Maxis “Educational Version” Software

Friday, March 18th, 2011

...educational versions are available...

I remember seeing the above notice at the beginning of Maxis Software Toys catalogs starting around 1993. I always wondered what it meant by “educational versions” since the product entry in the catalog only showed the regular retail box and the ordering section only gave a phone number to call for more info. But as you can see from the catalog scan below, there’s that little sign signifying the availability of a special version of SimCity Classic for education.

Summer 1994 Maxis Catalog - SimCity Classic

I later found out that it was basically a teaching curriculum that was available at an appropriately-increased cost to either individuals or teaching institutions around the world. Basically, it was SimCity (or SimAnt, SimFarm, SimEarth whatever) but with a bulk install license and a bunch of extra teaching aids included. Sounds pretty cool to a Maxis collector but also quite tough to find, being that it wasn’t sold in stores, cost more, and was likely owned by schools.

However, I found someone selling these online recently:

SimAnt Educational Version
SimCity Classic Educational Version

Yeah, upon further inquiry, these are the educational versions of both SimAnt and SimCity Classic! They come in somewhat unassuming binders, which is typical of many curricula. They’re labeled “Maxis Software Toys – that teach!” Someone else got to SimAnt before me (dang it) but I’m in the process of acquiring SimCity Classic. I also have some other photos which show a bit of the contents, and it looks totally rad. Lots of extra paperwork, worksheets, and various teaching aids consisting of background on the game and its subject matter. Can’t wait to get my hands on one of these and solve one more Maxis mystery…

…what exactly is contained in these “educational versions”? Follow-up is to be expected in the coming weeks. Now that I know exactly what I’m looking for I’ll be keeping any eye out for any other titles in this genre. Hooray for unexplored territory!

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One comment on “Maxis “Educational Version” Software

  1. Myth says:

    As a related anecdote, I participated in a SimCity class when I was around 7 or 8. My school gave out these summer program pamphlets and encouraged us to take at least one class. As I was heavily into video games, the SimCity class was the only thing I had interest in.

    The class met for a few months during the summer on Saturday mornings at either the local community college or high school (don’t remember which, sorry!). I was one of the younger kids there, so my memory of the class is a little hazy. We learned the basics of the game, such as how to lay zones out, essentials of the city and more in addition to (very rudimentary) city planning theory.

    I don’t really remember doing any worksheets, but I think we were loosely evaluated based on a general assessment of our city. The instructor would go around, check out our yearly reports, then make suggestions on how we can improve our cities. I had dabbled with SimCity and SimAnt on the SNES when I was around 4 or 5, so I had a general idea of what I was doing. The class did, however, help out quite a bit in explaining the finer points of SimCity. In fact, I attribute this class with my childhood fascination with all things Maxis related, culminating with my obsession with The Sims in 5th and 6th grade.

    At the end of the class, each of us were given a final evaluation, and might have been able to save our cities to a floppy disc. We also received certificates certifying us in SimCity. I remember seeing mine a few years ago buried in a stack of my parents’ documents, but didn’t think to retrieve it.

    I had always thought this was just a one-off thing put together by some teacher to give kids an excuse to play a game in a class. Very cool to know that this was an actual program developed by Maxis! 🙂

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