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''[=SimEarth: The Living Planet=]'' is a SimulationGame by Maxis, released for home computers in 1990 and the SuperNintendo in 1992. The game leaves the player in control of a planet's terrain and biosphere over billions of years. As well as playing with a custom planet, you can try your hand at scenarios like terraforming Mars, solving modern-day Earth's problems, or exploring James Lovelock's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisyworld Daisyworld]] hypothesis.

The game is more involved and less humorous than most of the ''Sim'' titles. One of its more whimsical elements is the Gaia window, which conveys your ecosphere's "mood" via a talking planet with an animated face.

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!!This game provides examples of:

* AIIsACrapshoot: Robots have higher capabilities than all other lifeform types (Except, funnily enough, [[KillerRabbit daisies]]) and thus will render them all extinct rapidly.
* AllPlanetsAreEarthLike: It mostly depends on the player's actions: variables like axial tilt and atmospheric composition are left up to you. However, with the exception of the carniferns, any life that evolves will resemble terrestrial forms.
* AllThereInTheManual: "All" being a crash course in earth sciences, from geology to biology, and a functional guide to climate modelling that is useful 20 years later in understanding IPCC reports. It was over 500 pages, went into exhaustive detail about the simulation's assumptions and underlying equations, and was [[DoorStopper larger than most modern game]] ''[[DoorStopper boxes]].''
** The Super NES version had a comparatively simple manual, putting the most important info from the other versions' manuals in an in-game dictionary accessible from the main menu. The VirtualConsole version's operations guide condenses it much further, eschewing the earth sciences lessons entirely and covering just the basics of gameplay -- considering how complex the game is, this is [[ViewersAreGeniuses a flaw rather than a mercy]].
* ApocalypseHow: Class X (on the old scale) Class 5 (on the new one) at the end of the game, when the sun swallows up the planet. During game play, can range from Class 0 to 6 (on the old scale) Class 1 to 5 (on the new), depending on player actions, natural events, or the actions of the sentient species.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology / ArtisticLicenseGeology: The Gaia Hypothesis that the entire game is based on is acknowledged by the manual as being not widely accepted in scientific circles at the time of release, and remains widely controversial to this day. However, it runs with it anyway because the result is an effective visual tool of how life and the environment on a planet can potentially develop regardless of the specifics.
* ColonizedSolarSystem: In two scenarios, the player's mission is to terraform and colonize Mars or Venus.
* CopyProtection: Only in the MS-DOS version, based around solar system trivia listed in the manual.
* CruelPlayerCharacterGod: Crank up the sun and bake the planet into a desert wasteland! Or maybe dial it down and trigger a whole new Ice Age! Wipe out cities with plagues, smash continents with asteroids, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking make your species favor war by turning them away from philosophy]]!
* DueToTheDead: ''Averted'' by Gaia herself in the [=TurboGrafx-16=] version. If your sentient species goes extinct and you check up on her immediately after, what does she have to say?
-->''"Good riddance!"''
* EarthThatWas: A more positive example. After developing nanotech, the sentient species will leave the planet, allowing another one to take its place. (Or not.)
* EvolutionaryLevels: Evolution in-game tends to form more and more complex organisms, rather than ones that are more adapted to their environment like in real life.
* [[AnInteriorDesignerIsYou An Exterior Designer Is You]]
* GaiasLament: Can be perpetrated by both the player and the sentient species. Sentients can pollute the planet into global warming or nuke it into nuclear winter, and the player can hit it with disasters and destructive terraforming, or mess around with the planet sliders.
* GaiasVengeance: You can literally poke her in the eye...at your peril.
* GoalOrientedEvolution: Always towards sentience.
* AGodIsYou: This is how the game was advertised: "Like being God, but with better graphics".
* GreyGoo: Robots are completely indestructible, live in every biome, and reproduce quickly. Once unleashed, they ''will'' be the only life left on the planet - not even the player can stop them.
