SimEarth: The Living Planet was published in 1990 by Maxis. A version was created for the Super Nintendo by FCI in 1992.

Screenshot of SimEarth for the Super NES, taken while with ZSNES.

Please note that throughout this guide, terms will be presented exactly as they appear in the game. For example Alt is used in place of Altitude in the game, so it will be expressed as such here.

Game play edit

SimEarth is an interactive simulation in which you can mold and shape a planet down to every peak and canyon that you choose.

The beauty of the game lies within the fact that, unlike most games, there is no real objective or goal to attain. Thus, creativity can be prevalent, and possibilities are limitless.

In SimEarth, your planet has a life of 10 billion years, after which the sun supernovas, turning your entire planet to desert. Unlike the PC version, it is actually possible to continue playing beyond this point.

Placing objects and performing certain actions in the game requires energy, which is represented in omega units (Ω). Actions are carried out through a series of menus, which contain available options to use.

Interface edit

  • Directionals (movement): Moves the cursor around the map, and scrolls through menu selections.
  • A button (action): Confirms selections, places objects.
  • B button (cancel): Closes menus and cancels selections.
  • X button: (Nothing)
  • Y button (menu): Calls up the edit menu.
  • Start button (pause/menu): Pauses the game while calling up the main menu.
  • Select button: Switches between the map and edit modes.
  • L and R buttons (scroll): When held while using the directional pad, allows you to scroll while the cursor remains in place.

The start up menu edit

  • Load Data: Loads a previously saved game. This option only appears if you have a saved game.
  • Scenario: Allows you to play one of the game's scenarios.
  • Random Planet: A randomly-generated world in which you may choose to start in Geologic, Evolution, Civilization, or Technology time scale, then experiment and do as you wish.
  • Daisy World: A world in which the only biome is the daisy. Daisies change their color and regulate with respect to the temperature. White-to-yellow daisies grow in areas with high temperatures, and orange-to-red daisies grow at lower temperatures. It is a test of James Lovelock's theory of how plants regulate themselves and their environment.
  • Dictionary: An in-game manual, explaining all terms and objects in the game.
  • Backup Initialize: Erases all stored data in the game cartridge, reverting it to its original state. This option only appears if you have a saved game or have completed at least one scenario.

The main menu edit

View edit

  • Exit: Cancels menu.
  • Alt (Landscape Display): A bare rock overview of the planet showing the altitude of land mass and depth of oceans. Land of higher altitudes appear more grey, lower altitudes appear dark brown. Oceans range from light blue to dark blue with increasing depth.
  • Events (Events Display): Color-coded squares represent occurring events.
  • Magma (Magma Vector): Arrows display the direction of magma flow.
  • W. temp (Water Temperature Indicator): Color-coded display of water temperature.
  • W. cur (Water Current Indicator): Arrows showing direction of water currents.
  • A. temp (Air Temperature Indicator): Color-coded display of average air temperature.
  • Rain (Rainfall Indicator): Color-coded display of average rainfall.
  • A. cur (Air Current Indicator): Arrows showing direction of air currents.
  • Biome (Biome Indicator): Colored dots represent biomes based on type.
  • Life (Life Indicator): Colored dots represent lifeforms based on type.
  • Civil (Civilization Indicator): Colored dots represent cities based on level of technology.

Mode edit

  • Map: An overview of your planet in which you can observe objects and events. You cannot interact with the planet.
  • Edit: A zoomed-in look at your planet in which you can place objects and perform interactive actions.
  • Globe: Essentially, this is the map mode window displayed as a view of the planet from space. You cannot make changes to the planet.

Control Panels edit

Calling up any of the control panels costs 100Ω whether you make changes or not. In most scenarios, all of the control panels except for the civilization control panel will be disabled, however they will remain viewable.

Geosphere edit

  • Volcano: Size and frequency of volcanic eruptions.
  • Erosion: The amount of effect that rain and wind have on shaping and smoothing the terrain.
  • Meteor: Size and frequency of meteor impacts.
  • Continental Drift: Speed at which landmasses move with respect to magma current directions.
  • Core Heat: The temperature of the core. Increasing this causes more heat to be radiated from the core, raising the planet's overall temperature.
  • Core Formation:
  • Axial Tilt: The tilt of the planet's axis. The more vertical the tilt, the less seasonal variation. The more horizontal the tilt, the more seasonal variation.

