EA has decided to spread holiday cheer by giving away another free PC game. You can download classic simulator SimCity 2000 for a limited time without spending a single Simoleon.
The 1995 city-building game is available through Origin. Ordinarily, it costs $5.99 to purchase but anyone with a free Origin account can add it to their library permanently now even if they don't download the files right away.
SimCity 2000 was the second game in the long-running series. It expanded on the original game in a number of ways. Players now could build marinas, hospitals, prisons, schools, museums, libraries and (eventually) arcologies in their cities. The game also offered players several new infrastructure options such as subways and bus terminals. Highways could be built to other cities to provide an economic boost.
Like other games in the series, SimCity 2000 let players create their own cities or steer existing cities through historical crises. Some of these scenarios included the 1970s recession in Flint, Michigan or the 1989 hurricane in Charleston, South Carolina. Maxis also threw in some fictional events, like a monster attack in Hollywood and a nuclear meltdown in New York City.
The visuals may look antiquated now but they were a serious step up at the time. They allow players to see their buildings being constructed. Flourish communities were bright and colorful while a decaying neighborhood was dark and dim. These visual cues were enough to give your successes and failures extra weight.
SimCity 2000 also introduced a feature that has sadly died out: newspapers. Players received regular local papers filled with recaps of their city's events as well as amusing, fictional stories. These stories didn't have any actual impact on the game and were probably considered dead weight by developers of future installments. Still, the news stories about frog conventions or llamas gave the game a wacky charm.
The giveaway is part of EA's ongoing On The House promotion. Past freebies have included Dead Space, Battlefield 3 and Dragon Age: Origins.
"Our goal is to provide a great gaming experience and a way to discover awesome new games. Having a game in your library, for free, is a fantastic way to see what Origin is all about."
It's unclear how long the game will be free. Best hurry if you have even a passing interest in this game.