Past and present construction games
The construction and management simulation genre of gaming has evolved rapidly within the last 30-40 years. We look at games which have influenced generations and continue to inspire and educate players. Some construction games are now beginning to be incorporated into educational insitutions, highlighting their significance within the industry.
The Sims Franchise
Originally, released in 2000, the Sims franchise has become one of the most successful modern video-games of all time, winning several titles within the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition.
Amassing over $2.5 billion and over 180 million copies sold, the game has evolved, but the main concept of the game remains. Players create virtual figures named ‘Sims’, who either move into ready-made homes, or they build them, completing everyday tasks and interacting with other players or ‘Sims’ within the game.
Published by Gathering of Developers in 2001, the Tropico Franchise has remained popular since its original release in 2001 and has evolved to incorporate Tropico: Paradise Island, Mucho Macho, Pirate Cove, Tropico 3, 4 and 5.
The player is automatically given the role of ‘El Presidente’, commanding over a Caribbean island in the 1950s Cold War era.
The single player game is now available on a number of devices, but is most played as a PC game or through the Xbox console.
Winning a multitude of awards, Minecraft has become one of the most popular video games to be released worldwide since its release in 2009, achieving second place behind Tetris. With over 106 million copies sold, it has also become the most successful PC game of all time.
Influenced by past construction games Dwarf Fortress and Infiniminer, Minecraft is available on a variety of gaming devices, the three-dimensional sandbox game enables players to construct builds by utilising blocks, alongside battling and exploring either as one player or through multi player, in addition to utilising different modes in the game.
Players can also build armour, weapons and create other tools to support their progress within the game and utilise a variety of building materials, crossing a range of different landscapes.
The game has now entered the Lego franchise with the release of Micro World in 2012 and is now influencing educational institutions.
Released in 2003, Construction-Destruction is now discontinued, but allowed players to control construction vehicles and undertake construction jobs within the industry, incorporating 10 levels to progress and advance.
Since the original release of wooden toys created by carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932, Lego Group has become the oldest successful toy franchise in the world, with an amusement park, games, toys and retail stores worldwide to add to its brand.
Famous for its building blocks now made from plastic, they have enabled young children to build and construct from a young age, which has now been developed to incorporate online video games.
Released in 1997, Lego Island was one of the first online games where players could build and construct different structures on the island and undertake several missions as the game progressed. The game has since evolved with the release of Lego Island 2 (2001) and Island Xtreme Stunts (2002)
In addition, the original Lego Creator game, released in 1998 has evolved with Lego Creator: Knight’s Kindgdom and two Harry Potter games.
Also released in 1997 and re-released in 2010 through the Playstation Network, Constructor isreportedly being re-released in HD, with various upgrades to enhance the gameplay.
Within the original game, the player is the owner of a construction enterprise, with the sole aim to remain the best by ensuring the demise of any competition. The aim of the game is to construct builds to ensure building materials can be produced and houses can be built.
Developed by Vortex Media Arts and published by Hasbro Interactive, Tonka Construction was a 2D construction game where players could construct and design various structures. Sadly, the game is no longer available for future generations to enjoy.
Released in 1981, Utopia is one of the first construction and building games to be released. The two player game involves players controlling one island each, where each player constructs different structures to reflect the growing population on their islands, with the aim to beat the other player.
The length of the game is controlled through the use of turns, with the player with the highest score winning the game at the end.
Known to have influenced the City Life and Sequel Cities XL games, the Sim City franchise allows players to develop a city and build large structures, incorporating transport links and builds to accomodate the basic needs of the population.
Originally released in 1989 by Maxis, the franchise has developed to incorporate further elements within the game which will appeal to a new generation of gamers, with the release of SimCity 2000 (1994), SimCity 3000 (1999), SimCity 4 (2003), SimCity Societies (2007) and SimCity (2013), alongside several versions for portable devices and spin off versions.
One of the most successful editions has become SimCity BuildIt, released in 2014 for iOS and Androids.
Read the September 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine