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Peter’s SimCity SNES Guide

Table of Contents

NOTE: I am currently in the process of moving this page over from my old website, pnaw10.com. I’ve moved my websites to a better hosting provider, but I can’t host as many websites as I had on the old host, so I’m merging the SimCity guide into peterthedj.com. The pnaw10.com domain redirects to this page. Some of the images may be missing, and some links may not work during this transition period — but the entire guide is now on one single (really long) page, rather than being split into separate pages. I will eventually have the table of contents link to anchor points within this page. Until then, you’ll just have to scroll up and down to find what you need.

ForewordWhy I’m still maintaining a guide for a game from 1991
Section 1: Version DifferencesSuper NES vs. PC vs. Wii Virtual Console
Section 2: Finding SimCity SNESTips to find this classic game
Section 3: Getting StartedInstructions, choosing the best landform
Section 4: Tips & TricksMillion Dollar Code, good zoning strategies to help you build a Megalopolis
Section 4.1: The Debug MenuCheck out the many features in the Debug Menu… so well-hidden, it took players nearly 18 years to find it!
Section 5: Battling Common SimCity ProblemsWiping out Pollution, Unemployment, Crime, Traffic and other issues your Sims complain about
Section 6: The Infamous Startup BugA major pain in the neck!  What causes it and how to avoid it.
Section 7: GiftsHow to earn ’em and where to use ’em!
Section 8: Tackling the ScenariosSolutions to beat all 6 scenario cities, with plenty of time to spare for other improvements
Section 9: The Bonus ScenariosLas Vegas and Freeland: The two unlockables you can’t play until you solve the first six scenarios

Foreword

I was 16 years old when I started Peter’s Place.  At the time, I was in high school and I had a lot more time for video games and computer games then. My “SimCity 2000 Tip of the Week” was one of the first features on the website.  Since then, many other gaming sites have popped up, created by people who have more time for video games than I do.  While those sites continue to evolve around the latest games in the series, my site is, to the best of my knowledge, the only one that ever covered the Super NES version of the original SimCity in such detail, and even in 2011, this guide still gets more hits than the rest of my website.  That’s why I decided to keep the SimCity SNES page going.  (And with new players still discovering SimCity via the Wii Virtual Console, I guess it wasn’t a bad idea!)

Section 1: Version Differences

Super NES vs. Wii Virtual Console – There really aren’t many changes.  For the most part, the Virtual Console version is a direct replica of the original.  However, there are three very important differences you need to know about — the last two are actually very cool.

  • Controls.  You can’t hook up SNES controllers to the Wii.  You’ll need an alternate controller.  You’ll find a list of your options, as well as pros and cons for each, in Section 2.
  • Built-In Instructions.  Press the “Home” button on your Wii controller or remote to access the game’s built-in Operations Guide.  It’s not as detailed as the original 86-page instruction manual, but it’s enough to get you started.  (If you want the original manual anyway, I have it here.)
  • Resume Points.  The Wii version allows you to bypass “The Infamous Startup Bug.”  More details on that coming up in Section 6.

Super NES vs. Computer – Generally, SimCity is SimCity, no matter what platform you use.  The rules are the same, the object is the same, and the general procedure to get things done is the same.  So if you’re playing a computer version, you can still get a lot out of this guide.  But there are a few differences between the SNES version and the computer versions:

  • Graphics.  Compare the Commodore 64 or Macintosh (Apple System 6) versions and you’ll see the Super NES version is actually pretty good.
  • Controls.  The Super NES controller has only 8 buttons and a control pad, compared to computer versions having a full keyboard and mouse.  Still, your control pad moves a pointer on the screen, very much like having a mouse.  (It’s too bad the SNES Mouse was still another year into the future.)  The SNES control pad is still quite functional, but the Million Dollar Code (and some other tactics in this guide) obviously won’t work for computer users.
  • Scenarios.  The scenarios are mostly the same, but there are a few exceptions.  The computer versions have “Dullsville, USA” (a fictitious city plagued by boredom) and Hamburg, Germany (in 1944, rebuilding after a World War II bombing).  The Super NES version does not have these cities.  Instead, it has Las Vegas and Freeland, which are not available until you solve the first six scenarios.
  • Characters.  Dr. Wright (the guy with the green hair, modeled after SimCity creator Will Wright) only appears in the Super NES version.  Same goes for the Mario Statue, and for the appearance of Mario’s archnemesis Bowser, who replaces the generic “Monster” in the Tokyo scenario.

SimCity vs. SimCity Classic – SimCity is the original title of the computer game. It was re-released as SimCity Classic (for the PC) after SimCity 2000 was released, but there were no other major changes.  SimCity was never re-released as “SimCity Classic” for the Super Nintendo.  The only change was to the box art, when SimCity became a “Player’s Choice Million Seller” after selling a million copies.

SimCity vs. SimCity 2000/3000/4 – If you’re used to the newer versions of SimCity, the key thing to remember is that the original is much simpler. It’s still a complex and involved game, but there are certain things you don’t have to worry about. For example, SimCity 4 has you making deals with neighboring cities for things like power supply and trash management. You’re responsible for building water pumps and the underground pipes to get that water to your zones. In SimCity, NONE of that is your job. Your neighbors simply don’t exist, trash isn’t a concern, and neither is water supply. Highways aren’t even an option… it’s just streets or rails. And you don’t need train stations — people can get on and off the train anywhere along the route.  If you think newer versions of SimCity are just too overwhelming, you may find the original to be more fun to play… or at least a good “foundation” to learn the basic ideas of SimCity before you try the newer versions.

