EA Donates Original SimCity to OLPC Program

By David Peralty
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

SimCity ClassicWith the One Laptop Per Child initiative, America is finally getting technology in the hands of people around the world that barely have access to fresh, clean water. And what does Electronic Arts contribute to the OLPC Program? The original 1989 edition of SimCity. Now people in third world countries that get access to the inexpensive laptop will be able to build a pixelated, virtual city which could have a bigger population than the real city they live in.

While I do think its great that the video game maker decided to give away a free game to the program, couldn’t they have at least given a slightly more up to date version like SimCity 2000?

I should note that the OLPC’s are not the most powerful machines in respect to video graphics and screen resolution, so maybe it was the best game they could get working on the machine. As a child, this game sparked my imagination for hours, and lead me into a Sim-madness as I played nearly all of their other properties, from SimAnt, to SimCity 3000.

From the press release:

OLPC will begin distributing laptops in countries such as Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia and India by the end of 2007. The idea to connect SimCity with OLPC came from internet pioneer, activist and OLPC advisor John Gilmore who knew the game’s history and recognized its potential relevance to the not-for-profit project. Not long after its 1989 release, SimCity became a phenomenon, winning more than 24 domestic and international awards. The game soon made its way into more than 10,000 classrooms as an educational tool and became part of the annual Future City Competition, a contest that still runs in seventh and eighth grade classrooms today.

What do you think, was this a smart and helpful move? I suppose it will help them get their branding to a new, untapped market long before other gaming labels have a chance to.

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