22 Year Old Student Beats Sim City 3000
Sim City exists in that pantheon of games many with childhoods in the early 1990's will remember. Alongside Oregon Trail, Sim City taught kids that life was inherently unfair and if you were in charge of a large-scale city you would most likely accidentally murder everyone inside.
No matter how well you planned, something was always going wrong. There was a certain futility to playing Sim City that is unmatched in other games. You can't "beat" Sim City.
Unless you're Vincent Ocasla.
The 22-year-old Filipino architecture student spent four years graphing out and planning, as well as implementing, the great city Magnasanti in Sim City 3000. Featuring what Ocasla claims is a layout for maximum efficiency, Magnasanti has 6 million residents.
Mike Sterry of Vice tracked down Ocasla to talk to him about the great undertaking, and you can read the fantastic interview over at the Vice website.
There is a sort of horror movie quality to Ocasla's video detailing the 2007-2009 construction period for his city. Maybe it's the fact that life expectancy in these cities was about fifty years because something has to give. Maybe it's because Ocasla will even admit that there's an economic slave concept to his Sims' existence, saying at one point:
The economic slave never realizes he is kept in a cage going round and round basically nowhere with millions of others...
People living in these cities give up a lot to live in a highly populous city, and certain sacrifices--from high life expectancy to the usage of fire stations--were given up so that the city could be big.
Ocasla ultimately considers Magnasanti an art project, and there is a reasonable comparison made to the film Koyaanisqatsi. With Magnasanti, Ocasla has a tool for artistic expression, to fully delve into the "unbelievably sick ambitions of egotistical political dictators, ruling elites and downright insane architects, urban planners, and social engineers." The whole thing can be seen as a commentary on the urban sprawl, the perfection of urban living that is so desired. And the sacrifices we make to implement it.
Ocasla ends his Vice interview by letting viewers know:
If anyone’s wondering, I am not autistic, or a savant, nor suffer from OCD, or suffer from any other form of clinical mental disease or illness for that matter...
Whatever compelled Ocasla to create such an intense creation as Magnasanti, it's a fascinating look at almost machine like precision and an interesting commentary on urban planning.