Sim City helps Societies
Heard of the One Laptop Per Child initiative? Probably, but just in case here's a summary. It's a charitable endeavour to provide computers to children in developing and impoverished nations. The XO Latop is a bespoke and dirt-cheap machine (a donation of just $200 sees one sent out to a child in need on the other side of the world) designed first and foremost for learning, but with the added benefit of being a compelling piece of technology in its own right. Oh, and it plays games.
A while back, Sims developers Maxis revealed they were working on a special version of SimCity to run on the XO. It's ideal, really - as well as being one of gaming's bona fide classics, its emphasis on statistics and organisation slots it neatly into the educational category too.
Seems there's been some progress, as spotted by GamePolitics on the blog of Don Hopkins, one of the programmers on the original SimCity. There's a ton of information about it on the blog, including its origins, its future (it'll be open source, which hopefully means some fascinating mods) and how it differs from SimCity. I'll leave you to read that in your own time, and jump straight to the video of it in action:
Looks pretty sweet, I reckon, and better than poorly-reviewed series newbie SimCity Societies.
Oh, and if you fancy an XO of your own, the recently-opened Give One Get One scheme will have one sent to a child in a developing nation, and one to you for $399. The offer's only open until November 26th, and to Americans and Canadians only. Which is really annoying, as I'd totally do it - philanthropy and gadgetfuntime for me in one neat package would make me a happy boy. Curse my Britishness.