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Retro Games of Today: Part 1

Long lost, found and lost again Civilization.

Have game developers run out of ideas or are there some genuine attempts to refresh old classics? Gaming has been a part of my growing up and long before you could co-op 64 in a desert far away with players from across the world and long before anyone had heard of lag or ping, we had games. Good chewy games that could last you weeks or longer if you had the mettle. In this series of posts, I’ll be looking at some classic titles of the past and their “modern day” counter parts, how they stack up and if faster machines and state of the art graphics chips have made them better... or worse.

In the first of the series is Civilization. This monolithic juggernaught from Sid Meier has had an amazing 22 year history and doesn’t show signs of stopping. 4 sequels, loads of add on packs, DLC and a massive fan base has made Civilisation one of the richest and most mature games you can come across.

I was a member of one of those computer clubs years ago where you (or my dad in my case) parted with some cash every month and you got to select your game. If you didn’t send the form back then you got whatever they sent to you. After playing Campaign for a month or so I went on holiday and I had forgot to send my form back. You guessed it, after I came back, Civilisation was sat there. My first reaction was “what is this crud they sent”. It sat on my computer desk for about 3 weeks, I had actually chosen my next game (K240 I think it was) and was waiting for that to arrive. Then, one Saturday morning, bored of rendering VistaPro animations I gave this a whirl. Little did I know this was to become a 10 year addiction!
I got this bad boy on my Amiga A1200 (I got the AGA version) and set to work. I can safely say that I have learned a whole lot from this game. I played and played and played and I even used the game to create a report for school which was an “alternate history of earth”. The teacher couldn’t believe how detailed my descriptions were, how intricate the balance of power between my 5 warring countries was portrayed. A* for me then. This game took hours from me, probably hours my mum would have liked me to be outside but hey, that was when my mum thought I would end up with a job in computers as I spent so much time on it (and she was right!). So years later then, having bought Civilization 2, Civilization 3, Call to Power (a dirty spin off) Civ 4 and recently, the special edition box set directors cut widescreen edition of Civilisation 5. I had even purchased the Chronicles boxed set with card game, I had a board game and Prima books galore (I could have written some of them better) and even a version for my DS. My name is Mathew and I’m an addict!

So Sid knows how to part me from my hard earned, however I think that these series of games are a rare portrayal of how games have evolved. Sure, the graphics in “V” are superb, the gameplay seems to be back to the original style and there are loads of things to micro manage should you wish to. In the first of the series, you had no option, everything was down to you! The first Civ set me off on my journey, Civ 5 is the latest and greatest version but for me, Civ II has to be the best in class. I spent more time on this game than I did breathing. The graphics were now isometric, there were more powerful units, the graphics were less blocky (not by much though) and for me, it sits at the head of the table and is the best in the syndicate... That reminds me...