Powerful PC Games
We are all familiar with the satisfying feeling we get when we create something. That's why all of my favorite PC games allow me to build incredible worlds limited only by my imagination. Each of them comes with its own unique set of benefits and problems, which I cover below.
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Platinum
This game is the best version of the entire Tycoon franchise. Even though a newer version (RollerCoasterTycoon World) has been released, this game still allows a spectacular amount of customization, exploration, and expansion without taxing your computer's hardware beyond its limits. The best part? This games lets you actually ride the coasters and experience the entire game through the eyes of guests and animals!
Pros: This game has more than you could ever hope to actually use or explore. It has a robust set of tutorials, an excellent series of challenges, plenty of pre-built parks, a scenario editor, and a no-holds-barred sandbox mode.
Cons: After your park reaches a certain size, the game slows down significantly. This is to be expected, but there are few ways to delay the inevitable, except for keeping your parks within a reasonable size.
SimCity 4 Deluxe Rush Hour
This was the game that started it all--and, as usual, this is the best game in the entire Sim franchise. Instead of focusing just on entertainment, your role in this simulator is to manage an entire city's worth of transportation, housing, utilities, and emergencies! With so many things to keep your eyes on, you won't even notice that you can't experience life in the city from the same perspective as your citizens.
Pros: SimCity 4 benefits from a strong community of developers and fans who have created worlds of additional content for this game. You are not restricted to the in-game options, buildings, or transportation options. The "Deluxe" part of this game is the driving simulator, where you can actually drive vehicles around your city on missions!
Cons: When it comes to performance and progress, this simulator is agonizingly slow at both. Each new intersection and vehicle increases the computing load exponentially, potentially reducing the speed of life in your city to a crawl. The latest version has received terrible reviews because it requires an internet connection and an extremely capable computer system to run, so stick with this version (or its competitor, City Skylines).
With the simplicity of an app but the complexity of chess, MiniMetro lives up to the motto of Othello: "a minute to learn, a lifetime to master." Each level in this game is simply a map of city, with stations that slowly appear as the city grows. Your job is to connect the stations (and thus the riders and commuters) in the most efficient way possible. Sounds easy, right? Think again.
Pros: Mini Metro works best with spurts of concentration. It can be played in short time intervals, and it looks absolutely fantastic. The challenges and sandbox-mode possibilities give you hours of experience running your own transportation system.
Cons: While its simplicity makes the game easy on the eyes, it also makes Mini Metro a rather poor representation of real life. Don't depend on Mini Metro to help you learn how to navigate New York, for example, although you will certainly develop an appreciation for the builders of the London Underground.
Don't be deceived--this SimCity look-alike is anything but! To begin with, this game is set in Medieval Times, when paved roads and airplanes were as foreign as kangaroos and koalas. Another major difference is that Banished requires you to focus more on resources than any of the other simulators out there.
Pros: Banished is small and intimate enough for you to get to know most of your citizens. The growth of your village may be agonizingly slow at first, but tender loving care at the beginning will reap huge rewards later on. The ability to track individuals throughout their lives brings a sense of completeness, and each new season brings breathtaking changes to the landscape.
Cons: A simple mistake early on can cost you dearly. For example, a choice to grow too quickly can lead to a depletion of natural resources, which are difficult or impossible to replace. You may want to watch a few walk-through and how-to videos before diving into this one.