Space Ramblings

Electronics Art is All Heart

Electronic Arts wants to use a simulated city game to promote actual learning in third-world countries. The publisher today announced that it is donating the 1989 city-building classic SimCity to the nonprofit group One Laptop per Child (OLPC). The game is currently free to play online via EA’s Web site.

So what exactly is the donation part? I like Sim City as much as the next guy but this game is already free to play over the internet and it’s from 1989. Notice the 1989 part? Games from 1989 are basically Abandonware. I’m sure there’s some EA lawyer who runs around serving takedown notices to Abandonware websites, but that doesn’t really carry much weight or water.

The fact of the matter is that Electronic Arts in its typically slimy way is trying to promote the giveaway of a game that Maxis actually released and that is currently available to anyone and that’s built around a 1989 interface and a 1989 graphics as some sort of charity effort for all the poor third world kids who can probably get a CD of Sim City 4000 for a few cents from just about any third world retailer who typically carries 100 percent pirated software. Big whoop. I’m sure the kids will be falling all over themselves at this fabulous opportunity.

“By gifting SimCity onto each OLPC laptop, EA is providing users with an entertaining way to engage with computers as well as help develop decision-making skills while honing creativity,” the company said.

Yes, I’m sure while the kids in Cambodia are dodging bullets, they’ll enjoy seeing Godzilla stamp to pieces a major American city. Hopefully EA has at least jettisoned the annoying red page copy protection scheme that came with the original game.

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