It was Christmas of 2002 and I was utterly in love with everything The Sims and The Sims-esque. I was hesitantly unwrapping presents as it was the norm for me. I vehemently hated (and still do) presents with all of my being. My mom was pretty obvious with the wrapping of video games though; you just knew what you were getting. I unwrapped my present and had this weird-ass game in my hands.
I looked at my mom in confusion. “What’s this?” I asked her. My mom kinda shrugged and said, “It looks like something you’d play.” My mom and I have had a very simple code in place since I was a teenager. She buys me things that she thinks look weird and she knows that I will love them. My mom’s been pretty dang spot on ever since, mini-cupcake maker, FTW!
I digress. Anyway, I put this game in my Ps2 and 6 hours later, it was 4 a.m. This is not abnormal for this game. It is a huge time suck. It caters to OCD people like me. There are so many things to do. So many things to create. So many people to friend! What is this game and why does it steal all of your time away? Allow me to tell you!
Natsume’s Metropolismania for Playstation 2 is a quirky little city builder game. Calling it quirky pretty much just scratches the surface. You go through different stages as a man in a dashing yellow suit building towns and helping residents. This may seem basic and pretty dang easy, but holy shit. It is most definitely not. There are obstacles that are thrown your way such as a robbery, cavemen, and even aliens! Oh my!
You start your game off with a seemingly simple task:
NBD. I got this. You are dropped in the middle of nothing and expected to weave some gold. This is where your creativity is let run wild. You have a piece o’ chalk and this is where your streets come to life. Yeah. With a single click, you’re making streets with a piece of chalk. You are given something like 30 names of residents (pictured below) and can place them wherever you like. Don’t waste too much time creating streets or else your citizens will place themselves. Oh fiddlesticks! Whenever I first played this game, I’ll be totally honest. I used 0 logic to place my buildings. You don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into while you’re placing these buildings. You just kinda place them and go. That’s when the complaints come in from your residents and they pretty much spit on your last 2 hours of hard work. You now are basically playing Tetris at this point because you have to place these new buildings in the correct spot or else your people peace out.
As I mentioned before, you go through different stages and each stage has a different goal. The first stage, you have to get 200 people to live in your city. This seems easy and honestly, it is; however, if you go onto the next stage the second you meet the goal, you will be screwed. Why? While you are building your city, you meet different characters along the way. If you don’t build up enough of these people into Best Friends, you pretty much go into the next stage blind. You can gain a registry called the Town’s Pages that compiles all of your contacts to take with you through the stages. Stage two, you have a narrowed down goal. You have to get 500 people to live in your city and 20% of the building have to be offices. They also throw a wrench in the gears and you have to help solve a robbery. The reason this sucks? No one in the town will talk to you. Things like this become a pattern throughout the next stages and it can be a huge pain. Stage three introduces a cult aptly named Krazy Kult. A citizen in town asks if a dudebro by the name of Azuka can join the town and you absolutely cannot say no or else your progress halts. Everyone is now hypnotized by the Krazy Kult and even your Best Friends in town can’t even help you expand. This is where your networking powers from earlier stages are utilized, and tested, the most. Stage four introduces cavemen. Stage five introduces aliens. After stage five, the population requirements go pretty much until infinity–or so I have been told.
The final little piece of this puzzle are friends. Friendships are huge in this game and the type of people you meet are pretty freaking hilarious. The hilarity and basic-ness of the people’s names probably are my favorite part. They have pretty stereotypical names such as: Ambitious Trendy Guy, Middle-Aged Shameless Woman, Nerd Who Loves Computers And Video Games, Workaholic Middle-Aged Grouchy Man, Athletic Guy Who Likes To Check Out Girls, Mellow Girl Who Can Forecast Weather, and Gal With Heavy Make-Up, just to name my favorites. You have different relationship statuses: “Stranger”, “Know The Face”, “Acquaintance”, “Friend”, and “Best Friend”. As I mentioned before, gaining best friends is integral in all stages. You use “gossip” to strengthen your connection, but watch out because some gossip topics do not work with some people. For example, you wouldn’t want to talk about a hot affair in town with the Workaholic Middle-Aged Grouchy Man. That’s just dumb, guys
So that’s Metropolismania! What’s one of your favorite games that gets you all nostalgic?
Let me know in the comments below!
All photos courtesy of Natsume, Inc.