Section 6: The Infamous Startup Bug

The biggest problem with the SuperNES version of SimCity happens when you try to load a saved game. For the first few “game months” after loading a city file, the simulation thinks your power plants are off, for no apparent reason.  The stupid lightning symbol will flash over EVERY building in your city for awhile.

This obviously has a detrimental effect on many other aspects of your city. Even if you pause the game, you can’t stop this from happening. That’s why, on the SuperNES, I’d only sit down to play if I knew I had a good long time to get lots of stuff done.  This bug makes it impossible to play for only 15 or 30 minutes at a time.  Your city needs time to “recover” from this bug.  If you start and stop often, the impacts of having several individual month-long power outages will only build upon each other and really screw up your city.

However, if you’re playing on an emulator, you can avoid this defect. Just use your emulator’s “save state” and “load state” features, rather than using the game’s own save and load functions.  Without getting into a longwinded technical explanation, the emulator’s “states” allow you to pick up a game seamlessly from any point, as if you never stopped playing.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, the legality of emulators is questionable… but you can still enjoy similar effects while staying 100% legal.  Nintendo offered a similar workaround when the game was re-released as a Virtual Console download via the Wii Shop Channel.  When you exit back out to the Wii Menu, the game will save a “resume point” — very similar to saving a state on a PC-based emulator.  When you come back, the Virtual Console will let you pick up from that resume point.

However, there’s a catch with Nintendo’s way of doing things: you can only have one resume point at a time.  If you’re using both of SimCity’s “save” files (to work on two different cities) you’ll still need to use the game’s native save and load functions to switch between cities… and the game’s native “load” feature is what triggers this annoying glitch.  But as long as you’re the only person using SimCity, and you’re only working on one city… you can just use the resume point every time you come back.  It’ll be just like you left your SNES on constantly and there won’t be any startup bug.

Questions?  E-mail me!