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Video Game / SimTower

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SimTower: The Vertical Empire is Maxis' 1994 simulation game American adaptation of Yoot's Tower, whose gameplay is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The player is put in the role of an owner and chief executive of a massive urban development project in an unnamed city, going through five stages of gameplay, in order to achieve the coveted title of Tower. These stages are:

  • One Star: Allows access only to the basic facilities, namely lobbies, offices, condominiums, fast food joints, standard elevators, blank floors, and stairs.
  • Two Stars: Achieved with 300 people (be they permanent residents, tenants, hotel customers, or visitors), and grants access to single hotel rooms, housekeeping offices, service elevators and security offices.
  • Three Stars: Achieved with 1,000 people, and grants access to escalators, express elevators, restaurants, retail shops, movie theatres, party halls, parking ramps, parking spaces, medical centers, recycling centers, double hotel rooms and hotel suites.
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  • Four Stars: Achieved with 5,000 people, a favorable VIP rating, 2 or more hotel suites and the satisfaction of recycling, parking and medical needs. Allows access to the Metro Station.
  • Five Stars: Achieved with 10,000 people and a Metro Station. Allows access to the Cathedral. In order to achieve Tower status, the Cathedral must be placed on the 100th Floor (the highest floor available) and a wedding held.

SimTower was originally developed by Japanese programmer Yoot Saito as simply Tower, independent of Maxis. Saito eventually developed a sequel, Yoot Tower, which was released stateside by Sega.

Confusingly, Tower was re-released for iOS devices, but since Electronic Arts owns the "Sim" name, it was named Yoot Tower, which was the name of The Tower II. It was also ported to Android with the name Droid Towers. SimTower was not released for DOS and is only playable on Windows 3.1.


This video game provides examples of:

  • Actually Four Mooks: Inverted; some people sprites display a mother and child, but they're still counted the same as other tenants in population and satisfaction calculations.
  • African Terrorists/Scary Black Man: The terrorist in the image for the terrorist bomb threat event is a Cool Shades-wearing black trenchcoated fellow who looks like he could've wandered in from Nigeria.
  • Aloha, Hawaii!: In Yoot Tower, the "easy" tower.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You
  • B-Movie/Epic Movie: The two types of film available for screening at the theatre seem to fit into these categories, judging by their parodic titles.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game gets substantially harder at three stars, though to be fair the player's given the most facilities at this level. Going from four stars to five isn't so hard but can take forever and offers you very few new things to build to help pass the time.
    • There are two types of elevators that most people can use: the express elevator, which stops every 15 floors, and the standard elevator, which only goes 30 floors. This means it's easiest to get to three stars while sticking to 30 above-ground floors. But while you can fill up another 15-30 floors easily with all the cool stuff you get at three stars, after that, building the rest of the tower can become very tedious.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: A rare non-RPG example. The highest ranking requires a tower to reach to the maximum amount of stories, though it is fully possible to do so in a thin vertical line.
  • Sinister Subway / Subways Suck: Averted; the Subway is a good facility well worth the enormous investment of $1,000,000, which can be a great boost to your commercial facilities.
  • Spiritual Successor: NimbleBit's Tiny Tower and Kairosoft's Mega Mall Story.
    • More recently SomaSim's's Project Highrise attempts to most closely follow the formula, down to mimicking mush of the art style and actual mechanics.
  • Work Info Title: The "Sim" in the title lets you know it's a Simulation Game.


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