Atmosphere edit

  • Solar Impact: The amount of solar energy that gets through the atmosphere to the planet.
  • Cloud Albedo: The ability of the clouds to reflect solar energy before it reached the planet's surface.
  • Greenhouse Effect: The relative amount of greenhouse gases.
  • Cloud: The relative amount of clouds.
  • Rainfall: The average amount of rainfall on the planet. Increasing rainfall increases the appearance of tropical biomes.
  • Surface Albedo: The ability of the surface to reflect solar energy.
  • Thermal Transfer: The transfer of water to clouds, and clouds to rain through evaporation.

Biosphere edit

  • Tolerance: The ability to withstand heat.
  • CO2 Absorption: The amount of CO2 absorbed by plant life.
  • Reploduction (sic): The rate at which lifeforms reproduce.
  • Advance: The rate at which lifeforms evolve to the next level.
  • Mutation: The rate at which lifeforms mutate to other beings (such as carniferns).

Civilization edit


Energy Investment

  • BioEnergy: Energy obtained by burning wood and performing physical labor.
  • Sun/Wind: Energy obtained through the use of windmills, solar panels, and wind farms.
  • Hydro/Geo: Energy obtained from hydroelectric dams, water wheels, and geothermic heat.
  • Fuel: Energy from burning fossil fuels.
  • Nuclear: Atomic energy.

Energy Allocation

  • Moral: Morality and goodwill. Higher allocation reduces wars.
  • Tech: Science and technological advancements. Higher allocation allows for faster advancement of technology.
  • Food: Farming and irrigation. Higher allocation causes populations to increase faster.
  • Medic: Medicine advancements. Higher allocation prevents plagues.
  • Art: Art and recreation. Higher allocation reduces wars and increases quality of life.

Reports edit

The edit menu edit

The edit menu contains a wide variety of objects which can be placed in your planet, and actions that can be performed in an area on your planet.

Biomes edit

  • Rock (50Ω): Bare rock; the absence of biome. Life cannot survive here.
  • Arctic (50Ω): Glaciers and shelves of ice. No lifeform can survive here.
  • Boreal (50Ω): Cool, pine forests. Every land life can thrive here.
  • Desert (50Ω): Hot, arid climates. Only reptiles, dinosaurs, and insects and thrive here.
  • Grass (50Ω): Temperate, flat prairie in which every lifeform can live comfortably.
  • Forest (50Ω): Temperate areas populated with many trees in which many lifeforms thrive.
  • Jungle (50Ω): Humid forests, product of high rainfall.
  • Swamp (50Ω): Hot, humid wetlands in which many sea-life, as well as land-life creatures can survive.

Lifeforms edit

Sea Life edit

  • Bacteria (50Ω): Single-celled organisms (prokaryotes).
  • Amoeba (100Ω): Multi-cellular organisms (eukaryotes).
  • Starfish (150Ω): (Starfish)
  • Crab (200Ω):
  • Octopus (250Ω):
  • Fish (300Ω):
  • Whale (350Ω):

Land Life edit

  • Trichordates (400Ω): Tricordates are beings with three spinal cords, which became extinct long ago. They have a chance at survival in SimEarth.
  • Insects (450Ω):
  • Amphibians (500Ω):
  • Reptile (550Ω):
  • Dinosaur (600Ω):
  • Birds (650Ω):
  • Mammals (700Ω):
  • Carniferns (unavailable): Carniferns are mutated, carnivorous plants, which can occur only naturally. Having an abundance of insects allows for these lifeforms to develop.

Civilizations edit

  • Stone (500Ω): The first level of organized culture.
  • Bronze (1000Ω): The usage of agriculture allows for higher populations.
  • Iron (1500Ω): Further advancements allow for even higher populations. This time period represents the dark ages to the renaissance.
  • Industry (2000Ω): With the beginning of the technological time scale, the use of fossil fuels is having a detrimental effect on the environment.
  • Atomic (2500Ω): Cities which make use of Atomic energy. Overuse of nuclear fuels can cause radioactivity.
  • Inform (3000Ω): Representative of present-day modern cities in which the flow of information is important, and computers are a significant part of everyday life.
  • Nanotech (3500Ω): Cities set in the future in which miniaturization has taken a predominant role in science and medical technology.