Section 2: Finding SimCity SNES

Considering SimCity was released over 20 years ago, you can rule out finding a new-in-box copy of the SuperNES cartridge.  But, it’s still pretty easy to get your hands on this game one way or another.  You can scour stores and web sites for a used cartridge, of you can simply download to play on a Nintendo Wii console.

Have a Wii or Wii U?

Updated June 2014: SimCity was once, but is no longer available for download through the Wii’s “Virtual Console” feature.  After noticing a recent uptick in site traffic, I just decided to see if SimCity is still available in the Wii Shop Channel; it is not.

Worth nothing: Other previous Wii Virtual Console purchases of mine still show up in the Wii Shop Channel.  In place of a price, they either display “downloaded” if they are still present on the system, or “redownloadable” if I had deleted them.  Nintendo has always allowed players to redownload previously-purchased-and-deleted titles for free, knowing that players may sometimes need to delete games to free-up memory.  It appears that SimCity is an exception; if deleted, you may not be given the chance to redownload it.

So, if you didn’t get SimCity before it was removed from the Wii Shop Channel — or if you had it, but deleted it — looks like the Wii/Wii U option is now off the table.

But, if you downloaded SimCity while it was available and kept it, good news: If you get a Wii U, you can still play! Nintendo offers a free “transfer utility.” Simply download to both systems and let it rip.  It’ll move darn near everything — Miis, game save files, downloaded games, your Wii Menu layout — over to your Wii U.   (Note: this doesn’t mean you can use one Wii to copy SimCity to multiple Wii U machines — after all the data is moved to the Wii U, the transfer utility wipes the memory on the original Wii, so it’s like it had never been used before.)

Whether you’ve got SimCity on the Wii or WiiU, you’ll need a special controller, because the Wii remote doesn’t have as many buttons as the original SuperNES controller.  Although the WiiU gamepad does have all the right buttons, try it and you’ll get an error message informing you that “Wii software cannot be controlled with the Wii U GamePad.”)  You may have noticed that certain Wii Shop Channel games have been re-released through the Wii U’s eShop Channel, adding GamePad compatibility — but SimCity isn’t available there, either.  So, here are your options:

Wii Classic ControllerPROS:Button layout is similar to that of the original SuperNES controller.Connects to the standard Wii Remote, so you maintain wireless connectivity to the Wii console.CONS:Each Classic Controller will set you back about $20.  For SimCity, you only need one… unless you plan on accessing the Debug Menu. The secret code to enter the Debug Menu requires you to press buttons on the second controller.  (The original SuperNES came with two controllers, so when SimCity was created, this wasn’t expected to be a problem.)Since the Classic Controller connects to your Wii Remote, it’s powered by the batteries in your Wii Remote.  (I use rechargeable batteries, so this isn’t a huge issue for me.)Added June 2014: I don’t have a Wii U Pro Controller (too expensive and I don’t yet have any games where the Pro Controller would be worth the cost over my existing controllers)… so I don’t know if the Wii U Pro Controller can be used with SimCity… but I would imagine if the GamePad can’t be used, the Pro Controller won’t work, either.  If anyone can definitively confirm or deny, please email me.
GameCube ControllerNOTE added Feb 2012: Only “original” Wii consoles have ports for GameCube controllers.  Late in 2011, Nintendo started selling a modified version of the Wii console, with no GameCube support whatsoever.  The newer models look almost identical to the original, but they lack GameCube controller ports and memory card slots.PROS:GC controllers plug directly into the Wii, so you won’t drain your Wii Remote batteries.If you already have a GameCube, you already have the controller(s), so you don’t need to spend money buying new controllers.Even if you don’t have GameCube controllers, it shouldn’t be too hard to track down one or two.  It might be tough to find new ones made by Nintendo, but some third-party companies sell new ones.  You can also find plenty of used controllers online or in “retro” game stores.CONS:The button arrangement is much different than the SuperNES controller.The SuperNES controller has a “Select” button but the GameCube controller doesn’t… instead, you have to remember to press “Z” on the GC controller to get the same results.The first “pro” listed above is also a con: since you’ll be hardwired to the Wii console, you’ll have to be pretty close to the console while playing.  (Not sure if the wireless Wavebird controller works with a Wii, though I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t.)
RetroUSB.com
RetroUSB.com
raphnet-tech.com
raphnet-tech.com

Using a real SuperNES ControllerThere are a couple of people who make and sell devices which can connect an original SuperNES controller to the GameCube ports on the Wii.  (Again, because these options require GameCube ports, they are useless if you have the newer Wii model, which lacks GameCube controller ports.)I have not tried any of these products myself, but they seem pretty interesting.  I you insist on having the most “authentic” experience possible, without actually owning a SuperNES and tracking down a SimCity cartridge, this might be the way to go.

  • RetroZone sells cables which have a male GameCube end (for connecting to the Wii) and a female SuperNES end (for you to connect your own SuperNES controller).  They used to also sell SNES controllers which were wired for a direct connection to the Wii, but those appear to be gone now.
  • Raphael Assenat invented his own adapters so you can connect an original SuperNES controller to your Wii.  He sells the adapters pre-assembled, ready-to-go… or if you’ve got the skills and tools to do-it-yourself, he has posted the directions and wiring schematics are on his website, free.

