What's the best SimCity Why
Why Cities: Skylines is the best game in the world - after SimCity
Maurice Gajda now spends a good part of his life jetting around the world: He travels as the presenter of the ProSieben show Global gladiators through Africa, shoots reports about NASA and is just back in Berlin after a documentary production about Chinese smartphone factories. As a counterbalance to work, he has been using what is perhaps the most fiddly, most complicated video game genre of all for years: Maurice is one of the greatest urban planning simulator nerds under the sun. For years he has SimCity played - until the last edition of the urban development series disappointed him so much ("you couldn't develop a real city at all!") that he became a major competitor Cities: Skylines has overflowed.
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Since we in the Motherboard editorial team also love life as gaming mayors, it was immediately clear to us: We had to talk to Maurice about the often underestimated beauty of
Talk shop and let him explain exactly why
is currently the best game in the world. In the interview Maurice told us about the "sick do-gooder fantasy" of his city Jellenborg and was so enthusiastic about the opportunity that even after the microphone was long gone, he continued to talk about traffic light programming, mod compatibility and identity-creating rocks.
Why is Cities: Skylines the best game in the world?
It's the most realistic city simulator I've seen. And besides realism, modding is the thing for me. There are hundreds of thousands of people who make mods for the game every day and take the game to a new level. You can recreate half of Berlin, add absurd but realistic things to the game: Recreate your gas station or your favorite supermarket and then put it in the city. This is also the addiction problem that you keep loading new mods and developing them further. A totally sick ... do-gooder fantasy, because you want to build a great city.
Others have pictures of dogs, children and cats on their mobile phones - Maurice prefers to show us his city. Image: Motherboard / Rebecca Rütten.
What is the most important mod for you?
For me, the Traffic President was the most important mod until the current update, because there were already traffic lights and main roads. Lane approvals in there. You could even create zebra crossings. And the Road Namer! So that you could name streets. I name every single street after someone I know.
... is there a Dennis Kogel Street !?
Is there. It should be somewhere in an inner city area. I don't want to give too much away because there are many, many names in my city.
In contrast to other players, Maurice Gajda would never put his city online - because that would be just too personal for him. Image: Motherboard / Rebecca Rütten.
Do you have a favorite street in your city?
The Borg avenue. B O R G. Named after the… Borg from Star Trek. This is a street that has been around for a very, very long time. It gradually developed with the city. If you Cities: Skylines you have to be ready to tear down. That is also the problem: people build a city and then cannot part with roads. Borg-Allee goes through the inner core of the city. It was once a two-lane road, then I widened it to a four-lane road. Then a tram was added. Left and right skyscrapers, all in neo-Gothic style like in New York. My favorite street. Three tram lines, two bus lines go over it.
View of Maurice Gajda's favorite four-lane street: Borg-Allee. Image: Screenshot of Maurice Gajda, courtesy of Paradox Interactive
Is there a motorway there too?
Highway!? You're not building a motorway right through your city. What kind of someone are you? It's ugly. There are shops. And sights.
When did you realize that you'd rather be a city planner than a moderator?
Hey, I really care! I was born in Magdeburg and I always asked myself why they do it this way and that !? Why not so? But my passion for town planning was already there when my brother was back then SimCity 1 played on the Amiga. I was only allowed to watch, my brother only let me watch, I was never allowed to play myself. And that's where it started.
This modder wants to make the game world more beautiful - tree by tree
It's a bit like my TV addiction. I never had my own TV and I always wanted to have my own pocket TV, I never got it. And when I grew up, I started putting a TV in each of my rooms.
Empty spaces cause frustration for Maurice: "Because I know how long it takes for it to become a lively city." Image: Motherboard / Rebecca Rütten
Has the role games play in your life changed over the years?
Yes, yes. Today games are like calming therapy for me. Sit down for two or three hours and continue building my city, totally relaxed. I also build cities for years. But it is bad when there are updates because they destroy the mods. I actually sit for hours and then fix it. For example, I'm angry with the last update. For certain lanes on roads you could allow certain cars with a mod. Then trucks are only allowed to drive in the right lane. That's how I did traffic jam control. The function is now gone. I had to rebuild the bus station, that sucks.
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Do your friends actually know about your loveCities: Skylines?
Everyone knows that. And they make fun of it regularly. You know ... that's why I find it so irritating that you take me so seriously. Because ... I'm always laughed at for it. And mine was in my old editorial office at joiz Cities: SkylinesObsession such a running gag. I'm as nervous about an add-on as others may be when they are Starwars love and then look forward to it for days in advance and be excited.
The name for Jellenborg is made up of the name of a friend Maurice talked to while building - and the Borg from Star Trek. Image: Screenshot Maurice Gajda, courtesy of Paradox Interactive.
I'm really bad at city simulations and only build horror cities. How do I get better?
You have to look for something on the map that creates identity. My city has giant stones in the middle. And that's why I started building. This is the city center. And by the way, Borg-Allee is also building directly on it. If you have that, then that's cool, you're making up a fictional story around your city. That does something ... that's basically head cinema.
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