Blog -> Oskar

Sim City 5 - most hilarious piece of software ever?

So I fell for the pressure, not having played a AAA game for months and actually not really played a game for more than a few minutes for months at all - one special evening I felt like isolating me for 6-8 hours with a new game: Sim City 5.

Shipping physical goods are cheaper than virtual?

After buying it at Webhallen (100 SEK cheaper in a physical box than buying it digitally as usual, way to destroy our environment) and simply registering the serial number on EAs service called Origin the 12 GB game was downloaded within a few minutes. Wow! Considering the bad press the launch in NA was given, this was a nice surprise! The DVD would not have been read in 3 minutes... or is there something else lurking here?

First launch

Anyway, Origin forced me to select a "server" to play this single-player game on. Eh?

Ok, so I select a brightly lit green server that has the label "available" next to it and press play (on tape). The game launches after several minutes of "authenticating your game" that actually looked like the game hung.

I'm presented with a black screen. For about 40 seconds. My PC is very fast.

Then I get the most choppy and disastreously horribly compressed video thrown at my face showing features of the game. I quickly tap the mouse button to get to the main menu where I reconfigure the initially force 30Hz vertical sync. 30Hz? Seriously? That's preposterous!

Then I press "play" to start the game and the tutorial loads, with reticulated splines and all! I feel great - this is going to be a relaxing evening!

The tutorial shows me how to zoom, rotate and pan the camera - some basics, and then gets down to business. Time to lay some roads!

I get a dialog asking me to click the "roads" button, which I do. Then I get an empty list and another dialog forcing me to select a road type. From an empty list!

There's no way to actually get out of the tutorial now. No exit button, the small cross to close the road types dialog which is empty does not work. The game practically locked up.

I press ALT+F4 (yes I'm a PC) to quit the game. Worst decision ever (though not that I really had any other options).

Locked out

First I try to start the game again, it just tells me the server is too busy. What? This is Sim City - not World of Warcraft!

After retrying the launch a dozen times I finally get to launch the game again. This time I get the same ugly intro video which I quickly skip - only to be greeted with a "your server is offline" error dialog! Inside the launched game!

I say "okay" and then Sim City 5 doesn't actually tell me what the heck to do! There's a "play" button and a "something world" button but both when pressed do nothing at all!

There's no queue. There's no message indicating what I'm supposed to do. The game just stopped working.

ALT+F4 again. Select another server, one of the green servers that have the status of available. Not busy or offline, a green one.

The game launcher instantly greets me with a quite annoying dialog stating "that server IS BUSY you fool!". Oh really? Then stop marking it as the complete opposite!

After trying to switch to an available server for 30 minutes, I suddenly get greeted by the queue!

The "queue"

This queue is not like any other online game or server queue you have ever seen!

This queue has one simple function: lock your game launcher down for exactly 20 minutes and then do a new connection attempt.


I spend another hour just trying to launch the game, mind you this is on the EU launch date, 24 hours after the North America got to try and play this piece of crapware because the launch was staggered over 3 days with UK somehow ending up with the last day (tomorrow good luck to you!).

Some times I get the tutorial to load again, but only when I get in on the very busy server I first got assigned to. The other servers, the game won't even acknowledge me!

However, after reticulating enough splines to fill Mars and animating enough wet sand to solve the world's thirst problems - the tutorial throws me out with another "network error" dialog. With no feedback at all on what to do.

Always online

The gist is, the game will barf on you the very millisecond the Origin servers stops responding or in some other way have any issue with you or themselves. Currently, they have so many issues with themselves there is no way to play this inherently single player game!

Good luck playing on such a system!

I'm going back to Super Mario on the Wii U and returning this piece of shit retail box to Webhallen tomorrow. Which I'm sure will be an entire novel in itself to actually pull through.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to forget this disaster of an evening and get back to a creative mindset by recalling last years Växeln Hallå Hallå at Easterparty. Enjoy!

by Oskar Duveborn - 2 revisions
Published 2013-03-07, updated 2013-03-07