In either case, not that you still need to supply your own SuperNES controller.  It can be an authentic Nintendo model or a third-party brand.

 Tracking Down Original SuperNES Cartridges

SimCity SNES Box

Finding the original SuperNES cartridge-based version of SimCity is no different than tracking down any other SuperNES game.  Here are some basic tips:

Check eBay – This might be the easiest way to find the game.  It’s almost always there, somewhere, but you might have to decide if it’s worth getting into a bidding war.  And watch out for buyers who add hefty shipping charges to the winning bid.

“Retro” game stores – Major national chains like GameStop usually limit their used game offerings to the newer platforms, so don’t expect to find any SuperNES games there.  But, if your area has any locally-owned retro game stores, check those out.  At least in my area, there are a few locally-owned shops and they DO carry games all the way back to the original NES (and earlier consoles like Coleco and Atari).  If they don’t have the game the first time you visit, you might need to check back periodically to see if someone else happened to sell a copy.  Some stores might be willing to take your name and call you if the game comes in.

Pawn Shops or “Comic Book” stores – Jeff Sichta from Omaha, NE, writes in to suggest pawn shops or comic book/gaming stores. But these stores sell more than just video games… so you may want to call ahead.  Even if you do, the staff likely aren’t video game experts, and the stores probably don’t keep a close inventory of their video games… so in the end, you might just have to go scour their stock in person anyway — and you still might come up empty-handed.

Thrift Stores – I never really went into thrift stores until a few Halloweens ago, when I was looking for the ugliest possible suit jacket I could find for a costume.  Surprisingly, every store I visited had old video games.  I didn’t catch any particularly eye-catching titles, but you never know until you stop in.  Again, it’s unlikely the store staff will be able to tell you if they have any copies of SimCity over the phone, so you’ll just have to go and look for it yourself.

Important! Remember, SuperNES games use an in-cartridge battery to save your progress.  Most of these batteries had a life expectancy of about 5 years.  SimCity was released in 1991.  Do the math.  If the battery isn’t already dead when you get the game, it may not last much longer.  Once the batteries die, no more save-file capability.  You’ll either need to leave the game in your SNES and leave it powered-on 24/7 or be prepared to start over from scratch every time you start the game.  Or, if you’re brave enough to perform some surgery on your game, here’s an article I found on how to replace the battery in an SNES cartridge.  I make no guarantee it actually works — just providing the link as a courtesy.

Emulate it.

The legality of using an emulator is questionable, so I’m not going to say much more about the topic.  The only reason I’m listing it is to avoid having people email me to “inform” me that I “forgot” to mention emulators.  Do not e-mail me about emulation — I will not respond to questions about emulators.

Section 3: Getting Started
SimCity: 'Dr. Wright's Urban Planning Guide'

Gameplay Instructions
If you like, you can download a scanned PDF version of the entire 86-page manual (7.2MB), in full color, complete with photos, illustrations and Dr. Wright’s official biography on the back cover.  (Thanks to Arne, who found the manual posted at replacementdocs.com.)

If that much reading isn’t for you, and you happen to be playing on the Wii “Virtual Console” just press the “Home” button on your Wii controller to access a neat on-screen instruction manual.  It’s much shorter than the original instructions, but it covers enough of the basics for you to get started.

Choosing a Landform
When you begin a new city, the first thing you need to do is choose a “landform” for your city.  The game has 1000 pre-made landforms. You get to pick which one you want, but it takes (literally) 10-15 seconds to load each one. You’ll go crazy waiting to see every single one.  So don’t!  A long time ago, I wrote to Nintendo to ask for their suggestions. They suggested the landforms pictured below: 061, 137, and 714.

These three landforms have the least amount of water (13%, 15% and 15%, respectively). Obviously, the less water there is, the more room you have for building. And the more you can build, the more SimCitizens can move into your city.

What about water supply?
If you’re asking that question, you’ve played one of the newer versions of SimCity. This could be good or bad news: water doesn’t matter in the original SimCity. Less realistic, but less of a pain in the neck… you don’t have to deal with building water pumps, pipes, sewage treatment plants, etc. In this version, water just takes up space.  (But as you get closer to using up all available space, you are given the option to build three “landfills” on the water.  More details when we talk about “Gifts” in Section 7.)

Which Mode Do I Choose?
As far as I can tell, the only difference between Easy, Medium and Hard is the amount of money you begin with.  I don’t think difficulty level impacts any other factors.  If you’ll be using the “Million Dollar Code” anyway (which I explain in Section 4) then it doesn’t even matter which mode you choose.  If you prefer to play without cheats, go for Easy — there’s no “bonus” for duking it out on Medium or Hard mode, so why put yourself through that?

Next: Get Powered Up
Usually, the first thing you should build in any city is a power plant.  None of your zones will develop without power.  I strongly recommend Nuclear Power.  Yes, they cost more than Coal Power Plants, but they don’t create any pollution… so the higher price is well worth it.  Even if you’re playing without cheats and you need to save money, I still say Nuclear is the better option.

Why?  As your city develops, you’ll find yourself looking for ways to reduce pollution.  It’s tough to get rid of Industrial Zones (since their jobs are what brought people to your city).  So you’ll wind up thinking, “Hey, I can replace my Coal Power Plants with nuclear ones.”  But you’ve already spent $3,000 for each Coal Power Plant.  It’ll cost you $9 to bulldoze them, then another $5,000 for each Nuclear Power Plant.  You could have saved $3,009 per power plant by just going with nuclear in the first place.

