Monday, August 30, 2010

Furious edge-of-your-seat bus route scheduling ACTION!

Paradox Interactive has announced that it will be publishing developer Colossal Order's game Cities in Motion, billed as the "ultimate public transport simulator." Player's are put in charge of running a mass transit company with scenarios based on the cities Vienna, Helsinki, Berlin, and Amsterdam and a time frame spanning 1920 to 2020. This sort of thing is right up my alley, and I definitely like what I see so far.

The subject matter may be mundane to some, but I'm a a lifelong resident of Illinois. When you live in a state where the two consecutive governors preceding the current office holder are now both convicted felons, several streets in yout area have had half of their lanes closed for "repairs" since President Taft was in the White House, and every news story that references roads invariably includes some combination of the words "scandal," "extortion," "bribe," "racketeering," "federal grand jury," and/or "will neither confirm or deny allegations of ordering Chicago Outfit assassins to conceal the alderman's severed head in the Governor's Mansion," the very concept of well-run transport infrastructure is strange and exotic.

This sort of game is probably the biggest reason I remain interested in PC games despite generally preferring consoles. The reactions of gamers to this sort of niche strategy game tend be split them into into two pretty sharply defined camps, in my experience: Those who find the prospect of spending hour after hour designing subway systems in a simulated 1950s Finland utterly fascinating, like yours truly, and those who have already started to nod off from sheer boredom just reading the words "designing subway systems" and would be in danger of slipping into a coma if they suffered extended exposure to the actual game.

Sadly, as has been demonstrarted by the commercial failure of games like 2009 multiplatform title Call of Duty: Postwar Highway Reconstruction and the PS3's critically acclaimed but financially disastrous recent entry to the Shin Megami Tensei series, Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha Vs. The Transport Workers Union of America, one of these groups is not large enough to provide the sort of sales needed to support console development costs. So it's definitely nice to have the PC for niche titles like this.

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