This Little-Known Nintendo DS Town Builder Just Had a Weird Moment in the Spotlight

A long-forgotten Nintendo DS city builder released only in Europe has been given special new life on Arctic Monkeys’ latest album.

In the last verse of “Sculptures of Anything Goes”, the third track of “The Car” (released October 21), are the lyrics “the simulation cartridge for City Life ’09 / is quite hard to find”.

This appears to be a reference to the Nintendo DS version of City Life. Originally released on PC in 2006, two major features attempted to differentiate City Life from SimCity; the first was that players could work in full 3D, placing buildings at different angles to create unique towns. The second was his detailed map of socioeconomic classes, in which members of different classes aligned with those who resembled them, but opposed those who showed notable differences.

Relatively well received by critics, City Life spawned two expansions and would become the Cities XL games, released in 2009 and 2015. Most important here, however, is the Nintendo DS version, also released in 2009. Only available in Europe, the port doesn’t seem to have made too much of a splash – perhaps that’s due to the genre’s dominance on PC, or simply the console’s lack of ability to keep up, even with the 2006 release of the game. Perhaps that’s why the band has trouble finding copies.

As noted on Genius (opens in a new tab)in their lyrics, the Arctic Monkeys are probably referring to the inability to access older Nintendo titles through official channels – as noted, Nintendo discontinued old eShops for a while, and it does not actively seek to preserve any titles that will be lost as a result. In “Sculptures”, however, the lyrics refer specifically to the “cartridge”, suggesting frontman Turner is looking for a physical copy. While not widespread, some quick searches on Amazon and Ebay turned up relatively cheap editions of the game, so perhaps there’s some poetic license at work here.

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Exactly why the band would rely on such an obscure title is unclear, but given that “Sculptures” apparently focuses on deciphering long-held perceptions of the band and what their work “should look like is perhaps a throwback to the band’s late 2000s heyday. Either way, you’d think that for all their success, the Arctic Monkeys could probably buy whatever games they want, even at retro Nintendo prices.

Do you dwell on the nostalgia of it all? Here are the 25 best ds games all time.

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