The Game History Foundation video has provided great service to the world this Christmas by making playable ROMs from the publicly available SimCity NES prototype. Originally considered lost to the world, the unfinished game was last seen by playtesters at the 1991 Winter Consumer Electronics Show before being quietly canceled. Twenty-six years later in 2017, two playable cartridges appeared at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, one of which was labeled with the date of manufacture on December 20, 1990. One of the cartridges was sold to a collector, and the other to the original. owner. The Video Game History Foundation also made an agreement with the owner to make a digital copy of the game, to archive it.
The Game History Foundation Video has spent the past several months painstakingly combing SimCity for the NES, noting any changes, omissions, or other peculiarities in the game compared to its SNES and PC counterparts. There are small pieces here and there that are different, or even exclusive to the NES version, including the design for Dr. Wright, who was previously only seen in US marketing for SimCity on the SNES, with a darker tone and traditional tie, than a bow tie. Bowser is also missing from the scenario of monster attacks, instead the game displays generic monsters during the attack.
There are also some things missing from the NES version, it is incomplete. There are sprites and tiles related to certain scenarios of the SNES version, like UFOs, but they are not attached to anything in this prototype. Some of these additional tiles are also missing from other SimCity buildings on any platform, which implies that certain other additions are planned for the SimCity version of Nintendo before being removed. The NES version also has some math that is chaotic when it comes to certain property values, and actually prevents from building and existing tiles, such as amusement parks and train stations. There is also an error that allows for easy unlimited money at the end of the year in the game, but there may be features left for the purpose of demoing games.
There is also a project being worked on by a friend from the Video Game History Foundation, CaH4e3 (pronounced Sanchez) to dig through game files and start restoring the cut feature and fixing bugs in the build. As mentioned above, the Foundation has also made playable ROMs available to anyone and all who are interested in trying out the NES prototype from the game that launched the city builder genre. You can read more about how SimCity is archived by visiting the Video Game History Foundation webpage here.