EA Donates Original SimCity to One Laptop Per Child

Today Electronic Arts Inc. announced the company will donate the original SimCity™ — the blockbuster 1989 game credited with giving rise to the city-building game genre—to each computer in the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative. OLPC is a not-for-profit humanitarian effort to design, manufacture and distribute inexpensive laptops with the goal of giving every child in the world access to modern education. By gifting SimCity onto each OLPC laptop, EA is providing users with an entertaining way to engage with computers as well as help develop decision-making skills while honing creativity. This is the first time a major video game publisher has gifted a game to the world.

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.

View: Press Release

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45 Comments

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WOW!!!!!!! I can't believe they're going to donate this game!!!!!!! Much like I'm going to donate a poop in the toilet tonight. Or how I'm going to donate my dirty napkin to the waste basket.

Talk about your all-time non stories - there are shareware games way better than this.

here's how I see it

it's a lame attempt at introducing brand recognition in a market where they didn't have a chance in a milion to enter before the OLPC

This is the first time a major video game publisher has gifted a game to the world.

So it was my emagination a couple of months ago when EA released the original C&C free to the world. :suspicious:

Yes... they are the "first"... this week.

c e 3 2 0 said,

So it was my emagination a couple of months ago when EA released the original C&C free to the world. :suspicious:

Yes... they are the "first"... this week.

I suppose it depends what they mean. I know rockstar released a few of their games for free, ID is forever releasing source code to their games so unless the author of this article is just a bit thick, I can only assume they mean that this is the first time someone has released both source AND content for free.

Kushan said,

I suppose it depends what they mean. I know rockstar released a few of their games for free, ID is forever releasing source code to their games so unless the author of this article is just a bit thick, I can only assume they mean that this is the first time someone has released both source AND content for free.

Nothing in the press release suggests they're releasing the source code, nor even that the general public can download it...

eAi said,
Nothing in the press release suggests they're releasing the source code.

It's my understanding that the guy behind it wants nothing but open source software, so it might well be.

lol, wow. . .nice one EA

you couldn't even give them at least simcity 2000 (which will run on any pc with a pentium or higher)

as much as i loved the original, thats almost an insult to bundle that with modern system

And of course the fact a NEW version of SimCity is released next week has nothing to do with this low cost stunt.

Wow I remember the old SimCity!!!, To copy protect the game, there was a red booklet that came with the game that had like 100 codes (well a lot anyway) When the game began, you'd put in the code that matches the pattern, and the game would begin without disasters happening every few seconds. lol. Good times!

Indeed, in booklet was actually printed in black ink on very dark brown paper which could not be photocopied.
It was the first anti-piracy protection I'd seen, and worked well for a while.

Hmm, my versions of the original (windows 3.1) and the dos interplay multimedia enhanced version (which had funny videos play with real people like a news lady for when disasters happend) never had such a protection.

billyea said,
isn't the original simcity free to play ONLINE?

Exactly what I thought. It's been free for quite a while now so this is just a publicity stunt.

neufuse said,
original? geez give them 2000 its much better!

agreed, with the specs of these machines being year-1999 spec and with SC 200 being from before 95... 1992 or 1993 wasnt it ? it would run it perfectly fine... lets face it, ea are donating the smidest piece of crap they could find just to get publicity, i think they should get bad publicity for being so lame

n_K said,

agreed, with the specs of these machines being year-1999 spec and with SC 200 being from before 95... 1992 or 1993 wasnt it ? it would run it perfectly fine... lets face it, ea are donating the smidest piece of crap they could find just to get publicity, i think they should get bad publicity for being so lame

I can run SimCity 2000 on my 400mhz ARM PDA, I'd imagine the OLPC can run it. 2000 is a considerably better game, still good fun now even with the new versions out.

Budious said,
"the blockbuster 1989 game" - 1999?

You're right... SimCity... I was speed reading this as the Sims which explains comment #2.0 as well :P

Budious said,
"the blockbuster 1989 game" - 1999?


Now that's a laugh... this game came free on an ancient Win95 Compaq Presario and never worked. Probably just as well being as when it did run in short spurts (before Win95 crashed that is) I found it phenomenally boring and thought "if this is what is called gaming, I'll pass".

For 3rd world countries however, it may give children hope and aspire to improving their lands of origin - and that's a very [b]good thing.

I think leaving aside the fact it's EA... this is a nice thing. Because after all they own the rights to the game, so releasing it for free to this OLPC initiative doesn't seem bad to me.

Of course, opinions differ and whenever a hated company does something good, people will start looking at some way to put it down.

Or, from another point of view, they probably arent losing a cent by releasing an oldass game. I don't think it should even count as a "donation"

Yeah, just what these poor kids want, to simulate rich luxurious America without ever really experiencing it. Sounds like a tease to me.

Budious said,
Yeah, just what these poor kids want, to simulate rich luxurious America without ever really experiencing it. Sound s like a tease to me.

There's nothing luxurious about the game. It's a commerce/politics simulation within a city.

Budious said,
You're right... SimCity... I was speed reading this as the Sims which explains comment #2.0 as well

I got them a wee mixed up. :P