GameSpite Quarterly 2, #27: Civilization

27. Civilization
The journey through GameSpite Quarterly 2 continues with Shivam’s evaluation of the Civilization series. This is one of those instances where I have to take the author at his word, ’cause I’m at a loss for the entire genre. It’s a personal failing and I accept full responsibility for it. But you guys voted for it, and I trust you. So… awesome game, huh?

17 thoughts on “GameSpite Quarterly 2, #27: Civilization

  1. A great writeup for an awesome game. An awesome game whose most recent main installment is $5 on direct2drive right now …

  2. I always find it interesting how nobody can ever write about Civ without mentioning how it’s one of those games which causes the sun to rise when you start playing it. People are less likely to omit that aspect of it than, you know, the whole tech tree angle, or the diplomacy.

    I also find it odd that every single Civilization game pretty much forgoes any attempt at really explaining the mechanics to you, and pretty much just says “Yeah, go with the suggestions the AI tosses out on what to do next until you work out what you’re doing by osmosis.”

  3. Well, my two articles really focused more on the feelings games gave me than the mechanics. I’ve written extensively about the mechanics in the game before, during my tenure at 1up, and i figured this wasn’t really the place to delve into civ theory =)

    And frankly, civilization isnt really a game that needs to explain itself. The hallmark of the series has been that it is almost completely intuitive to figure out, and grows organically as you progress in the game.

    My first experience with civ was with a pirated copy with fucked up graphics. Every building was a big box of purple and red lines. And we had no instructions or any idea of what any of the symbols meant. All i knew was that blue shields meant shit built faster, and that the green and yellow things were food. And yet, I still managed to figure out how to play and conquer. It’s a meta-message, really. You the player are learning and evolving and growing just as you the tribe is in the game world. And as you the tribe learn new techs and spread throughout the map, you the player learn new strategies and skills.

    It’s a highly symbolic, highly symbiotic experience.

  4. This game series has stolen more hours of my life from me than any other. Civ II was the reason I built my first PC. Alpha Centauri (which I pretty much consider a Civilization game) might be my favorite.

    Good job Shivam.

  5. I just reinstalled Civ IV and its addons last week. God this game is addict. And as Sarcasmorator said, the main game is at Direct2Drive for $5.00 right now. Go get it! Now for another round of kick the savage. :)

  6. I love the Civ games. They’re a lot of fun, and it’s great to bring a civilization up from nothing to a world power. But the way it presents history brings up a lot of troubling esoteric questions.

  7. I want to know who coined the term “goody hut.” Every Civ player I’ve ever known calls it that, but as far as I can tell, the games never actually call them that. So, what’s the origin of the goody hut? Inquiring minds want to know.

  8. Hearing Anthony Gallegos talk about his Civilization 4 exploits on Rebel FM and Tyler Barber’s subsequent fall down the Civilization rabbit hole, I picked up a copy of Civ 4 Complete for a measly 5 euro’s just three weeks ago. Never having played any Civ game before, I was unprepared for how addictive it actually is.
    It feels to me that one of the big appeals of Civilization is the role-playing element of it. Every new game you start is like a history of Bizarro-world, full of epic tales of exploration, war, tech-races, alliance-forming and backstabbing. During one game for example, where my civilization of Jewish Chinese were only able to found 5 cities, while being surrounded by the bullying Buddhist Russians, I tried everything to befriend Catherine of Russia, while at the same time vigorously trading tech with her rivals and giving none to her. It was an uneasy peace, full of demands and threats from the Russians, but I bided my time. After 500 years of oppression by the Russian empire, I seriously ticked them of by inspiring Chinese revolts in two major Russian cities next to my border. The furious Russians demanded tribute! I refused…
    Next thing I knew Catherine declares war on me and starts advancing her army towards Beijing. I scrambled all my units to my capitol, where my new riflemen were fighting a losing battle against wave after wave of macemen and Cossacks. I stopped all tech research and city upgrades, instead focussing on riflemen and canon production and using my now vast amount of cash to upgrade all my older units to grenadiers. I destroyed the Russian hordes just before they were able to raze Beijing to the ground. Seeing her advance has stalled, Catherine calls for a truce, if I’m prepared to pay her all the money I have. I know she’s bluffing, so I tell her to go f*** herself, while I call in some favours from the Persians and Indians, who start invading Russia from the north and the west, while I’m now advancing from the east. Unable to stop our combined onslaught, the once mighty Russian giant gets consumed by tree smaller civilizations. While my army is besieging Moscow, Catherine comes before me with a desperate plea for peace. I send her away and lay waste to her vast metropolis, thus ending the Russian dynasty.

    Stick to crack cocaine kids, its less addictive and doesn’t hurt your social life as much as Civilization 4.

  9. Also, the music in the game is very good! The first time I reached the modern age and heard the John Adams music, I felt like I was playing Koyaaniskatski-the game! There’s nothing quite like hovering your cursor over the red ICBM-button while hearing those soft, wailing women’s voices in the background, contemplating if what your about to do is actually the right thing to do…

  10. To this day, Civ III is the only game I’ve ever uninstalled simply because I liked it too much. I was in college at the time. It took only one weekend of playing for me to realize that if I didn’t remove it from my computer and return it to the friend I’d borrowed it from, it would consume my soul and make me start flunking classes.

  11. I’m pretty sure Sid Meier holds the secret to distorting spacetime through software. This is the only explanation for the amount of my time that vanished into the vortex that is Civ III.

  12. protip: research lasers before anything else so you can manufature and sell them for big bucks big bucks no whammies and buy more bases, er, I mean cities.

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