The original SimCity invited gamers to build a more perfect society. You could zone land at will, weave hyper-efficient power grids, and make the trains run on time with a few strategic clicks. For truly skilled tacticians, even Godzilla was just a bump in the road on the way to Utopia. Maybe that’s why it comes as no great surprise to see that part of SimCity 4’s aspirational framework – the “999” tax plan – finally has some real world political converts.
In an article in today’s Huffington Post, writer Amanda Terkel suggests a connection between the Herman Cain 999 Plan – which proposes a 9% rate for business, individual, and sales taxes – and SimCity 4’s default “999” setup – which starts commercial, industrial, and residential taxes in the game at that same 9% rate. Kip Katsarelis, a senior producer at Maxis, welcomes the idea of SimCity 4 as a political muse: “We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change. While we at Maxis and Electronic Arts do not endorse any political candidates or their platforms, it's interesting to see GOP candidate Herman Cain propose a simplified tax system like one we designed for the video game SimCity 4."
Cain has yet to confirm whether the 2003 game sparked the idea for his campaign.