Friday, August 8, 2008

And now for something completely different... Well not THAT different. I'm still talking about games and being a jerk...

I have been playing Sid Meier’s Civilization: Revolution whenever my lovely wife isn’t playing Civilization: Revolution, so if you really have to go pee right now then don’t bother reading the rest of this. Just go out and buy yourself a copy of Civilization: Revolution, safe with the knowledge that the game has earned my recommendation. No, this site will be gone by the time you return. It will have been erased, a rumour, like so much urine down a…

Holy Christ in Hell this new medication is making me more crazy than usual! I really need to get a proper prescription, maybe from a doctor. Anyway Civilization is an old game. The first was in 1991 and there have since been many versions that refine the game and take advantage of new hardware. This particular iteration has been made especially for the game playing console.

If you haven’t ever played Civilization it goes like this: you are the ruler of a race. You start with one meagre city at the dawn of recorded history. Your people are ignorant and disgusting, they know nothing. You haven’t even invented pottery yet. Pottery! Just how are you bringing water back from the river? Probably with the hollowed-out head of one of your own infants. Your own son, because you were thirsty, how could you? You barbarians make me sick!

From this monkey-like state you will elevate yourself. You will build things like granaries, libraries, and barracks. You will invent things like writing, mathematics, and religion. You will explore the world, finding natural resources, friendly villages, and even ancient artifacts like the Seven Cities of Gold or the Arc of the Covenant. You will create settlers who will found other cities, you will pay for roads to connect your cities, and you will even meet other civilizations making the same climb through the ages as you are. Sure they’re nice at first but then they get pushy and demanding, think Catherine the Great with a coke problem. They’ll demand you hand over Lao Tzu. Old Man Tzu! Wee little Chinese guy, wouldn’t hurt anyone, but they want him. Don’t worry though, that bitch Cathy is the reason you’re inventing catapults and submarines in the first place.

You can play the game warlike or peaceful and chances are you’ll do a bit of both in every session. The game runs through the entire human experience from bronze working to intercontinental ballistic missiles. You win the game by creating and maintaining a civilization that reigns supreme either through military domination, scientific discovery, economic mastery, or cultural pre-eminence.

A question that a devoted Civilization player might ask is: Is this game the same as the Civ. IV I’ve already got on the computer? The answer is no. This is a re-imagining of the core Civ. idea. It has been simplified, plays out on a smaller world, and you can play an entire game in about three hours rather than killing your whole weekend. It’s a great game of Civ. but it’s not in competition with the main product.

The game is such a great departure from all of the grim shooters and horror faire that I usually love. It’s whimsical and casts the whole rise of humanity in a quirky light. It’s a simple game to start but takes time to master the nuances. It’s a beautiful looking game with lots of supplemental information in the menus, be it better playing tips or the actual historical significance of all the game elements from Stonehenge to Charles Babbage. (Who? Ahh! See? This be some educational shit up in this bitch. I be learning yo!)

For the first while you would do well to play against the computer and get your empire building up to snuff on one of the five difficulty levels. You can however play on-line against multiple opponents. Another neat idea is the Game of the Week feature. Everyone from around the world can play on the same pre-generated map and your score will appear on a leaderboard denoting the finest Civilization player on earth!

This super-addictive turn-based strategy game can be found on the X-Box 360, the PS 3, and even the Nintendo DS hand-held. It is in my opinion the best PC-to-console game I’ve ever played and that’s because it’s its own game, a perfect distillation of Sid Meier’s original idea to put the entire human race in the palm of our hands.