Section 4: Tips & Tricks

NEW! The Debug Menu

The Debug Menu, discovered in January 2009, is so complex, we’ve devoted an entire “subsection” to it… click here to visit NEW Section 4.1 of the SimCity SNES guide and learn all about the Debug Menu.  Then come back for all the “original” cheats and time-honored strategies that’ll help you build a successful city.

The Million Dollar Code

It’s a little tricky, but well worth it, especially if you want to get your city started quickly. Follow these steps very carefully. If you don’t get it exactly right, you’ll need to let another “game year” pass by before you can try again.

  1. Make sure you have some PD’s, FD’s and transportation expenses on the budget.
  2. Spend all your money and wait until December.
  3. When the tax screen comes up (automatically, as it does every December) press and HOLD the L Button. Move the pointer down to “Go With Figures” and press B to exit the tax screen.
  4. Immediately go back to the tax screen again.
  5. Raise your police, fire and transportation funding levels to 100%. Again, move to “Go With Figures” and press B to exit the tax screen.
  6. Get rid of the submenu.
  7. Now that you’re back to the regular city screen, let go of the L Button. You should have $999,999.
  8. Repeat whenever necessary.
A Million Dollars!

Why doesn’t this work? Can I use this on the Wii?

After someone contacted me asking if this trick works on the Wii… I tried it myself, and I can personally confirm the Million Dollar Code DOES work on the Wii Virtual Console. If it doesn’t seem to be working for you, here are a few extra things to watch out for.

  1. It may help to lower your tax rate sometime before December. If you’re making enough tax revenue to cover your police/fire/transportation expenses, the trick may not work. The point is that you need to be LOSING money. I lower my tax to 1%. You could do 0%, but I’m not sure if that would mess it up.
  2. Make sure your game speed is on “slow” before December. If you’re on a faster speed, there’s a chance the game could advance to January before you get through all this button-pressing. You need to complete the entire code before the game rolls over to January.
  3. Check the above directions again — and note that you do need to be holding the “L” button the entire time from steps 3 through 7. If you let go of L at any time, you’ll need to do it all over again.
  4. Also remember, you need to have ZERO dollars before the tax screen pops up in December.

Just to show I’m not making any of this up, here’s a picture I took from my TV screen after testing the Million Dollar Code out with my Wii.

If you don’t get it right, you’ll have to wait until the game makes it around to the next December before you can try again. That’s no so bad in a brand new city with only a couple thousand people… but it is a major problem if you’re repeating this trick decades later with a much larger city that just can’t afford to go without police, fire or transportation services for an entire year.

To avoid major headaches, I suggest you save your game in the November before you attempt the trick. That way, if you mess up… you can reload and try again.

Time to Make the Donuts!

This Donut is 100% Trans-Fat Free

My favorite way to increase zoning (and population) was always to build what one of the strategy guides referred to as “Donut Blocks.” As seen in the picture, it’s a 3×3 block of zones, surrounded by train tracks. Just like a donut, you’re building a ring of zones, and leaving the middle empty (for now). Make sure you “pair up” the residential and commercial blocks, because 2 adjoining R or C zones can eventually join together as a “TOP” zone, which is the best you can get. You’ll need many of these if you ever want to reach “megalopolis” status with 500,000 people. Once you’ve got your blocks zoned out, the middle area offers a convenient place for items that don’t need to be right next to transportation… things like police stations, fire stations, parks and “gift” buildings. The game doesn’t care whether people can actually access these properties — it only checks to see if they exist, period.

What about industrial zones?

Because they cause pollution, you don’t really want them that close to your R and C zones. I don’t include them in donut blocks. Rather, I try to scatter Industrial zones in areas along the edges of my landform — so that way, half the pollution (and crime) actually goes off the map, where it doesn’t get counted.

Zoning Plan “B”

These can be longer than 3 zones tall

Another SimCity fan by the name of Ben Reynolds e-mailed me once to say he disagrees with donut blocks. Instead, he prefers to build “columns” of zones, that are 2 zones wide, as seen in the diagram. (The columns are only 3 zones tall for the illustration at left… but you can build them as long as you want. I’d probably go about 5 or 6 zones tall myself.) This also allows for “TOP” buildings to form, but Ben claims it uses space more efficiently, allowing him to earn populations exceeding 550,000. Ben also suggests making sure your waterfront areas are reserved for C zones — they seem to do better than other zone types along the water. Finally, Ben agrees that Industrial zones are best placed near the edges of your landform. Unfortuately, he never said where things like police stations or gifts fall into his method. Guess you’ll have to figure that out on your own!

Using Landfills Effectively

The game keeps track of how much open, untouched land is left. As you get close to running out, you’ll get a few chances to build 3×3 landfills in any body of water. I would suggest putting these together, so that you can put 2 R or C zones next to each other. Waterfront property always gets a high value, so the land value of being IN the water almost guarantees the two zones will form a TOP.

Still Need More Room?

SimCity SNES doesn’t allow you to choose how large and small your airports or seaports are. But, there is a trick to downsize them –and the game won’t care. As a plane is flying over an airport, seaport or stadium, go to the disasters menu and choose Plane Crash. Usually, the crash will take out a few random tiles. As long as just one tile of the facility survives, the game still thinks the entire building is there. Just make sure there’s a fire department nearby so the fire doesn’t spread!

