My Civ Addiction

“Hello, everyone, my name is Matt, and I am addicted to Civilization.”

It has been four days since my last game of Civlization 4. Since that time, I have tried to pass the hours playing other stuff and/or by watching Episode III on DVD, but I have to admit – its becoming a struggle not to fire up the game and start playing again. Even in mid-week.

Episode III, especially, just isnt satisfying my craving for quality entertainment. One can only watch Anakin and Padme argue over who loves the other the most so many times (“You’re shmoopy”…”NO! YOU’RE Schmoopy”…”NO!! YOUUUURE SCHMOOPY!”) . Plus, I’m starting to question why Palpatine, who is the supreme ruler of an entire GALAXY, can’t qualify for a decent dental plan.

But I digress.

Sid Meier, the creator of the Civilization series of games is a digital genius. He is often heard to say that a good game is a series of interesting choices, and you can see that gaming philosophy in almost every aspect of the Civilization games.

Most games run their course over about 30-40 hours of play. By that time, all of the underlying mechanics of the game are exposed, and it has become pretty easy to “master” the game – or you’re just plain bored with it. But great games – games like Chess – involve mechanics that are so complex that they present a continual challenge, even to those who have dedicated large segments of their life to playing the game.

Civilization isn’t chess, but it has an awful lot of depth to it. People study games of Civ IV like ESPN analysts break down football games. The strategic variations, options for victory, and possibilities of tinkering with various rules from game-to-game, give this game a depth that most other computer and video games just don’t have. Thousands – literally – of fun, intriguing choices present themselves every time a new game is started.

“Just one more turn,” I keep telling myself. But inevitably, after playing the next turn, I am again obsessed with seeing what will happen once the decisions that I just made begin to take effect over the course of the next few turns.

Sid Meier is a digital genius. He deserves to be known in history as one of the most important pioneers of digital entertainment. He makes hopelessly addictive and engaging games.

I’m also guessing that he has a pretty good dental plan.

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