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What does that "3000" mean, anyway?

By Wren Weburg
10/10/98

Three is an odd number. Literally. But it's especially odd when it appears in the "3000" of Maxis' next SimCity title, SimCity 3000. After all, has anyone taken the time to figure out just what that "3" stands for? Believe it or not, yes. And more often than you might think.

Yeah, I got your 3000 right here!First of all, everyone loves sequels. From Hollywood movies to Nintendo games, sequels are abundant. After Lethal Weapon came Lethal Weapon 2. Then Lethal Weapon 3. The same thing goes for Star Trek and countless other movies. And has anyone kept track of the Super Mario Brothers games? Last time I checked, they were on the three-millionth installment. The trend in each case is, of course, to simply increment the number that appears behind the original title's name. But with the SimCity series, such a trend isn't as clearly defined, if at all.

"The '3000' in SimCity 3000 refers to the game being the third generation in the SimCity line."
After SimCity came SimCity 2000. This we can follow: with a cute little spaceship on the front of the game box, it was painfully obvious that the 2000 referred to the year 2000. It made sense: it would only be natural to have the simulator simulate cities beyond the 20th century--to pick up where SimCity Classic left off. Once the game starts simulating years beyond 2000, you start to get new technologies such as fusion power and arcologies (self-contained "cities-in-a-bottle"). However, once you get beyond the year 2050, nothing really happens for the next several millenniums. Buildings look the same, technological achievements cease, and the city appears to age slower than Dick Clark. Could this be what the "3000" in SimCity 3000 stands for? Does it mean this sequel will simulate the 22nd century? Hardly.

"The '3000' in SimCity 3000 refers to the game being the third generation in the SimCity line. The buildings, people, vehicles and other props in SimCity 3000 look like those of a typical modern city." Or so said the original FAQ put out by Maxis. But how does "3000" signify "third generation"? Wouldn't it signify a much higher generation? Or a lower one? And what about SimCity? Why wasn't it called SimCity 1000? This just doesn't fit.

As far as using model years to represent different versions of a product, whether it be a car or operating system ('57 Chevy, Windows 95), the system is pretty straightforward. Append the model year at the end of the title (or prefix it as the case may be), and you have a product that screams cutting edge and promises to be up to snuff. Not too long from now, Microsoft will unleash Office 2000. Either they're skipping Office 99 or they aren't too optimistic about the product's release date. Nonetheless, expect Office 2001 to replace it a year later. Or maybe even Office 2002. But Office 3000? No way.

All these questions lead to one conclusion: there aren't going to be any straightforward answers. The game is titled "SimCity 3000" because that's what all the SimCity fans started calling it way back when. That's got to be it. And who cares if it isn't? This Webmaster is merely trying to pass the time in hopes that the game will actually make it out the door this fall. I mean, let's face it. Waiting for a game with a "3000" in its title takes an awful lot of patience.

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