A NIMBY Simulator Pokes Fun at All-Too-Real Issues

A classic game gets a sardonic update for the modern world.

Read Time: 1 minute

September 25, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Screenshot of gameplay window with popup: "Error. Can't build in NIMBYville!"

https://stevenjnass.com/ & https://weeksmonthsdays.com/ / Screenshot from Sim NIMBY

A new game combines old-school nostalgia with snark as it pokes fun at NIMBYism, calling on players to create a community piece by piece à la Sim City. There’s just one catch: “ERROR. CAN’T BUILD IN NIMBYVILLE.” In an article for Bloomberg, Allison Nicole Smith describes the all too serious issues that prompted the game’s developers to create the project.

The game is designed to satirize the often Sisyphean task of trying to get housing built in communities resistant to change. “Unlike “SimCity,” where players can encounter out-of-this-world challenges like UFO invasions and zombie attacks, the obstacles in Sim Nimby are all too plausible. Steve Nass and Owen Weeks, 33-year-old advertising copywriters and self-professed YIMBYs (that’s Yes in My Backyard) based in Brooklyn, New York, made the game as a way to channel their frustration with the local politics swirling around development projects.”

Nass says he based the game in part on anti-development discourse he heard during his time living in San Francisco, but that the game resonates with people from cities around the world—and that’s not entirely a good thing. According to Nass, “Usually you want a joke to transcend boundaries and culture, but in this case, it’s a bit depressing.”

Friday, September 23, 2022 in Bloomberg Culture

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