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SimCity moves to mobile phones

US carriers offer portable city planning

EA (Electronic Arts) has released a version of its addictive city simulation game for mobile phones.

SimCity is available on five US mobile carriers, including Cingular Wireless LLC, Verizon Wireless and US Cellular, an EA spokesman said. EA plans to add more carriers in the future.

Players can create and manage a city's growth, taking on the roles of city planner and mayor. The new mobile version is a simplified version of the game, based on the original 1989 SimCity release, the EA spokesman said. All the major functions of the game are included, he said.

Players can choose a set of city maps, then plan residential, commercial and industrial areas. They can install roads and railways, police and fire stations, parks, and stadia. As the city begins to take shape, be prepared to deal with unavoidable challenges such as crime, pollution, fires, tornados and even a monster attack. On top of that, players must maintain a balanced budget. The ultimate goal is to attract as many Sim citizens as possible to the city.

The mobile version allows players to build cities on multiple game maps with unique challenges. Players also have eight tool categories that have the ability to plan, plot, build, bulldoze, replot and manage a city. A tool will allow players to keep track of your city statistics, like crime, pollution and traffic levels to determine which areas need the most attention.

EA, in Redwood City, California, called SimCity one of the "most significant game franchises" of the past 20 years. "For the first time, players will have the ability to pick up and build a city while on the go - any time, any place," Travis Boatman, vice president worldwide studios for EA Mobile, said in a statement.

SimCity has spawned several variations of the title, including SimEarth, SimPark and The Sims.


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