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SimCity developer’s forgotten oil refinery simulator is now playable online

SimRefinery, an all-but-forgotten oil refinery simulator from the studio behind SimCity, has been rediscovered and uploaded to the web as a playable game, ArsTechnica reports. The existence of the game came to light last month after it appeared in a wide-ranging report about Maxis’ little-known business simulations division. Now, however, an anonymous user has uploaded the game to the Internet Archive, where it’s actually playable in a browser thanks to a built-in DOSBox emulator.

The game’s discovery came about after Ars covered a lengthy report about Maxis Business Simulations, the SimCity studio’s attempt at making business-focused simulators. Soon, one anonymous Ars commentor reported that they actually had a copy of SimRefinery, obtained via a chimerical engineering friend of theirs. Now they’ve uploaded the game to the Internet Archive, so it’s free for everyone to explore.

It’s fairly simple to start playing the game directly in your browser.
Screenshot: Internet Archive

SimRefinery is clearly unfinished, and I was quickly faced with numerous graphical glitches when I tried to play it for myself. Instructions or documentation of any kind are also pretty limited, making it hard to get a handle on what’s going on.

The copy of SimRefinery was found on an old 3.5 inch disk with a simple white sticker printed with the game’s name and the logo of Maxis, SimCity’s developer. Reportedly, the game was never meant to teach people how to run an oil refinery. Instead, Chevron, the energy corporation who commissioned Maxis to make the prototype, wanted a game that could show off how an oil refinery works at a high level.

Although the game is pretty difficult to play in its current state, it’s a satisfying conclusion to a great story. You can find more screenshots from the game over at ArsTechnica, or try playing the game for yourself on the Internet Archive.

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