Nintendo Got SimCity’s Rights in a Cinematic Way!

The book SimCity: How to Put the World in a Machine, published by MIT Press and written by Chaim Gingold, told the story not only of Maxis and The Sims, but also of another franchise.


SimCity was released for the SNES (it was also planned for the NES, but that port was canceled and has since been preserved and available for download), and the whole story began back in 1989. Jeff Braun, co-founder of Maxis, received a call from Nintendo. Shigeru Miyamoto wanted SimCity to be on the Japanese company’s console because he wanted a game where they could create their own world, and after discovering SimCity, he wanted to “put his own stamp on it”.

The next day, Braun hopped on a plane to Redmond, Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters. There he met with Howard Lincoln and Minoru Arakwava, Nintendo of America’s chairman and president, respectively. Lincoln’s offer was that the big N would handle the port, Maxis would get a royalty of $1 per cartridge, and if Braun was there to sign the contract right away, he would hand Braun a check for $1 million ($2.5 million in today’s value). Braun agreed, and a few months later he and SimCity designer Will Wright flew to Kyoto, where Nintendo treated them like family. A photo of the Miyamoto-Braun-Wright trio was taken in the Japanese city.

Wright spent a week working with Miyamoto on ideas for a console version of SimCity, and in the evenings Miyamoto took them out for a night on the town, even playing pachinko one night. It was during this meeting that the green-haired character Dr. Wright was born, who acts as a consultant in the game’s port. According to Gingold, this was Nintendo’s way of paying tribute to Will Wright, and that’s why Dr. Wright was funny but whimsical, because Will was a developer with a lot of knowledge but a penchant for the absurd. Dr. Wright would go on to appear in two Zelda games, as well as Super Smash Bros.

Gingold told PCGamer that 1993’s SimCity 2000 must have been inspired by Wright and Braun’s experiences with Nintendo and Miyamoto. Wright was essentially just starting out in his career (he was 29 in 1989), and Miyamoto was something of an apprentice (the Japanese developer was in his late 30s)…

Source: PCGamer

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Anikó, our news editor and communication manager, is more interested in the business side of the gaming industry. She worked at banks, and she has a vast knowledge of business life. Still, she likes puzzle and story-oriented games, like Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, which is her favourite title. She also played The Sims 3, but after accidentally killing a whole sim family, swore not to play it again. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our IMPRESSUM)

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