* GreenAesop: They don't come much more {{Anvilicious}} than...
--> '''Gaia:''' ''This pollution is bad''
* GrewBeyondTheirProgramming: Robots from the nanotech cities if they become sentient.
* HomeworldEvacuation: If the sapient civilization develops past the "nanotech age", an event called "the exodus" is triggered. All cities, regardless of tech level, are fitted with engines and take off into space. The planet is declared a preserve and left alone, possibly allowing a new sapient species to evolve. The motivation for the exodus is unclear.
* HumansAreSpecial: The PC version seems to favor mammals achieving sentience, at which point they will resemble humans. Right after one sentient species leaves or goes extinct, if mammals are evolved enough, they will reach sentience in no time flat, even if other species are at the same level as well.
* IdleGame: Deliberate manipulation of the planet is easier than it looks and can end the game quickly. Most of the enjoyment in the game comes from seeing how a random planet develops on its own.
* ILoveNuclearPower: Nuking a nanotech city will release robots into the wild, which generally [[GreyGoo outcompete any other organism in the wild]], and can easily become sentient.
* InsectoidAliens: Literally, if insects reach sentience. They tend to breed in large numbers, so it's not uncommon to have your screen filled with members of the insect race.
* KillerRabbit: Daisies - the only life form in the game that can kill robots.
* LaymansTerms: The Super NES port renames and simplifies many of the species names for [[AnimationAgeGhetto the expected younger age of the Nintendo audience]]; "Eukaryotes" are known as "Amoeba", "Cetaceans" are known as "Whales", et cetera.
* MechanicalLifeforms: Robots. They have the ability to live in any biome, and "reproduce" quite quickly, allowing them to reach sentience very quickly. When they do, they'll start off in the Industrial Age, rather than Stone Age. They're still susceptible to plagues, though. (Computer viruses?)
* TheMonolith: Can be used to accelerate a species' development.
* {{Nanomachines}}: The pinnacle of technology.
* NukeEm: Good luck cleaning up if your sentient species doesn't know any philosophy when they get to the Atomic age of development.
* PlantPeople: If the carniferns reach sentience.
* TheReptilians: If dinosaurs or reptiles become sentient.
* SaveGameLimits: Only one planet can be saved at a time on the VirtualConsole version due to the Wii [[PortingDisaster not having the same filesystem]] as the TurboGrafx16.
* SequelEscalation: This was Maxis' first Sim game after ''VideoGame/SimCity.''
* ShownTheirWork: The aforementioned DoorStopper manual wraps up with an "Introduction to Earth Science."
* SlidingScaleOfRobotIntelligence: From level 2 to level 4.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Maxis' "[=SimEverything=]" game, ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'' (released 18 years later).
* StarfishAliens: Literally, if starfish become sentient.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Possibly this is what the player is, if dialogue from the Monolith use means anything.
* [[GuiltBasedGaming Threat-Based Gaming]]: The help system lists the effects of each menu option.
--> '''Quit:''' This will implode your monitor, possibly doing you severe bodily harm.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Aside from making the climate uninhabitable, if you want to actually ''have'' life, you can make life hellish ([[GettingCrapPastTheRadar as is stated outright in the TurboGrafx-16 version]]) by setting Art and Philosophy down to zero.
** Oh yeah, and that city you just [[YouNukeEm incinerated]] to see the EasterEgg robot race? Each city, ''especially'' Nanotech-class cities, can and will house hundreds of millions of sentient life forms. [[WhatTheHellPlayer Nice going]].
* WaddlingHead: Gaia, in the Super NES version only, is a globe with a face and cartoony limbs. The other versions don't have limbs.
* WideOpenSandbox
* TheWoobie: [[invoked]] The obscure, long-extinct Trichordates were included in the game because the developers "felt sorry for them."
** One of the most impressive achievements possible in the game (although no special events occur) is developing trichordates into the dominant form of life on the planet, and the resulting "alien" civilization that results from their sentience, given their extreme difference from all the other lifeforms in both nature and appearance.
* YouNukeEm: One of the disasters available to be triggered by the player. [[NighInvulnerable Useless]] for stopping robots, though (and in fact, the main means of summoning them).
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