SimCity was a groundbreaking game. It was the first that had no end, no defined goal, that you could not win (though you could lose, if you ran out of money). It was also the first game where the map itself became the object of the game, instead of being a more or less immutable board where the players moved their pieces. It spawned off a whole new genre. Classics like Sid Meier's Civilisation or the City Builder Series, yes, even the whole real-time strategy genre would most likely not exist without it.
Maxis themselves liked to call their games "software toys":
When you play with our toys, you set your own goals and decide for yourself when you've reached them. The fun and challenge of playing with our toys lies in exploring the worlds you create out of your own imagination. You're rewarded for creativity, experimentation, and understanding, with a healthy, thriving universe to call your own.
The publication history of the first SimCity game is somewhat confusing. These are the version I know to exist:
This is not a port, but Will Wright's original development and demo version. It lacked several of the features of the finished game, like budget and disasters, but had a water supply system that would reappear only in SimCity 2000.
According to some sources, this version was released before the others. There were two different ones, one for black & white Macs, and one for color Macintosh II, sold seperately. You can see screenshots of both versions. Over the years, many patches were issued for this version, the most important being 1.4 (1992, introduced 16-color graphics) and 2.0 (PPC compatibility, 256-color support, music?). The 2.0 patch is still available from ftp.ea.com.
There were probably more PC versions than for any other platform:
Along with Mac and PC, this was one of the original versions by Maxis themselves. There are two versions: one had 16-color graphics and could run on a 512k Amiga, the other used EHB for 64 colors and required 1MB RAM. Only the 1MB version had the capability to utilize the graphic sets from the Architecture packs.
Released 1990. It was done by Infogrames and is not, as sometimes stated, a port of the Amiga version. It is oriented on the Macintosh version and fully used the ST's GEM interface.
I first met Will Wright in 1991, while I was working for Sun Microsystems, by responding to a proposal to port SimCity to the Sun workstation. I left Sun to work as an independent contractor for DUX Software, ported SimCity to NeWS/HyperLook on the Sun, then to X11/TCL/Tk on various Unix platforms, then developed a multi player version of SimCityNet for X11, from December 1991 to November 1993.Don Hopkins
A NES version was planned, but cancelled. According to the defunct planetnintendo.com (former GameSpy's coverage of the Nintendo platforms):
SimCity was originally going to be released simultaneously on the NES and the SNES, as Nintendo had acquired the licensing rights to develop console SimCity games. The two versions would be almost identical aside for some slight graphical and musical alterations to compensate for the NES's age. However, it seems the NES version was dropped at the last minute, perhaps to promote the new console with its exclusive software.
|The SimCity Games|
|SimCity 2000 Network Edition||96|
|Streets of SimCity||97|
While the original SimCity never had the ability to import your own graphic sets, a few tilesets were offered by Maxis. So far I have found evidence of them only for Amiga and PC.