[Editor's note: Community member SilverDragon1979 takes a look at the original Civilization as part of June's Monthly Musing topic. -- CTZ]
There was a time when computer games came on 3½” floppy disks. When Sid Meier was not a gaming household name. When computers where used for little more then word processing and data storage management. On a more personal level for me, there was a time when I thought the only game worth playing on the PC was Oregon Trail. This was also a time when I thought you only needed an 8-directional game pad and 2 buttons to play any game. A time when gaming consisted mostly of jumping from platform to platform, killing Goombas and monsters, racing down deserted streets, and failing to land F-14 Tomcats on an aircraft carrier. This time was known as the '80s.
In 1989, Intel released the i486 microprocessor. Containing 1.2 million transistors that could run at a minimum speed of 16MHz, and using a 32-bit data bus, this processor was about to change the PC gaming scene forever. Sid Meier was one of the first to take advantage of this new microprocessor and in 1991, he released Civilization, a turn based strategy game that let you “Build An Empire to Stand the Test of Time.” Civilization was Sid Meier’s grand opus; his 5th symphony for lack of a better metaphor. Never before had anyone created a game so ambitious or so grand in scope as to allow you to completely control an entire civilization from the founding of its first city to the construction of its first space colonization starship. It was the game that put Sid Meier on the map, and a game that would go down in history as one of the greatest games of all time.
The game that appeared so simplistic at first suddenly was not at all. I soon found myself running out of land as the boarders of my civilization were coming into contact with those of other civilizations, and those other guys weren’t really big on sharing land. Being the greedy American I was, I decided to rage war with one of my neighbors that were encroaching on my land. I put all of my resources and manpower into raging the war and before I knew it, I had committed genocide and wiped the entire civilization off the face of the planet.
Besides being a great game, Civilization was important to my life because it was THE GAME that got me into PC gaming. It was the first game that showed me games could be more in depth then simply running from point A to point B, killing the boss, and rescuing the princess. It demonstrated to me that games could present you with moral dilemmas causing you to have to think about the decisions you made in the game. There was no set path in this game, no linear story line. I created my own destiny. I wrote my own story. I forged my own civilization’s path through history. The world was my “sandbox”.
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