SimCity 4

Game review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
SimCity 4 Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
City building sim offers great entertainment & education.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 21 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game teaches kids that cities are complex and that problems are complicated but through hard work, can be resolved.

Ease of Play

While this game has a steep learning curve, the tutorials help.


Disasters such as tornados, fires, earthquakes, and even giant robots can wreck havoc on your city.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that players have the ability to bring down a massive series of disasters (such as tornadoes, fires, earthquakes) to reduce their cities to rubble.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycubiclewarrior December 30, 2017

good for administrative skills, experimentation, and creativity

You get an open slate of where you want to place stuff to see how your city grows. You have to balance a budget of not spending more than you take in (personal... Continue reading
Adult Written byALazyLemur January 31, 2012


this game is bad. :-(
Teen, 15 years old Written byKERO5 October 28, 2020

Nice game, but please learn how Mayors run their cities before playing this game

It is a nice game, because it has very cool graphics and a great concept, though according to Wikipedia, it was "...rather rushed.".

However, the l... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheLostPotato June 8, 2018

What's it about?

SIMCITY 4 carries on the tradition of the SimCity series by allowing you to be the all-powerful mayor of your own city. Start with a 100,000 simoleons (Sim-style dollars) and a city name. Zone land for people and jobs; plan roads, the water system, and the energy network; trade with nearby cities; establish schools, hospitals, and emergency services; create parks and gardens. Plant trees, create parks, and plan community gardens.

Graphs, charts, and maps aid you in your decisions, as does listening to your Sims, a major new element in the game. You can name individual Sims, decide where they will live, and then observe how your city-level decisions affect them. Place a school near your Sim and they have a better chance at getting a higher-paying job; poor health care means your Sim could get sick and even die.

Is it any good?

Who would have guessed running a city could be so challenging, yet so fun? Your city is surprisingly resilient and the game is forgiving as you learn how to make your city a better place to live. You cannot help but learn some of the mechanics of politics, economics, geography, and ecology. For example, you can see the positive impact of a well-designed mass-transit system -- how it affects congestion, pollution, and the quality of life -- but you also see its cost.

There is one violent element: disasters, which can be brought on either by random acts determined by the game or by the player. Tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and even giant robots can wreak havoc on your city. The game may not communicate the emotional impact of disasters very wel l-- something you may want to address as your children play the game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how these disasters may affect the people who live in the cities.

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $45-50
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Electronic Arts
  • Release date: October 7, 2003
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: E
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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