Play SimCity in 2023

Here are some notes and tips for you to try the whole SimCity series in 2023.

SimCity Classic (1989)

SimCity Classic in website, which lets you try the classic version of Mac OS 9, includes a fully playable version you can play in the browser.

They also provide SimCity 2000 1.2.

SimCity 2000 in

SimCity 2000 (1995)

SimCity 2000 Network Edition

You can get the game from EA or GOG.

Both versions are emulated with DOSBox. So if you want to try the Windows version, you must use a virtual machine. The good news is that there are free options on both Windows and macOS.

On Windows, PCem lets you simulate an old PC. You can build your own configuration by selecting CPU, video, sound, and other peripherals.

On macOS, UTM is a free and open-source virtual machine that can emulate most architectures. They even have a gallery for you to download and configure a virtual machine quickly.

Here is SimCity 2000 running on emulated Mac OS 9:


VirtualBox is also a great and free option. But if you are using an M1/M2 Mac, UTM is currently the only usable option for you to emulate x86 on M1/M2.

SimCity 3000 (2000)

You can get the game from GOG.

GOG even provides a patch for the game to run under higher resolutions.

I recently got a refurbished ThinkPad for running some old Windows games. SimCity 3000 is running beautifully 1080P on this T460 with this HD patch.


Once you have a virtual machine running Windows, SimCity 3000 will run perfectly in a virtual machine.

SimCity 4 (2003)

SimCity 4 is available on both Steam and Mac App Store.

The Mac App Store version is an Apple Silicon native app! But if you run it on a Mac with a notch, you may find it only provides 4:3 resolutions and has some click issues.

SimCity 4

So it's best to run the Mac version on a Mac without a notch. The M1 MacBook Air is perfect for this game. Seeing such a complex game can run perfectly on such thin hardware is fantastic.

On Windows, you can pass these arguments to run SimCity 4 at a higher resolution:

-CustomResolution:enabled -r1920x1080x32 -intro:off -CPUcount:1

There is also a 4GB patch to make it possible for the game to use more memory.

SimCity 4 has a very active mod community, you can find many amazing creations on these community sites:

The SC4 Mapper tool linked above can turn a real-world map into a SimCity region!

SimCity (2013)

You can get SimCity (2013) from EA or Mac App Store.

On macOS, if you encounter an issue that the game is only showing partially on the screen, pressing CTRL+F to switch between fullscreen/window can resolve it.

The macOS version provides an option to set the UI scale. While on Windows, if you want to adjust the UI scale, you will need to edit this file:


Find this line:

OptionUIZoomLevel 1

And change it to:

OptionUIZoomLevel 2

I will update this document if I find other tips to run SimCity on modern hardware.

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