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The game represented an unusual paradigm in computer gaming, in that it could neither be won nor lost; as a result, game publishers did not believe it was possible to market and sell such a game successfully.Brøderbund declined to publish the title when Wright proposed it, and he pitched it to a range of major game publishers without success.Players could build highways, roads, bus depots, railway tracks, subways, train depots and zone land for seaports and airports.
In the Sim City games, the player is given the task of founding and developing a city from a patch of green land, defining what buildings are constructed via development zones; residential zones for Sims to live in; commercial zones for Sims to shop and have offices within; industrial zones to provide work through factories, laboratories and farms - as well as ensuring their citizens are kept happy through establishing various services and amenities, all while keeping a stable budget.
Finally, founder Jeff Braun of then-tiny Maxis agreed to publish Sim City as one of two initial games for the company.
Wright and Braun returned to Brøderbund to formally clear the rights to the game in 1988, when Sim City was near completion.
Since Sim City 2000, players are able to define zones by densities - low density for small buildings, medium density for low to mid-sized buildings, and high density for anything up to large tower blocks.
Sim City 2000, Sim City 3000, and Sim City 4 allow the player to alter the terrain of the city before building upon it.