Utopia (video game)

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Utopia
Utopia
Box art
Publisher(s) Mattel
Designer(s) Don Daglow
Platform(s) Intellivision, Mattel Aquarius
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Strategy
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution Cartridge

Utopia is a 1981 strategy video game by Don Daglow released for the Intellivision and Mattel Aquarius. It is often regarded as among the first sim games and god games and credited with having set the scene for the real-time strategy genre. In July 2010, the game was re-released on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Games for Windows Live.

Gameplay[edit]

In-game screenshot

Utopia is a two-player game without an AI opponent, although a single player can play to achieve a high score and ignore the other island. When starting the game, the players may choose how long each turn lasts (60 seconds being the default), and how many turns the game lasts (15 turns being the default). The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.[1]

Each player rules his or her own island and uses the controller disc to move a rectangular cursor around the screen. Both players spend gold bars to construct different buildings (houses, schools, factories, hospitals and forts) on their islands, build fishing boats or PT boats, or to fund rebel activity on the enemy island. As each island's population grows, the ruler is responsible for housing their people, feeding their populace and keeping them happy, or risk rebel activity, which decrease the player's score and sometimes destroy buildings. Income is generated when randomly generated rain clouds, (and sometimes hurricanes) pass over a player's farms, when a fishing boat is positioned over a school of fish, and at the end of each turn, based on the player's factory output and fishing boats.[1]

Most turns consist of constructing a building at the beginning of the turn, then continuously maneuvering the player's fishing boat over a moving school of fish in order to maintain fishing income, with occasional interruptions to construct new buildings whenever the player is able to afford them. Alternatively, the player in the lead might spend considerable time maneuvering a PT boat to try and sink the losing player's fishing boat in order to keep their income down. Game algorithms generate and determine the course of rain clouds, tropical storms, hurricanes, schools of fish, and pirate ships.[1]

Reception[edit]

GameSpy included Utopia in its Hall of Fame in 2004, commenting': "Considering the state of home video-game technology in 1981, Utopia is an astonishingly detailed simulation."[2] GameSpot featured Utopia in its series Unsung Heroes: Ground Breaking Games, calling it a "surprisingly complex game (often referred to as 'Civilization 0.5') [that] laid the foundation for PC sim classics such as Civilization and SimCity."[3] In 2012, Utopia has been included in the Smithsonian Institution's "The Art of Video Games" exhibition.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "UTOPIA Cartridge Instructions". Intellivision Productions, Inc. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  2. ^ GameSpy Hall of Fame Article on Utopia
  3. ^ Baker, T. Byrl, Unsung Heroes: Ground Breaking Games – Utopia, GameSpot, archived from the original on 2010-07-01, retrieved 2014-10-30 
  4. ^ Smithsonian "The Art of Video Games" exhibition site

External links[edit]