NEW! The Debug Menu
The Debug Menu, discovered in January 2009, is so complex, we’ve devoted an entire “subsection” to it… click here to visit NEW Section 4.1 of the SimCity SNES guide and learn all about the Debug Menu. Then come back for all the “original” cheats and time-honored strategies that’ll help you build a successful city.
The Million Dollar Code
It’s a little tricky, but well worth it, especially if you want to get your city started quickly. Follow these steps very carefully. If you don’t get it exactly right, you’ll need to let another “game year” pass by before you can try again.
- Make sure you have some PD’s, FD’s and transportation expenses on the budget.
- Spend all your money and wait until December.
- When the tax screen comes up (automatically, as it does every December) press and HOLD the L Button. Move the pointer down to “Go With Figures” and press B to exit the tax screen.
- Immediately go back to the tax screen again.
- Raise your police, fire and transportation funding levels to 100%. Again, move to “Go With Figures” and press B to exit the tax screen.
- Get rid of the submenu.
- Now that you’re back to the regular city screen, let go of the L Button. You should have $999,999.
- Repeat whenever necessary.
Why doesn’t this work? Can I use this on the Wii?
After someone contacted me asking if this trick works on the Wii… I tried it myself, and I can personally confirm the Million Dollar Code DOES work on the Wii Virtual Console. If it doesn’t seem to be working for you, here are a few extra things to watch out for.
- It may help to lower your tax rate sometime before December. If you’re making enough tax revenue to cover your police/fire/transportation expenses, the trick may not work. The point is that you need to be LOSING money. I lower my tax to 1%. You could do 0%, but I’m not sure if that would mess it up.
- Make sure your game speed is on “slow” before December. If you’re on a faster speed, there’s a chance the game could advance to January before you get through all this button-pressing. You need to complete the entire code before the game rolls over to January.
- Check the above directions again — and note that you do need to be holding the “L” button the entire time from steps 3 through 7. If you let go of L at any time, you’ll need to do it all over again.
- Also remember, you need to have ZERO dollars before the tax screen pops up in December.
Just to show I’m not making any of this up, here’s a picture I took from my TV screen after testing the Million Dollar Code out with my Wii.
If you don’t get it right, you’ll have to wait until the game makes it around to the next December before you can try again. That’s no so bad in a brand new city with only a couple thousand people… but it is a major problem if you’re repeating this trick decades later with a much larger city that just can’t afford to go without police, fire or transportation services for an entire year.
To avoid major headaches, I suggest you save your game in the November before you attempt the trick. That way, if you mess up… you can reload and try again.
Time to Make the Donuts!
My favorite way to increase zoning (and population) was always to build what one of the strategy guides referred to as “Donut Blocks.” As seen in the picture, it’s a 3×3 block of zones, surrounded by train tracks. Just like a donut, you’re building a ring of zones, and leaving the middle empty (for now). Make sure you “pair up” the residential and commercial blocks, because 2 adjoining R or C zones can eventually join together as a “TOP” zone, which is the best you can get. You’ll need many of these if you ever want to reach “megalopolis” status with 500,000 people. Once you’ve got your blocks zoned out, the middle area offers a convenient place for items that don’t need to be right next to transportation… things like police stations, fire stations, parks and “gift” buildings. The game doesn’t care whether people can actually access these properties — it only checks to see if they exist, period.
What about industrial zones?
Because they cause pollution, you don’t really want them that close to your R and C zones. I don’t include them in donut blocks. Rather, I try to scatter Industrial zones in areas along the edges of my landform — so that way, half the pollution (and crime) actually goes off the map, where it doesn’t get counted.
Zoning Plan “B”
Another SimCity fan by the name of Ben Reynolds e-mailed me once to say he disagrees with donut blocks. Instead, he prefers to build “columns” of zones, that are 2 zones wide, as seen in the diagram. (The columns are only 3 zones tall for the illustration at left… but you can build them as long as you want. I’d probably go about 5 or 6 zones tall myself.) This also allows for “TOP” buildings to form, but Ben claims it uses space more efficiently, allowing him to earn populations exceeding 550,000. Ben also suggests making sure your waterfront areas are reserved for C zones — they seem to do better than other zone types along the water. Finally, Ben agrees that Industrial zones are best placed near the edges of your landform. Unfortuately, he never said where things like police stations or gifts fall into his method. Guess you’ll have to figure that out on your own!
Using Landfills Effectively
The game keeps track of how much open, untouched land is left. As you get close to running out, you’ll get a few chances to build 3×3 landfills in any body of water. I would suggest putting these together, so that you can put 2 R or C zones next to each other. Waterfront property always gets a high value, so the land value of being IN the water almost guarantees the two zones will form a TOP.
Still Need More Room?
SimCity SNES doesn’t allow you to choose how large and small your airports or seaports are. But, there is a trick to downsize them –and the game won’t care. As a plane is flying over an airport, seaport or stadium, go to the disasters menu and choose Plane Crash. Usually, the crash will take out a few random tiles. As long as just one tile of the facility survives, the game still thinks the entire building is there. Just make sure there’s a fire department nearby so the fire doesn’t spread!
SimCity’s simulation engine isn’t smart enough to “know” whether your seaport is actually next to water. It only wants a yes or no answer to the question, “does a seaport exist in this city?” As long as you have a seaport anywhere on the map, the game is happy. Don’t waste valuable waterfront property on a seaport.
Instead, build it off to the corner of the map, or at least on an edge. That way, half of the crime and pollution generated by the seaport will go off the edge of the map — where it won’t have any effect on your city. (The same applies for ANY item that creates pollution… including coal power plants, industrial zones and airports. Save the corners for the “biggies” — coal power, airports and seaports. These generate the most pollution, so putting them on the corner reduces the effect by more than just putting them along an edge.)