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SimTower is a simulation computer game in the Maxis series of Sim games. It was initially developed to simulate the efficiency of elevator layouts in skyscrapers and office towers.

Background and Development

Japanese architect Yoot Saito came up with the concept of SimTower to explore why some elevator efficiency in some buildings frustrated him while others didn’t, even with the same number of cars and floors.[1]

SimTower was released in 1994. According to Saito, soon after the release of the game in Japan (under the name of The Tower) after the release of the game a major weekly newsmagazine published a feature article on the causes of, and responsibility for, unhappy tenants in skyscrapers. [2]


The game objective is to build a tower and keep its occupants--residents and workers alike--happy. This is measured by stress levels of tower occupants. As in real life, stressors that need to be monitored are the queues of occupants waiting for the elevator, and proximity to noise.

As a non-linear simulation game, the player can focus on developing efficiency and to keep tenants happy, or complete level objectives in order to obtain more building features and eventually a 'special event'.

The timeframe of the game consists of two working days and one weekend day within a quarter, four quarters in a year. Revenue can be raised by installing condominiums, which provide a large amount of initial revenue that is lost when the condo is vacated, through office rentals, which are paid regularly every year, or through hotel occupancy. Restaurants, cafés, shops, cinemas, and party hall hire can also contribute to player revenue.


  1. Bentley, Tom (1994). SimTower: The Vertical Empire, User's Manual. Maxis. p.4, Creator Introduction
  2. As quoted by Saito in User's Manual. page 5
   * Bentley, Tom (1994). SimTower: The Vertical Empire, User's Manual. Maxis. ISBN 1-56754-132-1