• SimAnt


  • Simulation


  • Maxis


  • Maxis

Release Date:

  • 1991


  • Macintosh/DOS/SNES

Box Art Credit:

Systems Used:

  • MacBook running SheepShaver (for this review)

Easter Egg:

  • See what happens after you kill enough spiders.

On Wikipedia:

SimAnt was one of the first Maxis products (the third, I believe). I know I experimented with it on old computers in the mid-1990s with the "Experimental" option (of course), letting you play with poison, rocks, food sources, and others, but never really played the Full Game, which at the time seemed rather complicated to me. There's options on how to control your colony's resources (looking for food or assisting the Queen, etc.) but it wasn't until many years later when my brother found me a real CD of the game that I decided to load it up in an emulator and wipe out the invasive Red Ants once and for all.

You start out as a black ant queen in one tile, of which you need to build a small nest and settle down, becoming one of the worker ants later (the ant you control is the yellow ant). So after a few initially botched attempts ("Your brave attack against the enemy ant is thwarted! Your head is amputated by its cruel mandibles") or ("The enemy ant has attacked you! After an intense wrestling match, the fiend bites your legs off"), I ran east and wrestled the Red Queen to death, and I won the Quick Game. Onto the Full Game, and I basically do the same thing. I quickly find myself bored as the Black Ants extinguish the Reds from one "tile" of the board (192 squares, I think), but the Reds expand too, so in any given square there's either a horde of Black Ants with nothing to do or a horde of Red Ants so that any Black Ant colony gets wiped out. But then I realized that I didn't need to fight the Reds myself as the Black Ants seemed to do that themselves and they had moved onto other tiles. I turned the speed to the highest setting as more and more Black Ant colonies spread faster than the Reds and eventually overtook them. The Red Ants would move into the house (causing the human to ultimately move out, rather than the man wandering around and occasionally bringing out the mower to inflict damage, the house is empty with "For Sale: Any Price"), until the Black ants completely overtook the Red Ants and wiped them clean from the slate. There I won by doing practically nothing. At a certain point, I could just let the simulation run, just by clicking through dialogue boxes when they come up, and still win.

Life as an ant is fraught with danger.

It's not even like The Oregon Trail where by making the right decisions (get plenty of oxen and other choices, then hunt those buffalo; take the ferry whenever possible) and using common sense (middle speed, stop & rest if there's injury/disease, don't ford the river if it's too deep and swift) you can make it to the Williamette Valley with your party/family intact within half an hour (of playing time, not actually making the journey). I had created a music file from gameplay noises, but I guess I'll share that another time.

August 27 2014