Terraformers edit

Terraformers are devices used to alter conditions of the planet. If a terraformer is destroyed, it no longer functions, and conditions will revert.

  • Biome (500Ω): Produces biomes in the area surrounding where it is placed.
  • O2 Genr (500Ω): Produces oxygen into the atmosphere for life to survive and can lower the planet's temperature.
  • N2 Genr (500Ω): Produces nitrogen into the atmosphere.
  • Vapor (500Ω): Produces water vapor, thereby increasing rainfall.
  • CO2 Genr (500Ω): Produces carbon dioxide, which allows plant life to thrive and can raise the planet's temperature.
  • Monolith (2500Ω): An extraterrestrial tool that can be used to spark intelligence into lifeforms, making them civilized. The monolith has a 1 in 3 chance of being successful.
  • Ice metr (500Ω): A large meteor comprised of ice that can be used to create oceans on a dry planet.

Events edit

  • Storm (50Ω): Violent storms which originate in oceans.
  • Tidal (50Ω): Massive waves of water which destroy cities and devolve lifeforms.
  • Meteor (50Ω): Meteors make large craters and add dust particles into the atmosphere.
  • Volcano (50Ω): Volcanos can be used to raise land quickly, in the creation of land masses. They also put dust into the atmosphere.
  • N-Bomb (50Ω): Atomic bomb detonations that destroy all life and cities in their area and render the land unusable for a long period of time.
  • Fire (50Ω): Fires destroy all life, cities, and biomes, reducing the area to bare rock.
  • Equake (50Ω): Earthquakes, used for changing the direction of the magma flow.
  • Plague (50Ω): Mass disease outbreaks that destroy cities.

Raise/Lower land edit

  • Raise (50Ω): Gently raises the land in the area surrounding the cursor.
  • Lower (50Ω): Gently lowers the land in the area surrounding the cursor.

Examine edit

  • Examine (): Allows you to receive information about a specific area on the map. Pressing A will call up a window displaying any lifeforms and cities which occupy the area, terrain, altitude, and temperature.
  • Special Case: In scenario planets, you must examine the present to open it.

The view menu edit

Other game events edit

The following list describes events, in addition to those of the events menu that may occur during the game based on the simulation. These events are unavailable to you.

  • War: Occurs when resources in the area are scarce. Any cities which are involved are destroyed.
  • Pollution: A problem of industrial age cities. Occurs when population density becomes too high.
  • Sea Pollution: Oil spills which can occur when an industrial age population is travelling in the ocean.

Scenarios edit

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
  • Aquarium: The game's first scenario, in which you must develop life to intelligence.
  • Cambrian Earth: Earth of 550 million years ago. You are to develop life to intelligence.
  • Modern-day Earth: Earth of 1990, plagued with problems of war, pollution, and disease. You are to develop technology to the nanotech age and trigger exodus.
  • Mars: You have 200 years to terraform and colonize Mars with a biomass of 25000 and a civilized population of 1000.
  • Venus: You have 500 years to terraform and colonize Venus with a biomass of 25000 and a civilized population of 1000.
  • Ice Planet: A planet covered with snow and ice. As with Mars, you must heat the planet and make it capable of supporting life. You must develop 25000 biomes and 1000 civilized souls all within 500 years.
  • Dune: A desert planet populated only by reptiles. You must develop a biomass of 25000 and a civilized population of 1000, within a 500 year time limit.
  • Earth 2XXX: Robots have taken over the Earth! You must find a way to destroy them and redevelop the planet to 25000 biomes and a civilized population of 1000. You have limitless time.

Cheats edit

  • Scenario Select: On the main menu, move the cursor to Scenario and hold L, R, and X. Press A and a scenario selection menu will appear.
  • Special Menu: Watch through the introduction until "Press Start" appears. Hold L and R and press Start. You will now get a different menu from which you can view all Gaia windows, performs sound tests, and view the ending.
  • Robots: Setting off an N-Bomb in a Nanotech city will destroy it, allowing the robots to escape and develop as any other lifeform. These lifeforms can survive anywhere and are not mentioned in the game's manual and are unavailable otherwise.