mouse-faced plum factory! You’ve made my life so much easier. Take all the “burgers” you can hold and a free coupon for 50% off orthotics!”
He gives the coupon to a Burger Shack employee in exchange for real burgers.
The Conclusion of Episode One
Whew, that was a close one. If those people didn’t come back, I was afraid others would pass us off for real North Korea. The important thing to remember is if you show strength, stability, and act insane around other world leaders, the money, praise, and free workers come faster than a priest in a daycare. I just hope a group of anarchists doesn’t show up and ruin my fun.
Also, I’m pretty sure TCS HQ burned down.
Next Time in Episode Two!
Anarchists show up.
And those fuckers have a bounce house!
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• Is Incivility Necessary?
• Should the relief on Stone Mountain be destroyed?