When architecture critic Justin Davidson started playing Sim City, he had dreams of building a utopia. A lifetime of experience had given Davidson an idea of how to craft his dream city, but he soon discovered Electronic Arts' city-building simulation was restrictive. Unable to recreate a "chaotically functional" city like New York, he found himself obeying the game's rules, marking out sets of industrial, commercial, and residential zones, looking to fatten his budget and grow the population. If a property doesn't work out? Knock it down and build another. Need to build a new road? Bulldoze some properties and get it done.

Davidson soon found economic prosperity by partnering with his 15-year-old son, the owner of another virtual city across the bay. The pair shared power and resources while workers made the daily commute across the water. But the balance of these dual metropolises was soon destroyed when Davidson struck oil. Residences, stores, malls, and their Sims' well-being were all cast aside in the pursuit of the black nectar, and the wealth that came with it. Within hours, the cities, and their citizens' lives, were in ruins, but does that really matter when, in a few clicks, you can raze your metropolis and start again?