A classic genre that began pretty much with the release of Maxis’ Sim City in 1989, city-building games are a mainstay of PC gaming and the grandfather of simulation games in general, especially those that put you in charge of some larger organization.
Each city-building game differs on what it focuses on, with some games giving players an almost limitless number of options when it comes to taxation, laws, and micromanagement of their city to the more big picture games that focus instead on increasing population or achieving goals such as placing landmarks within your city.
There are also city-building games that are themed to a certain historical epoch or period and often these games will reflect this period in their architectural design.
One unifying theme found in city-building games is that the player has control over the future course their citizens’ homes take. Do you want legalized gambling in your town? Or how about a curfew? Do you want a bustling metropolis or a quiet rural farm town? The choice is yours as mayor or whatever title you’re bestowed within these games.
A close relative of city-building games are the strategy games like Civilization and Age of Empires, both of which have gameplay elements similar to those found in city-building games but which are fundamentally different in scope or focus (the former centering on the rise of a civilization and the latter on the rise of a civilization’s military prowess). Regardless of title city-building games tend to rely heavily on player customization and much of the enjoyment gamers have playing these titles relies upon how much of that they are willing to engage in or enjoy.