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Welcome To The Bog, A Horrible Place To Live In Cities: Skylines

'I have grown to love the Boggites'

10:06 AM EST on November 23, 2023

HuntaaWiaaa

If you've been browsing Reddit or Twitter this week, you may have seen mention of The Bog, a Cities: Skylines creation unimaginably cruel in its design, yet also incredibly funny in its implementation. As *Willem Dafoe voice* something of an urban planning enthusiast myself, I thought I'd have a chat with the city's creator and see what lay behind their grim vision for a virtual shithole.

If you haven't seen it, here is The Bog as first pictured earlier this week:

HuntaaWiaaa

In Cities: Skylines, residents of a player’s city have a happiness meter. Generally, you want your residents to be happy. But not in The Bog. In the original Reddit post showcasing its design, it was described as:

I have a district of my city called The Bog that's too resilient to my attempts at making them unhappy. The only amenities within the district are a dump and a few coal power plants.

I tried adding a monorail that leads to nowhere around the perimeter of The Bog for some noise pollution but apparently it doesn't make any and now they just use it. I also flood Bog Bog (a manmade body of water filled with human waste) occasionally to keep them on their toes but they don't seem to care.

They're all sick, have to pay the most tax out of the whole city, and are not allowed to smoke or have pets and yet their spirits are still high. They do have 2 landmarks, the Plaza of Death and a multistory parking garage, but that can't be enough to keep them this happy.

Any tips to put them in their place is greatly appreciated.

I knew the residents of this game were resilient--my review of the game was defined by the fact that people were up to their elbows in corpses and just kept on going to work--but this is something else. This is Dickensian grit meeting post-apocalyptic survival instincts. These are the people living in The Matrix's Zion, only also covered in shit.

The Bog is the creation of avid Cities Skylines player Hunter, a 20-year-old Canadian. It's a small district that's part of a much larger city--Veridian, yes, like Pokémon--that Hunter tells me is "fairly normal". The catch, and the thing that explains why there's a literal hellhole in the middle of this "fairly normal" city, is that Hunter has split Veridian into several districts, and each one has its own distinct visual identity, from quaint avenues in one to a London-style streetscape in another.

An aerial shot of the city of Veridian, with The Bog rotting away at its centre

"I noticed that there was a dried up river basin on the map I was using", Hunter tells me, "and since I was working around the natural features of the land, I thought that would be the perfect place for a Blighttown-esque slum. It's actually one of the oldest parts of the city, and I made it shortly after the first district was started. It started out with just one toll road, but other than that, it was a decent enough place to live."

Not for long. "Then, I started adding infrastructure that would help the rest of my city", Hunter explains. "The waste water used to be processed in the Bog but after the addition of Bog Bog, which is now the sole resource for providing the Boggites (or colloquially, Boggers) with drinking water, I wasn't able to connect any pipes into it so the plants had to be moved. They also used to power parts of the city, but the trucks to transport the coal to the power plants stopped showing up, so now they just sit abandoned."

In the days since first posting about The Bog on Reddit, asking for "tips to put [the residents] in their place", things have only gotten worse for the Boggers. Hunter says "a total of 23 toll roads, all set to the highest price" are fleecing drivers, while there's a central feature called "The Plaza Of Death" that is just...yeah. The monorail has been replaced by a regular, noisier train line, there's even more heavy industry crammed inside its borders and there's also now a huge highway that runs right over the top of the district:

HuntaaWiaaa

Perhaps the greatest indignity is that the Boggies, who may have lived and died on their filthy streets without ever knowing the delights of the outside world, have now had their plight laid bare. "My girlfriend had the idea to make the class divide even more apparent by adding an uber rich district right next to the Bog", Hunter says, "so there's now a little district with a few towers on the hill overlooking it."

Now, every time the Boggies look up, they'll see people living and working somewhere that doesn't pour human shit though the streetsHuntaaWiaaa

The Bog is very funny, and also interesting as an experiment in pushing the game's systems to their limits, but can it actually teach us anything? Is there anything we can learn from The Bog? You bet. Its residents remind us that the human spirit is a gift, whether in real life or a Cities: Skylines build.

"I created it as a fun little project to fuck over some simulated people but now I've grown to love the Boggites", Hunter says as we wind up. "They're still just as happy to live in the Bog as they were when I first made the Reddit post. I honestly aspire to have their outlook on life. Their resilience and mentality to always see the good in their hyperbolically bad situation is really inspiring."

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