SimCity Terrain Editor – Original!

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Random geek-out alert! Consider me absolutely psyched. PSYCHED. While searching for other things entirely, I happened to run across a seller on eBay who had this for sale, which I immediately bought for only a couple bucks:

Yes, that is the original Terrain Editor utility for the original Sim City. Now, if you’re not into Maxis collecting, you’re probably going “what’s the big deal?”

Well, allow me to tell you a little story regarding Maxis and SimCity history. It all began with SimCity’s phenomenal success. There were two expansions released at retail for the game: SimCity Graphics Set 1: Ancient Cities and SimCity Graphics Set 2: Future Cities. These were graphics packs that didn’t really change gameplay, but they gave you alternative textures to use in the game which allowed for cities that appeared to be on The Moon or in Medieval times. They were sold in stores around the world and came in either LP-like cardboard sleeves or small boxes about one inch thick.

But before these was the SimCity Terrain Editor in 1989. It allowed you to actually edit all of the terrain of new or existing cities, as well as change the in-game year and some other cool things. This was never sold at retail in America, to my knowledge. In Europe it got a small box release like the graphics sets and base game (all released by Infogrames) but in America you had to mail-order it directly from Maxis in Orinda, California (later Walnut Creek). This is according to articles and Maxis magazines, ads and flyers from back in the day. As such, you don’t see it in its original form very often at all.

Thing is, you will probably find a version of the Terrain Editor on eBay on any given day. But here’s the catch: the Terrain Editor, while never getting a standalone retail release, later came as a pack-in with SimCity Classic in 1994. SimCity Classic came with a separate Terrain Editor disk and manual, but both were slightly different than the original direct-order release from 1989. Usually the disk was marked with a later year, the manual always had the addition “…for SimCity Classic” or something like that on the front, had the later “Crescent” Maxis logo instead of the original yellow circle thing, and every version I have seen came on a single 3.5″ floppy disk. People often sold the Terrain Editor from that release separately from that point onward. The set I just bought doesn’t appear to be one of those whatsoever!

I have been actively looking for an original SimCity Terrain Editor release for 6 years now. I have probably half a dozen versions of the thing, but this is the first time I’ve seen a 5.25″ inch version and it’s certainly the first one with the manual that completely lacks any reference to SimCity Classic. Hopefully, this is the one. I’ve also heard of one having a white cardboard sleeve with blue lettering on the front of it, so I’ll still keep an eye out, but whatever. I’m friggin’ thrilled with this! (EDIT: I’ve since found the “blue manual” version!)

Oh and this week’s review is coming along nicely. Well if you consider scattered, random and a bit awkward to be “nice”!


One comment on “SimCity Terrain Editor – Original!

  1. John says:

    Pretty friggin’ awesome indeed!

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