Unboxing the hidden politics of SimCity

The SimCity series has achieved the universal success few games do, with a veneer of realism that draws gaming and non-gaming fans alike. But just what is SimCity’s model based on? And what politics are hidden inside the black box driving the simulation?

0:00 SimCity: The educational game with a hidden ideology
0:19 Inside the black box
5:20 SimCity and politics
6:16 REGRETTABLY, RUDY GUILIANI
6:57 SimCity in the classroom
8:29 MAGNASANTI
10:00 City algorithms and impact

Subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Follow us on Instagram:
And for more gaming and entertainment coverage, visit www.polygon.com

#SimCity #CitiesSkylines #CityPlanning

We created the sport of the future | Unraveled
We created the sport of the future | Unraveled

With 2020's shutdown of sports, Brian David Gilbert and Secret Base's Kofie Yeboah teamed up to corner the market with Read more

Ferran ADOPTS a SPOILED KID in Roblox Brookhaven | Royalty Gaming
Ferran ADOPTS a SPOILED KID in Roblox Brookhaven | Royalty Gaming

Ferran ADOPTS a SPOILED KID in Roblox Brookhaven! | Royalty Gaming 𝐒𝐔𝐁𝐒𝐂𝐑𝐈𝐁𝐄 HERE 👉 𝐒𝐔𝐁𝐒𝐂𝐑𝐈𝐁𝐄 To Family Channel 👉 #Ferran Read more

NEW SEASON 6 BATTLE PASS in FORTNITE SO EPIC | Royalty Gaming
NEW SEASON 6 BATTLE PASS in FORTNITE SO EPIC | Royalty Gaming

NEW *SEASON 6* BATTLE PASS in FORTNITE! (SO EPIC) | Royalty Gaming 𝐒𝐔𝐁𝐒𝐂𝐑𝐈𝐁𝐄 HERE 👉 𝐒𝐔𝐁𝐒𝐂𝐑𝐈𝐁𝐄 To Family Channel 👉 Read more

NEW LEGENDARY SPRING PETS New Roblox Overlook Bay Pets
NEW LEGENDARY SPRING PETS New Roblox Overlook Bay Pets

✨ USE CODE "MEGANPLAYS" when buying Robux! ♡ Don't forget to subscribe for me + leave a comment, I read Read more

20 comments

  1. This was a *dense* subject for a video, so if you’d like to know more, check out the companion article on Polygon.com!

  2. I first played SimCity in my 6th-grade computer classroom in the 90s. It was installed only on one computer and the teacher told me not to tell anyone I found it.

  3. And there is that existential dread, that only a kurzgesagt video can give me – or so I thought. 5/7, great video!

  4. My town did the opposite for homeless people. A church thought they could get a larger congregation if they bused in homeless people. They didn’t succeed, but we did get more homeless people in a town that’s inhospitable to people living outside in the winter.

  5. Polygon’s content is hilarious and informative, but it’s vids like this that make it _outstanding_

  6. Your politics seem to be getting in the way of objectivity here. You present System Dynamics as obviously wrong because it comes to conclusions you don’t like, but you did not say whether it has been shown to be accurate or not.

  7. SimCity 4 was probably my favorite game growing up in 2004. It was probably one of the precursors that eventually encouraged me to pursue civil engineering. I recently got back into it in December 2019, on my computer and I fell back in love with the game of my childhood.

    After racking up over a 1000 hours in less than a year, playing U Drive It missions I never knew existed and watching in wonderment seeing my cities grow increasingly larger and taller, I realized that I had a problem. In order to keep my citizens’ Environment, Safety, Education, Health, etc. opinion bars fully green, I always seem to go into the red, and get yelled at by my financial advisor. Keeping the city clean, energized, hydrated, and mobile-accessible became increasingly difficult and I had to resort to stealing tanks from my army base and completing missions from Dr. Vu to stay afloat, at the expense of my mayoral reputation. I suffered these same problems when I was 8, taking out max loans without realizing what interest was, resorting to cheats, and eventually losing the game as my population all collectively moved out. Now that I’m older, I can see connections to real cities, municipalities, and their management and governance from my experience in the game. I see so many glaring problems in society, from healthcare, wealth and education inequality to pothole laden roads, and it seems like the main reason these issues are not fully mitigated are either because the funds are unavailable, or solving them would cost more money than they can raise. Coming from Illinois, the fiscal crisis cannot be understated, but I believe we will persist without government intervention, unless people are depending on pensions.

    Thanks for making this video. For a while, I’ve thought that either I was playing the game wrong because my city was not earning enough income to sustain a stable population despite providing everything they wanted and needed or if the game was just designed that way. But as with many responsibilities, heavy is the head that wears the crown.

  8. Guys the graphics on these past few videos have been so good, especially in transitions to the interviews. Did Polygon hire new editors??

  9. 1:51 There are many readings on how social programs are bad for cities; try Thomas Sowell.