Sid Meier’s Civilization

Sid Meier’s Civilization

Playing old games is always a coin flip. Will you discover an engrossing experience divorced from frustrating modern trends, or will you discover you’ve been spoiled by 21st-century conveniences? With Sid Meier’s Civilization, you’ll discover both. I was flabbergasted to learn that mouse support was considered optional here, and even more so when I realized how incompletely it was implemented. The visuals are inconveniently primitive, the music is sparse (albeit great when it shows up), and I’m pretty sure video games were expected to have sound effects by 1991. The first impressions left me largely alienated and expecting to give up after a short time…and then I played for seven hours straight and didn’t get any sleep that night.

It turns out that from a design perspective, Civilization got nearly everything right on the first try, which is incredible considering its unprecedented scope. There are some odd design choices, but not really any bad ones. Its various systems overlap with a satisfying degree of complexity and leave very few mechanics neglected in favour of others. The gameplay’s open-ended strategy and focus on long-term goals make it as notoriously replayable and addictive as ever, even 30 years after release. I’m now excited to play the sequels, which will presumably offer a similar experience via an interface that I don’t need to constantly wrestle with.

6/10
6/10

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