Everybody knows the SimCity games but not many gamers know about SimRefinery. That’s because this obscure title once thought to be lost to the ages, never really got a commercial release back when it was created by the team responsible for the original SimCity game. Once only available to corporations for simulation and training purposes, the game has now been brought back (mostly) from the ashes and is now playable for everyone with a browser or PC. Head below for all the details.
Well, it has been a busy few weeks for un-released games resurfacing on the internet. First we caught a glimpse of nearly unheard of Steven Spielberg sci-fi experience known only by its working title of LMNO. After that, a never-before-seen Days of Thunder NES game — based on the Tom Cruise blockbuster film of the same name — made headlines, But now it’s time for Maxis’ SimRefinery.
The story of how SimRefinery came to be and subsequently now playable is an interesting one. Maxis, the original creator, and developer of SimCity, had a subdivision known as Maxis Business Solutions. It was created after big corporations became interested in the development of training and simulation games based on the success of SimCity. One such company was American multinational energy corporation Chevron which presumably commissioned or worked with Maxis to create what is known as SimRefinery — a simulation game, much like SimCity, based around the inter-workings of an oil refinery.
After Ars Technica reported on an ongoing documentary piece surrounding Maxis Business Solutions, a reader popped up out of nowhere claiming to have a retired chemical engineer friend with knowledge of the situation. The former Chevron employee had more than that though. After this individual claimed to have a floppy disk (seen above) carrying SimRefinery on it, it was only a matter of a couple of weeks before a version of the game was uploaded the Internet Archive where it is now playable to all. You can also download the game and play it via DOSBox on your PC.
It is important to point out here that while SimRefinery is indeed in the same vein as the original SimCity — it even looks the same to a certain degree — it was never intended to be a commercial video game release. The gameplay elements involved here are quite technical (if you’re not a chemical engineer or the like anyway) and it appears to be somewhat unfinished, at least in terms of what would be expected for a proper worldwide release.
Having said that, reports suggest you can cause just as much havoc on the poor refinery as you did on your sprawling metropolis years ago. There are elements that appear to be unfinished with a few graphical bugs here and there, but it is an interesting experience for fans of the simulation genre. Once again the interest comes through, effectively preserving a gaming experience that would have almost certainly been lost to time. You can check it out in action right here.
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