HISP 209 SimCity Paper

Due Date

Thursday March 17, at the beginning of class.


3-5 pages, double-spaced. Be concise where possible.


This is a two-part assignment. First, you will complete at least three hours’ playing time creating a city in the game SimCity4.

Your city will be assessed regarding its design, size, and functionality (budget balancing, approval ratings, levels of service to residents, etc.) The city is required as a part of this assignment, but will not count directly towards your grade. Please include a screenshot of your city in your paper.

Second, you will write a paper analyzing SimCity, in particular compared to the real-world aspects of urban planning. You will start this paper by briefly describing the SimCity gameplay, with particular attention paid to the challenges of the game as well as any surprises you encountered while playing. (one paragraph)

Next, you will compare the SimCity game to the practice of planning: how does SimCity function in a similar way to planning? How is it different? This second section should be the main section of your paper. Make sure to address planning processes, relevant regulations/limitations, power structure, etc.

You will conclude your paper by discussing how the game could be more realistic, and the impact this could have on gameplay. (one paragraph)


This assignment is an exercise in observation and comparison. You will be assessed on (1) your accurate and analytical description of SimCity, (2) your critical comparison of the game with actual urban planning, and (3) your organization of the paper in a coherent, clear manner. Please note: grammar, spelling, and style are important. Errors and lack of clarity will be penalized. You are encouraged to use the Writing Center to make sure your paper is well written.


In addition to double-spacing, please use a reasonable 12-point font (Times, Arial, etc.) and one-inch margins on all sides. In an effort to protect the environment, this assignment will be paperless.

The file should be sent to alsmith@umw.edu as a PDF attachment, titled LastNameFirstInitial-SimCity.pdf (for instance, SmithA-SimCity.pdf) or uploaded to this site with the link below.


To PDF a document, you can follow these instructions for Mac and for PC. You can also convert to PDF free online.

You are encouraged to use primary and secondary sources to support the arguments in your paper. If using such sources, be sure to provide a formatted list of references (in APA or Chicago Style format).