Landlocked Seaports

SimCity’s simulation engine isn’t smart enough to “know” whether your seaport is actually next to water. It only wants a yes or no answer to the question, “does a seaport exist in this city?” As long as you have a seaport anywhere on the map, the game is happy. Don’t waste valuable waterfront property on a seaport.

Instead, build it off to the corner of the map, or at least on an edge. That way, half of the crime and pollution generated by the seaport will go off the edge of the map — where it won’t have any effect on your city. (The same applies for ANY item that creates pollution… including coal power plants, industrial zones and airports. Save the corners for the “biggies” — coal power, airports and seaports. These generate the most pollution, so putting them on the corner reduces the effect by more than just putting them along an edge.)

Section 4: Tips & Tricks

NEW! The Debug Menu

Thanks to Corey Miller (aka “ZaphodBee” on starmen.net, where he first posted his discovery) for pointing this out to us in January 2009… whoever thought we’d be finding a new trick nearly 18 years after the game was first created?! And how the heck did Nintendo keep this under wraps for such a long time?

How to Access the Debug Menu

What you want to do first is get to the “Goodbye! See you soon” screen.  You get to this screen by quitting the game.

If you always just saved your game and turned off the SNES without actually quitting first, here’s how.  Go to the “Load.Save” menu (by clicking the icon to the left of the Dr. Wright icon) and then click on “END.”

Then, enter the following sequence on Controller Two:
Left, A, Right, Y, Up, B, Down, X, Select, Start, Start, Select, R, R, L, L.
* Note – GameCube controllers do not have a “Select” button.  Instead, use the “Z” button.  It’s the smaller button just in front of the larger “R” button on the top-right shoulder of the controller. 

How to Use the Debug Menu

At left, there’s a picture of what you’ll see if you enter the Debug Menu code correctly. You use Controller One to navigate through the options. Press Up or Down on the control pad to move between each option. Press B to toggle each setting on or off, with the exception of the “Sound Test” feature.

Here’s what each feature does:

Memory: Even though this is the last option, I’ll explain it first because it’s the most important. Press Left or Right to toggle between “CLR” and “SET.” If you press B while it’s on “CLR” you will close out the Debug Menu and lose all of its effects. If you want to actually use the Debug Menu, you need to select “SET” and press B (after you’ve selected your preferred cheats). Then reset the game, and the cheats you selected will be activated.

Sound Test: Press Left or Right to scroll through the different music tracks included in the game. Press B to begin the song. There’s no button to stop the song. A complete song list appears below.
No Disasters: Self-explanatory… prevents disasters completely. Even when I tried to “force” a disaster from the in-game disaster menu, it wouldn’t happen.
Needless Money: Build anything you want; it won’t cost you a thing. It’s kinda like if you had a Game Genie with an “Infinite Money” code. However, you might not be able to buy something that costs more than you have; I haven’t tested this yet with any cities that had very little money.
Valve Max: As originally suspected (and confirmed after more experimenting and concurring e-mails from a few of you), this setting causes the RCI meters to “max out” so all types of zones are in high demand.

Using “Water Reclaim” to build on water (Click for larger version)

Water Reclaim: We’ve saved the best for last! When Water Reclaim is active, you can bulldoze ANY water in your city, and it will turn into land. It’s just like having an unlimited amount of landfills. Basically, you can turn any landform into “Freeland,” but still earn the gifts that come with operating a real city (you can’t win gifts in scenarios, which is what Freeland is.) If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I could have a Megalopolis… if only I could build more zones on top of all this darn water!” Well, here’s your ticket to reaching that 500,000 mark!

Sound Test Music List

I was able to identify most of these tunes.  Some, I haven’t heard in a long time (if ever) so if you can help fill in the blanks, please do.  Or if I’ve misidentified anything, corrections are welcomed.

0-01: Village (0 people)
0-02: Town (2,000 people)
0-03: City (10,000 people)
0-04: Capital (50,000 people)
0-05: Metropolis (100,000 people)
0-06: Megalopolis (500,000 people)
0-07: Title Screen
0-08: Opening Menu
0-09: Game Over / Losing Money
0-0A: Dr. Wright / Gift Announcement
0-0B: Dr. Wright / City Level Up
0-0C: Problem / Disaster
0-0D: City Evaluation Screen / Voice (Good)
0-0E: City Evaluation Screen / Voice (Bad)
0-0F: Dr. Wright / Handy Tip (when you ask for him)
0-10: Win Freeland Scenario (Thanks to Kyle Clarke for ID’ing this one)
0-11: Win any other scenario (Thanks to Kyle Clarke for ID’ing this one, too)
0-12: Lose scenario (And again, thanks to Kyle Clarke!)
0-13: See you soon. Good bye!!
0-F0: Nothing (And after trying to play this, the Sound Test wouldn’t work anymore for me.)

Remember, Save Your Changes!

In case you forgot since the top of the page, if you want to actually use the cheat features, you have to select “SET” next to the Memory option and press B, then reset your SNES.  (On the plus side, the Debug Menu will be there the next time you come to the “Goodbye” screen, so you don’t have to re-enter the code each time.)

If Memory is still set to “CLR” and you press B while the Star is on that line… or if you simply reset your SNES before activating “SET,” your changes will not be saved, your cheats will not take effect next time you play, and you WILL have to re-enter the code to access the Debug Menu again.

