Errant Signal once again posted an excellent video about how a theoretically politically neutral game like Civilization, nevertheless provides and reinforces a political paradigm through its mechanics. Watch below the well-worthy video.
I couldn’t agree more about the message here. Even while being a huge Civ fan since the first game, it always bothered me how much “status-quo” politics a “neutral” game like civilization nevertheless managed to cram in its mechanics and presentation. From the simple fact that Anarchy has always been used as a synonymous to political chaos/vacuum, and never provided in any way, shape or form as part of the political evolution for your civilization, like Fascism or Democracy, to the fact that, as the video mentions, all civilizations start effectively as nation-states rather than city-states, or nomad tribes.
Some might claim that all those things are just an expedient game at making a video game, but isn’t it convenient that all those “shortcuts” manage to always promote a game in which a modern state is the end result before “world domination”?
Civilization is the perfect example of what “politically neutral” means in reality: The reinforcement of the status quo.
Started with Civ5 this Sunday. The AI sucks at the moment and there’s a lot of stuff broken. Nevertheless, the new game mechanics, especially the new combat is brilliant and it has some very nice ideas built-in. There’s a lot of reviews so I won’t rehash what you’ve probably read a lot of times already, but you should really be looking at the critical reviews and not the positive ones if you want to get into the substance of things rather than partake in the huge hype surrounding the game.
In fact, I wish people gave up more weight to critical reviews rather than the one gushing about new and popular games, which is in fact all that the pop-review sites seem to be able to do. The critical reviews tend to be more thoughtful, and even when they’re not positive about the game in the end, you end up understanding more about the game from them, rather than from the hype-bandwagon. This is the second reason why Zero Punctuation is one of my favourite locations to get my reviews (the first one naturally being that Yahtzee is so creatively funny).
Anyway, back to the subject, if you’re interested in the game or the series but not burning to play it right goddamn now, then I would advise that you wait at least until Christmas sales. Then you’ll both get the game with a few patches in so that the most horrible bugs and imbalances are fixed and you’ll likely to find it on a nice steam sale and grab it for 20€ less or something. If you’re a huge fan, then you’ve already got it so there’s no point in me telling you not to 😉
I personally would have also waited for a bit, perhaps playing it pirated once or twice to see how it goes, but after I saw an Amazon.co.uk deal for 20€ less than Steam, I couldn’t help myself 🙂