The new game touts enhanced multiplayer options but doesn't sacrifice the pure world-building joy that inspired these veteran Simmers to go into real-life urban planning and design.
"I remember being a grad student and leaving SimCity on for days at a time with certain policies in place to see what would happen. There were these automated urban planners that would make suggestions, and I always liked them. That's the biggest reason I considered this as a career."
Drew Williams-Clark, principal planner at Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
"I'm a transit geek. In the SimCity game I played in the '80s, you would put down a train station, lay some rails, and then see what happens. One of my favorite exercises in grad school was to plan a bus system in a place that didn't have any transportation."
Manzell Blakeley, city planner at the New York City Department of Transportation
"I grew up in a rapidly suburbanizing county near Seattle. Playing SimCity and seeing the growth in my area helped me realize that what was happening wasn't inevitable. People were making choices, and that's why the city was being developed the way it was."
Sarah Dominguez, U.S. EPA fellow and grad student in urban planning at the University of Southern California
"SimCity was a powerful stimulant in getting me to realize that design could happen at a much larger scale than an individual object. I learned that a city can be designed but is also very complex. It was excellent in getting me to understand the systems that interact in a city."
Brent Ryan, assistant professor of urban design and public policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A version of this article appeared in the March 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.