Does it Work on the Wii?

Yes!  Thanks to a few people from the starmen.net forums who pointed out the Debug Menu is available on the Wii Virtual Console version.  I assumed I’d need two Classic Controllers to try it out — but they reminded me you don’t.  You can use two GameCube controllers.  You can also use one of each type of controller.

If you have only ONE GameCube controller, you can simply move it from socket one to socket two.

Or, if you have two Wii Remotes, but only one Classic Controller… turn both remotes on and start the game with your Classic Controller hooked up to Remote One.  Get to the “goodbye” screen, and then move the Classic Controller to Remote Two.  Enter the Debug Menu code.  Once you’re in, move the Classic Controller back to Wii Remote #1 so you can actually use the debug menu.  (Remember to “SET” the Memory to keep the Debug Menu active, so you don’t have to repeat this complex charade.)

NOTE: If using a GameCube controller, you’ll notice there is no “Select” button.  Instead, use the “Z” button.

NOTE 2: Only “original” Wii consoles have ports for GameCube controllers. Late in 2011, Nintendo started selling a modified version of the Wii console, with no GameCube support whatsoever. The newer models look almost identical to the original, but they lack GameCube controller ports and memory card slots.  If you have a newer Wii, you MUST have a Wii Classic Controller to play SuperNES games.

Section 5: Battling Common SimCity Problems
Note: Actual hair color of SimCity creator Will Wright may differ from this depiction.

Anytime you go to the opinion screen, the game will list your city’s biggest problems.  In order to keep your SimCitizens happy (and keep that population number growing) it’s your job as mayor to check this list often, and do your best to reduce those complaints.

Here are the solutions to these problems — but keep in mind, not every problem is totally fixable.  There are some cases where solving one problem creates another… so you have to find a good balance between the two.

Pollution

You can never completely get rid of pollution, so do your best to minimize it with these strategies.

  • ALWAYS use nuclear power plants. They cost more than coal, but they don’t pollute.
  • ALWAYS use rails instead of roads.  Again, they cost more, but they don’t pollute.  Using rails will also eliminate another problem: traffic.  Best of all, SimCity does not require train depots (like the sequels do) so you literally can run train tracks anywhere you’d normally build roads.
  • You can’t get rid of Industrial Zones (since they bring jobs to your city) but you can try to spread them out.  Leave a few tiles of breathing room between them, and fill those empty spaces with parks.  Also try to provide a buffer zone (at least 3-4 tiles wide) between your I zones and your R and C zones.  Keep that pollution away from areas where people live.
  • Airports and seaports also cause pollution. Again, avoid placing them right next to each other or next to I zones.
  • Whenever possible, place I zones, airports and seaports along the edges of your city. That way, half of the pollution goes off the map — and it won’t count. (You could maximize this by putting your airport and seaport in different corners of the map.)  I usually build a ring of I-zones around the edge of the map, then fill the “inside” of the landform with R & C zones.

Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about trash collection (or building dumps) like you do in SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4!

Unemployment

To combat unemployment, you must always have zones that provide jobs.  Generally, you’ll have to rely heavily on Industrial Zones when you first begin.  Watch the “RCI Meter” at the top of the screen, and keep an eye on which kinds of zones are in demand.

As you approach 100,000 population, you’ll probably start to see demand for Commercial Zones catching up with Industrial Zones, and eventually surpassing them.  Again, keeping an eye on the RCI Meter will let you know what kinds of zones are in demand.  As long as you can keep up with it, you should have enough places for your SimCitizens to find jobs.

Crime

This one’s pretty straightforward. Remember to check the “crime map” often and compare it to the “Police Radius” coverage map.  The Crime Map will help you find trouble spots, and the coverage radius map will help you determine exactly where to build new Police Stations so they have the greatest impact.  It’s OK for station coverage to overlap somewhat (in fact, you need some overlapping to adequately cover the city).  But remember, each time you add another Police Station, you’re also adding more expenses to your annual budget.

Traffic

This one is a no-brainer (and if you were paying attention to my remedies for “Pollution” you already know this answer).  You can’t have traffic if you don’t have roads.  So don’t build any roads!  Instead, build railroad tracks.  Yes, it’ll cost more, but if you’re using the Million Dollar Code, that shouldn’t be a problem.  And remember, unlike the sequels, you do NOT need train stations in SimCity.  (In fact, you can’t even build any until you earn them as gifts.  They are completely optional.)

Second Best Solution: If you’re playing without cheats and money is an issue, OK, you can build roads.  But keep them as simple and straight as possible.  Roads that zig-zag, twist and turn will only add to your problems — both traffic and pollution.  Building roads that meander everywhere (like in the Berlin scenario) is the worst thing you can do.  (On that note, you can wipe out traffic problems in every single scenario city by bulldozing the roads and replacing them with rail.)

Taxes

If you’re using the Million Dollar Code, this one’s easy. Just reduce all the tax levels to zero. But if you’re playing fair, stay around 7%.  People will still complain… but hey, nothing’s free!

Housing Costs

This is one problem I could NEVER eliminate. I almost wonder if it’s just the “default” complaint so the list is never empty. The best you can do is keep your eye on the “RCI” meter to make sure you’re meeting demand. If the people need more R zones, build more.


