Steal This Idea: SimSprawl


By now everyone has come to accept that EA’s remix of the old SimCity franchise, titled SIMCITY, is a complete disaster. It was almost certainly the final nail in John Riccitiello’s career. From lies to just baffling game mechanics, the throbbing, pulsating slime creature that was rolled out on release date should simply be forgotten by this point, scrubbed out of history like some ex-lackey in a Soviet photo (Societies? Who?). But the hole in each of us which SIMCITY sought to fill still remains, and there is little on the market to fill it. There are many pretenders to the throne; CitiesXL, Anno 2070, Tropico 4, Stronghold, and the upcoming Banishedbut few offer the same quality of mayoral management, the bar set floating at skyscraper heights. No, only the Sim series can restore the dignity and honor of the city-building genre it itself has dashed. We need to jump start the series, send some real live current coursing through its dead bones, and do to SimCity what Alpha Centauri did to Civilization– take it to the next level, show us some place new, and pump up the self-awareness, all fit into a package indiscernible from its predecessors. The powers that be can do all of this and more in one elegant solution: SimSprawl.

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PEI Military Seizes Major Retail Chain


CHARLOTTETOWN — Thousands of Islanders lined up outside the province’s equivalent of Zellers, a chain of retail stores known as Target, hoping for a bargain after the Liberal government forced the company to charge customers “fair” prices.

Premier Robert Ghiz ordered a military “occupation” of the company’s recently opened store as he continues the government’s crackdown on an “economic war” it says is being waged against the province, with the help of Ottawa.

Members of The Prince Edward Island Regiment, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.

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Bilad al-Sham: The Gunman’s Vacation Destination


The civil war in Syria ain’t what it used to be. Even the designation, ‘civil war’, may be too polite these days, too optimistic a term for the black hole which much of the country has become. While government forces are still united under al-Assad in the south, the opposition in the north has fractured and been overshadowed by a calamity of different causes and rallying cries. Though still anti-Assad in many ways, a lull in the conflict to a certain state of stability, with only a few towns and suburbs changing hands here and there, has turned the rag-tag assembly of freedom and foreign fighters against themselves, seeking to fill a power vacuum that hardly exists. A common enemy seems no longer enough to unite the causes, and the once hopeful rebel of Homs or Aleppo, who sought some sense of fairness or representation in his/her government, has been sidelined by an influx of fighters from all corners of the world. They arrive, jihad-ready, from as far as Australia and the United Kingdom, seeking glory, martyrdom, money, or simply a place to call their own.  Continue reading