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Check out how Vancouver was lovingly recreated in a 17-year-old game (PHOTOS)

He's spent over a decade building Vancouver in a 2003 video game - and he's never even been to the city himself

This is the story of how, over the course of a decade, one person recreated the bustling metropolis of Vancouver and an entire airport in a computer game released in 2003.

While video games have a tendency to slowly fade into relative obscurity after a few years, there always remain some truly dedicated fans. Unfazed by the growing niche-ness of their interest, these are the fans who continually push the game and the systems they run on to their absolute limits and SimCity4 is no exception. 

Take Jason for example. Jason recently posted photos to social media of what he has been working on since Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic games: An in-game rendering of Stanley Park, Vancouver’s downtown core, much of East Vancouver and YVR airport.

In a recent Q&A with Vancouver Is Awesome, Jason spoke about the many challenges he has encountered over the past 12 years making the map.

“Most of them related to technical challenges playing a game that was released for Windows in 2003 on a 2018 MacBook Pro,” Jason explains. “There have been many times over the years I've simply given up due to technical issues only to figure out a fix and dive back in.”

Over the past few years though he managed to get a fully patched version of SimCity4 on Steam which eliminated many technical problems. Since then he has been building more when he has the time but it’s still a slow process.

“Diagonal/non-grid building is very difficult in SimCity 4,” Jason continues. “Not only because of the game's engine but also because of the lack of content. Because of this I had to take some extreme liberties with my Vancouver, especially in the downtown area.”

With this in mind, Jason stresses the map is not a recreation, more a map of Vancouver built in a similar urban form. No highways, dense, walkable, decent mass transit, livable, etc.

In the place of a SkyTrain, Jason has created an extensive network of streetcars, subways, and commuter rail.

Despite his Vancouver map sharing striking similarities to Google Maps’ satellite images, Jason has never actually been to the city although he says he’s working on a visit eventually.