Pollution vs. Unemployment

As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, some problems can never be totally eliminated. If you want to get rid of unemployment, you need to build more industrial zones… which cause pollution. If you want to clean up the city, you need to eliminate industrial zones, and thus, jobs. It’s especially tough when your population is under that 100,000 mark where commercial zones begin to take over. This is where you truly get to be a mayor and decide which problem you’re more willing to live with. You’ll never get rid of both.

Section 6: The Infamous Startup Bug

The biggest problem with the SuperNES version of SimCity happens when you try to load a saved game. For the first few “game months” after loading a city file, the simulation thinks your power plants are off, for no apparent reason.  The stupid lightning symbol will flash over EVERY building in your city for awhile.

This obviously has a detrimental effect on many other aspects of your city. Even if you pause the game, you can’t stop this from happening. That’s why, on the SuperNES, I’d only sit down to play if I knew I had a good long time to get lots of stuff done.  This bug makes it impossible to play for only 15 or 30 minutes at a time.  Your city needs time to “recover” from this bug.  If you start and stop often, the impacts of having several individual month-long power outages will only build upon each other and really screw up your city.

However, if you’re playing on an emulator, you can avoid this defect. Just use your emulator’s “save state” and “load state” features, rather than using the game’s own save and load functions.  Without getting into a longwinded technical explanation, the emulator’s “states” allow you to pick up a game seamlessly from any point, as if you never stopped playing.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, the legality of emulators is questionable… but you can still enjoy similar effects while staying 100% legal.  Nintendo offered a similar workaround when the game was re-released as a Virtual Console download via the Wii Shop Channel.  When you exit back out to the Wii Menu, the game will save a “resume point” — very similar to saving a state on a PC-based emulator.  When you come back, the Virtual Console will let you pick up from that resume point.

However, there’s a catch with Nintendo’s way of doing things: you can only have one resume point at a time.  If you’re using both of SimCity’s “save” files (to work on two different cities) you’ll still need to use the game’s native save and load functions to switch between cities… and the game’s native “load” feature is what triggers this annoying glitch.  But as long as you’re the only person using SimCity, and you’re only working on one city… you can just use the resume point every time you come back.  It’ll be just like you left your SNES on constantly and there won’t be any startup bug.

Section 7: Gifts

As you reach certain milestones, Dr. Wright will appear to say you’ve earned a special gift.  In this section, we’ve listed all those gifts, how to earn them, and where to place them.  Many gifts can help improve a neighborhood, as long as you know which types of zones they “play well” with.  Several gifts also generate income for your city budget.

Your House

Requirement: 2000 Population (same time you achieve “Town” status)
Revenue/Expense: $0
Best Placement: Residential

Police HQ (up to 3)

Prerequisite: 6, 12, or 18 police stations
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: Anywhere (provides 1½ times the coverage of a normal station)

Fire HQ (up to 3)

Prerequisite: 6, 12, or 18 fire stations
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: Anywhere (provides 1½ times the coverage of a normal station)

Train Station (up to 2)

Windmill

Prerequisite: 50km and 200km of track
Yearly Income: $100
Best Placement: Commercial areas
Windmill

Prerequisite: 150 zones must become fully developed
Yearly Income: $100
Best Placement: Anywhere

Expo

Prerequisite: Population 50,000 AND build an airport
Yearly Income: $100
Best Placement: Industrial area

Amusement Park OR Casino (up to 3)

Note: Whenever you hit one of the milestones, you’ll get to pick one or the other. Casinos bring more money but they also cause crime.  However, that shouldn’t be a problem if you build a PD right next door.

Prerequisite: 300, 400 or 500km of roads*
* I usually build my cities with all rails, no roads… yet I still get these.  But I haven’t been able to figure out exactly what else triggers them.
Yearly Income: Park $200 / Casino $300
Best Placement: Park in residential areas / Casino anywhere (with a police station nearby)

Fountain

Prerequisite: City age = 50 years
Yearly Income: $100
Best Placement: Commercial area

Landfills (up to 3… or 4?)

Prerequisite: Open land dwindles to 150, 100, 50 or 30 acres (squares)
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: Can only be placed on water… it’s a 3×3 area of land, big enough for a zone.  You can put them right on your shore, or you can build an island.  Just remember to run power and transportation to it!

Scale Model of the City (aka “View” Mode)

Large Park

Prerequisite: Population = 50,000
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: n/a.  It just lets you look at your city from a different kind of angle, thanks to the Mode 7 capability of the Super NES.  It looks kinda screwy (a lame 1991 attempt at 3-D) and you can’t do anything to your city while viewing it in this mode, so it’s pretty useless.
Large Park (up to 3)

Library

Prerequisite: Build 300, 600 or 900 acres (squares) of small parkland
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: Commercial or residential areas
Library (up to 3)

Prerequisite: When 3, 6 and 9 schools are built.
NOTE: Unlike newer versions of SimCity where you build schools, this version builds schools automatically. You can’t “make” this happen.
Yearly Income: $100 (not shabby, considering libraries cost cities money in real life)
Best Placement: Residential areas

Bank (not desired!)

Zoo

Prerequisite: Appears to provide a loan when your cash falls below $2000
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: Anywhere
Zoo (up to 2)

Prerequisite: Build 1 or 3 stadiums
Yearly Income: $100
Best Placement: Residential or commercial

Mario Statue

Prerequisite: Population = 500,000
Yearly Income: $0
Best Placement: Anywhere

I’m working on getting screen shots of all the gifts — but I don’t have much time to play SimCity these days.  So if you have good-quality screen shots of any gifts not yet pictured, feel free to send them in.

