I usually don’t write game reviews, but I’m going to make an exception for Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. It’s not going to be a review as much as a bunch of unprofessional gushing. You see, I’m not really much of a gamer. I barely know the difference between different gaming systems, while my boyfriend bandies around abbreviations like AI, RTS, RPG, FPS, etc., etc. Civ IV is a TBS (turn-based strategy) PC game. It has consumed the last few days of my break, making it impossible for me to apply for internships and plan out the coming semester, which I meant to do weeks ago as it is. Sigh. Shame on me.
So, in all the different versions of the Civ game, the basic idea is to build an empire while competing with other, computer-generated empires. You start with a single settler and a warrior, whom is your protection from barbarians and wild animals in the random location to which you are assigned. The maps are also random. You get to choose a world map and type in the settings before the game, so you can choose to have any type of world, from tiny islands covering the earth, to massive continents, or Pangaea. You also get to choose which past world leader you want to be from João II (my current game) to Queen Victoria.
Not only does this game speak to the history nerd inside of me (and many of you, I’m sure), but it also illustrates something that I’m optimistic enough to believe in on some days: the American dream. But not really the American dream – simply the ability of any person to improve what and who they are. The ability of a settler to grow into a mighty empire, as it were.
Another part of the game that I find fantastic is that you need to grow your culture and technology to expand your empire and eventually win. Though there are six ways to win the game – conquering the other civilizations, controlling a supermajority of land and population, being the first to launch a spaceship to Alpha Centauri, building the culture to legendary levels in three cities, being declared world leader by popular vote in the UN, or running out of time (in 2050 AD) and having the highest score – all of them are made easier to achieve through producing cultural buildings and new technologies. I often neglect the need for a strong military by just focusing on those two, however. Not good.
So, I would urge all of you to please, please buy this game on Steam. You should probably wait until spring break though. Take my word for it.