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New SimCity Set to Destroy Your Free Time on Facebook

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CITY ON THE GROW
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“You imagine it and a city will rise. You connect it and worlds come together. But when the world pushes back, how will you respond?”

The trailer for the much-anticipated SimCity reboot, complete with explosions and godzilla-like attacks, looks more like a preview for a disaster movie than a video game.

Computer game developer and Electronic Arts (EA) subsidiary Maxis is about to give would-be urban planners, engineers, and elected officials their most elaborate practice tool to date. This latest installment in the SimCity franchise is slated for release for Windows (MSFT) and possibly Mac (AAPL) on February 13, just in time for the gamer on your Valentine’s Day list.

The fully 3D update is a world away from its late 1980s “microcropolis” origins with Tandi graphics and hi-resolution monochrome on the Commodore 64. Powered by a new Glassbox simulation engine, SimCity takes real-life up a notch in all aspects of gameplay -- from its thousands of citizens (or agents) independently going about daily life and clogging up roads on their way to work to getting laid off from their jobs to being forced into the hospital because of the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere coming from the coal power plants.

There will be no more graphing out catastrophes on spreadsheets. During the game, all crises will unfold in real-time and require an immediate response. “Effects and animation are tied directly into simulation rules,” said SimCity Gameplay Lead Dan Moskowitz. “So what you see is always a one-to-one representation of what the simulation is doing.”

For fans who don’t want to wait until next year to play the game on their PCs, EA and Maxis are also releasing a version later this month for Facebook (FB). As if Zynga (ZNGA) didn’t need any more bad news on the heels of its plumeting stock price, SimCity Social will likely blow FarmVille and CityVille out of the social gameplay water with a slew of new features.

"I think what we've done is really similar to what we did with Sims Social which is we've really captured the essence of SimCity,” Lucy Bradshaw Senior Vice President of Maxis told T3. “We've brought in all of these quirky unexpected events that are kinda a hallmark of the franchise and reinterpreted it as something that is really delightful, surprising, fun and expressive.”

Check out the amazing new trailer below:

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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