Section 8: Tackling the Scenario Cities

SimCity SNES has six Scenario cities, based on real-world cities.  But there’s no time for victory speeches.  Each Scenario city has a major problem, and there’s a time limit.  You’ve gotta hit the ground running and rescue each city before time runs out.

If you’re successful, you’ll have the option of keeping that city permanently — and if you beat all six Scenarios, you’ll unlock two Bonus Scenarios.  But if you don’t get the job done, you’ll have to start the scenario over and try again.

You can play the scenarios in any order you choose (like a Mega Man game), so you can follow the order I have below, or you can choose your own.

Boston

This is the easiest scenario. You’re left to clean up the mess after a nuclear meltdown.  You can’t make the contaminated areas go away, so just bulldoze around them.  Next, rebuild power lines and transportation (preferably rails instead of roads) so your zones will be connected to power and people.  Build new zones where space allows, to make up for those lost in the meltdown.  Use any leftover time to eliminate other problems listed on the opinion survey.

RJensen192@aol.com offers this tip: “avoid the nuclear meltdown by pushing and holding the L button and then destroy the three nuclear power plants.”  You need to do this immediately as you begin the scenario, as there isn’t much time before they meltdown.

Tokyo

Since this is Nintendo, we don’t have Godzilla… we have Bowser of Super Mario Bros. fame attacking the city. Don’t wait until he’s done with his rampage — immediately begin bulldozing around the fires he creates.  Sacrificing a few buildings to contain a fire is better than losing dozens if the flames spread.

As soon as Bowser has disappeared, build new fire stations as needed.  (Don’t build them while he’s still around – he could always double back and wind up destroying them, and that would be a waste of money.)  Next, reconnect any power lines that were taken out… the city will fall fast if large sections are left powerless. Once that’s done, check the opinion survey and see what else you can improve.

San Francisco

“Based on a true story,” you’re the mayor when San Fran’s legendary 1906 earthquake strikes.  Thankfully, the fires you’ll be dealing with in SimCity are nowhere near as horrible as the real-life disaster, so your battle plan will be similar to Tokyo.  However, there are only 3 fire stations covering all of San Francisco!

To your advantage, the earthquake doesn’t happen until about 2 “game months” into the scenario.  That means you can pause time immediately, and build several new Fire Stations to beef up coverage before the quake hits.  Don’t go hogwild though — just place “enough” and try to save a good chunk of money.  When you’re done, unpause the game and wait for the big event.

As soon as the quake hits, follow the same strategy as Tokyo — bulldoze around the fires so they can’t spread.  Once the fires are out, rebuild power lines, zones and railroad tracks.  This is why I said to save some money before — powerlines need to be replaced immediately.  You really can’t let large areas of the city remain powerless while you wait for the end of the year to roll around for the Million Dollar Code.

Once you’ve got the initial recovery complete, check the Opinion screen and work on tackling other problems.  (As usual, replace roads with rails, maybe do some rezoning to break up clusters of polluting Industrial zones, etc.)

Rio de Janeiro

Looks like the folks at Nintendo and Maxis had a hunch about global warming way before “internet inventor” Al Gore did. 😉

A few “game months” after this scenario begins, you’re dealing with severe coastal flooding.  Just like in San Francisco, use that “calm before the storm” to minimize the impact of the disaster.  Build parks, zones and other things along the coastline so there’s no open space along the shore.  This will help keep the water from getting in “too” far.  If the water still penetrates the land, you’ll be left with fires… so make sure you have enough fire stations to cover the coast.  Follow the same methods as before to minimize fires, undo the damage, and make the city a better place than when you started.

Detroit

Detroit had a reputation for very high crime in the 70s and 80s, and it’s reflected here. High crime and (for some strange reason) frequent shipwrecks are your big problems in this scenario.

First, eliminate the shipwreck problem by building powerlines across the water at the edges of the map. Somehow, that prevents ships from coming into the city, but the simulation only cares whether or not a seaport simply exists… so the lack of ships won’t hurt anything.

Next, tackle crime. This should be simple… check the crime map and build new police stations where needed.  You can also reduce crime rates (and pollution at the same time) by breaking up the clumps of industrial zones and placing more parkland in those areas. Once you’ve got crime eliminated (or at least reduced to the scenario’s satisfaction), have fun tackling traffic and pollution.

Bern (Switzerland)

Bern’s problem is that it has too many roads and no mass transit.  Building even more roads is a big no-no… traffic and pollution will only get worse.  Obviously, the solution is to replace those roads with rails.  But don’t just pick a random place.

Check your maps to find the roads with the worst traffic levels.  Go after the most troublesome streets first, replacing roads with rails.  As mentioned in Section 7, straight roads are better than winding roads, so feel free to build straight railroad lines, even if it means you have to rearrange some of the zones.  It’s a healthy city — new zones will redevelop quickly — and even stronger than ever, since you’ve eliminated the traffic problems.

Once you tackle the most problematic areas, you can continue to replace the rest of the roads with rails.  (Or, just eliminate the roads and don’t replace them with anything, if they appear to be roads to nowhere.)  With the Million Dollar Code, you can get all those roads replaced with rails within about 2 “game years”  (assuming you let the game run while you do this).  Use the remaining time to address other problems.

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