Even though gaming has advanced rapidly over the course of nearly half a century, there are still a lot of nuggets of history that are being discovered in some of the oddest places. One such occurrence includes the discovery of an NES version of SimCity that no one knew existed.
Kotaku is reporting that video game historians managed to get their hands on the super rare version of SimCity for the discontinued NES. Yes, there was a version of the game made for the 8-bit system. In fact, according to the blog entry over on the Game History website, there’s a rundown of how it managed across one of the two known cartridges of SimCity on the original Nintendo Entertainment System after encountering the cart at a local used game shop in Seattle.
The game was originally supposed to release alongside a 16-bit version of the game on the SNES, which did actually come out. It was a bit cumbersome to play on the SNES way back in the day with a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to play the NES version of the game with that square pad and the stiff digital pad.
The historians managed to get their hands on a cart and dump the ROM for history purposes. The design of the game was actually built through the collaboration of two superstars from the video game development world.
The duo worked on the game for about a week in Kyoto, Japan, where certain features were made to be more console-friendly for the NES, moving it away from the computer-centric roots and making it more palatable for console gamers.
There’s actually some gameplay footage of the NES version in action, which was supposed to be come out alongside the SNES version back in 1991, but it never materialized outside of the prototype carts that found their way into the possession of collectors. You can check out the video below from the Game Historians.
It condenses several hours worth of gameplay into just four and a half minutes. There’s a glitch that allows you to unlock nearly infinite amounts of money, and the UI is designed with a simple block-like setup that seems like a flat 2D version of the way things are built in games like Minecraft.
Miyamoto contributed a few ideas to the project to make the game feel more fun and progressive, such as giving players presents for every milestone achievement. The NES version also introduced more recreational and fun buildings and structures, such as theme parks and zoos, which would later become their very own games and help pave the way for the very popular The Sims franchise, which has become one of Electronic Arts‘ biggest properties. It’s amazing that many of those ideas got their roots in a version of SimCity that never officially released on the NES.