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I. Rule. The. World.

I’m bored with me and my stupid problems. I’m going to play computer games tonight.

I bought myself a copy of Civilization IV. I know, I know…it’s a two year old game now. I’m too old to pay gamers’ money for video cards these days, so it’s the geriatric lineup for me.

Actually, I bought myself two copies of Civilization IV. Because why? Because I’m a drunk, that’s why. I ordered one copy and several days later, I woke up thinking, “I bought something neat on Amazon ‘buy it used’ last night. I wonder what it was?” I didn’t check. This happens to me a lot, and I never second guess it. I walked around for days with a happy “a special surprise is in the mail” feeling. Then it came.

If I lived in Puritan times, they’d make me spend the rest of my life with the game box pinned to my hat and “Putrid Drunkarde” sewn across my pinafore in lime green cross-stitch.

Anyhoo. I was a huge fan of Civ I (and II). It was like a magic ant farm. I could explore the world and nurture my people and build a great civilization. I was far enough ahead of the AI that I never got my ass completely kicked and most always played until the time limit ran out with no clear winner. I cultivated my cities, conquered a little around the edges of my territory, enjoyed watching my nation grow from mud huts to space stations. I was a benevolent, leisurely dictator. It was the game SimCity should’ve been but somehow never was.

And every once in a while, I would draw down a happy, blessèd game, where accidents of geography and the luck of the draw handed me the ultimate prize. Where my more tech-savvy rivals spent the Dark Ages kicking each other’s asses and the only nations left standing by Victoria’s day were relics of the stone age, shaking flint spears and ululating while Mighty Exalted Weaseltanks squished them like bugs.

I. Ruled. The. World.

Good times.

When I got Civ III, I was delighted by the graphics and thoroughly pissed off by the gameplay. It was as though Sid Meier had let loose a bunch of ignorant twenty-something kindergarten teachers on his AI. Suddenly, the NPC’s were horribly aggressive about territory. No more leisurely exploration of the planet; if you didn’t plop down half-baked cities as fast as humanly possible — some time before the Iron Age — your neighbors swiftly corraled you within unsustainable borders.

And technology? Every culture in the world developed scientifically at exactly the same pace. The reviews described this as “more realistic.” Meh. Anybody at Firaxis ever heard of Papua Fucking New Guinea?

So I held off on IV. The reviews were glowing, but they glowed for that turd of a III, too.

Wish me luck. I’m…umm…screw it. I think I’ll just read a book tonight.

May 2, 2007 — 5:55 pm
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